The Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, chronic and recurrent course, which manifests with bouts of diarrhea (with mucus and blood) and abdominal pain.

The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease must be made by a doctor, since it is not only an intestinal disease, but also has an autoimmune component and generalized manifestations, such as fatigue and skin changes.

The Crohn’s disease currently has no cure, but continued treatment and proper diet could prevent further outbreaks.

After the diagnosis of the disease, many gastroenterologists recommend their patients to consult a nutritionist and identify those foods that trigger symptoms, so many people wonder: What should I eat after an outbreak of Crohn’s disease ?

Crohn’s Disease Diet

The diet for Crohn ‘s disease is a very important topic, since many studies indicate that there are foods that act as triggers of the disease because they increase the probability of suffering it in those individuals with a genetic predisposition.

This type of diet would include animal fats and a poor consumption of fruits, vegetables and foods that contain vitamin D. In fact, the first investigations were based on improving the diet based on fiber and vitamin D, however, in all cases It did not work (Wędrychowicz A et al., 2016).

Other studies indicate that the diet that best suits patients with Crohn ‘s disease is the Mediterranean, with a high load of fruits, vegetables, wine and olive oil and few portions of carbohydrates and fats.

Food and its impact on intestinal permeability

A research group at the University of Pennsylvania, United States, led by Dr. Lewis in 2017, describes that there are foods that help improve intestinal permeability and local defenses, such as the carotenes and flavonoids contained in vegetables of orange and yellow color like carrot and, in addition, the tryptophan metabolites of the so-called cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.

Gut microbiota and diet

In Crohn’s disease it has been described that the intestinal microbiota (amount of bacteria that normally inhabit the human intestine) is altered compared to the mucosa of healthy subjects.

An altered microbiota is related to a higher degree of inflammation in the mucosa of the intestine.

Saturated fats, carbohydrates, and a low-fiber diet have been reported to increase local inflammation and alter the gut microbiota. On the other hand, foods with omega 3 improve the inflammatory state and alter the intestinal microbiota.

Proteins and Crohn’s Disease

The relationship between animal proteins and Crohn ‘s disease is controversial, since studies have determined that there is an increased risk of outbreaks when consuming red meat and dairy.

However, no increase has been seen with egg consumption. Cow proteins can induce allergies and exacerbate Crohn’s disease (Virta 2013) .

Carbs and grains in Crohn’s disease

Disaccharides and polysaccharides of carbohydrates are absorbed with difficulty in the intestine, altering the intestinal microbiota and increasing local inflammation, which contributes to the production of mucus in the intestinal mucosa and with this, a new outbreak of Crohn’s disease.

The same occurs with some grains such as wheat, barley and rye that alter the intestinal microbiota, however, rice and some gluten-free products do not have this effect and are allowed (Suskind et al. 2014).

Condiments and Crohn’s Disease

Although the use of highly spicy foods is not recommended in people with Crohn’s disease, there are studies with the use of turmeric in animals and in small groups of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, where there is evidence of improvement in the inflammatory state and the intestinal microbiota.

Dairy in Crohn’s Disease

Dairy products increase the probability of new outbreaks in Crohn’s disease , with the exception of yogurt since its components promote the recovery of the intestinal microbiota.

Vitamin D supplements and Crohn’s disease

The vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased likelihood of developing Crohn’s disease.  Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve the microbiota of the gut and therefore may decrease the appearance of breakouts in some cases.

Some recommended foods

  • Vegetables and vegetables with a high load of carotene and flavonoids (carrot, wine, green tea, spinach, eggplant, among others).
  • Cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage).
  • Foods with omega 3 and 6 (nuts, olive oil).
  • Rice.
  • Quinoa.
  • Vitamin D supplements.
  • Yogurt.
  • Fruits (strawberry, lemon, tangerine, orange).
  • Honey.

Some foods to avoid

  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Red meat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Cheese, milk.
  • Colorants
  • Sugar

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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