Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is also known as regional enteritis or ileitis. Crohn’s is a lifelong inflammatory bowel condition and is not curable. In addition, Crohn’s disease irritates the digestive tract, including the small and large intestines. If you have Crohn’s disease, you might experience rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss, etc.
In Crohn’s disease, it is necessary to keep track of what you eat. The treatments for Crohn’s can only control the swelling and irritation in the digestive tract. Treatments cannot fully cure it. Therefore, the right food and diet play an important role in managing the periodic digestive flare-ups.
There is no specific diet to follow for Crohn’s disease. However, foods rich in nutrients and have healing properties are beneficial to consume in Crohn’s. In addition, avoiding eating foods with too much spice and fibre may help to ease the symptoms of Crohn’s. Therefore, eating bland, soft, and low fibre foods can minimise Crohn’s disease. Hence, eating healthy Crohn’s friendly snacks filled with protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat can help manage the uncomfortable signs and inflammation.
Foods and Their Effect on Crohn’s disease
Food choices play an essential role in Crohn’s disease. Bad dietary habits can worsen the condition because Crohn’s directly affects the digestive tract. In addition, it can cause inflammation which can interfere with the normal digestive process. Moreover, few studies have addressed the topic of diet’s relevant role in triggering symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
As there is no perfect diet to follow for Crohn’s disease, consulting with a dietitian can help you. First, create a diet plan that will cater to your nutritional needs and help reduce the underlying inflammation. However, eating spices like chilli powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, spicy curries, etc., can add more heat and inflammation to the digestive tract. In addition, Crohn’s disease can cause some dietary problems that may include:
- Lack of Appetite
A FODMAP diet is generally suggested for those with Crohn’s disease. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-saccharides, di-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols which are different types of sugars in foods.
During periods of remission in Crohn’s disease, a low FODMAP diet can help reduce the symptoms of inflammation in the digestive tract. Moreover, a study proves that the low FODMAP diet might improve Crohn’s disease. It limits food consumption high in fibres, fructose, lactose, galactan, etc., and reduces the symptoms of bloating and cramping.
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The low FODMAP diet eliminates poorly absorbed carbohydrates and polyols from your diet. Therefore, the FODMAP diet allows foods to reintroduce slowly to help identify triggering foods that can increase the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. In addition, nutrition in the low FODMAP diet is bland and can make an excellent snacking option to munch on if you have Crohn’s.
However, a high FODMAP diet can increase the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. It contains lactose, fructose, fructans, galactooligosaccharides, and polyols. Some of the high FODMAP foods are:
- Some grains
10 Delicious Crohn’s Recipes for You
What to eat and what not to, which can be a task if you have Crohn’s disease. Below are some manageable Crohn’s friendly snack recipes that are delicious and easy to digest at the same time.
1. Mini Blueberry Pancakes
Mini pancakes are also known as Silver Dollar Pancakes. Adding blueberries to it boosts taste and colour. According to a USDA study a, 100g of mini blueberries contain the following-
- Calories: 281Kcal
- Protein: 6.25g
- Fat: 10.42g
- Crack an egg in a large mixing bowl, add about 1/4 cup of the nut or coconut milk and whisk well
- Add gluten-free Bisquick or any other gluten free pancake mixture and combine until it forms a thick paste
- Add jaggery powder as per taste
- Fold in blueberries
- Add one tbsp of oil to the pan on medium heat
- Once the oil is hot, pour batter onto the pan in small portions
- Cook until crispy, then flip on another side
- Serve hot
2. Cucumber Cheese Toast
It is a healthy and lovely meal for children. All age groups love it. It is easy to prepare and stays fresh for 4hours.
- Calories: 150Kcal
- Protein: 11g
- Fat: 2g
- Toast two slices of gluten-free bread
- Spread 2 tbsp lactose-free cottage cheese on bread slices
- Squeeze lemon juice on top of cottage cheese
- Top it with peeled and sliced cucumbers
- Sprinkle some salt and coriander leaves
3. Lactose-Free Yoghurt Parfait
Try simple dairy-free yoghurt with fruits as your morning meal. According to USDA studies, a 100g serving of coconut yoghurt contains-
- Calories: 84 Kcal
- Fat: 2.67g
- Protein: 0.44g
- Layer one container of lactose-free yoghurt in a glass, for example, coconut yoghurt.
- Alternate the layers of yoghurt with banana slices, papaya chunks, or berries
- Top with 1 tbsp of nut butter
4. Green Smoothie
Green smoothies are a great way to make your diet full of vitamins and minerals. These are low in calories and very delicious. One can have a green smoothie to restore multiple vitamins in the body. According to study data, one serving of it contains-
- Calories: 218Kcal
- Fat: 1.5g
- Protein: 10g
- Add 1/2 small banana, 1/4 cup frozen pineapple, and a handful of spinach to a blender.
- Blend all of the ingredients with 1/2 cup lactose-free coconut yoghurt, and 1/4 cup coconut milk in a blender
- Enjoy the smoothie cold or at room temperature
5. Nuts and Seeds Banana Slice
Nuts and bananas are an excellent combination of getting both energy and nutrients. It is a delicious snack loved by small kids. It is healthy for body and brain function. One serving of it contains
- Calories: 120Kcal
- Protein: 5g
- Fat: 4.5g
- Slice two bananas in half lengthwise.
- Spread each side slice with 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
- Sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut and nuts of your choice
6. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Smoothies are always best for meal skippers. These are delicious and contain a good amount of calories in them. One serving of ti contains
- Calories: 266Kcal
- Fat: 9g
- Protein: 7g
- Add a frozen banana, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, and one cup of coconut milk to a blender.
- Blend the mixture until smooth
- Add more milk if desired
7. Guacamole Mash
Excellent taste with multiple vegetables chopped makes it the most loved and healthy for Crohn’s Disease patients. One serving of it contains the following.
- Calories: 262Kcal
- Fat: 22.2g
- Protein: 3.7g
- Mash one avocado with a fork.
- Chop one tomato, onion, and some cilantro leaves and add these to the mashed avocado.
- Add lime juice, and mix everything.
- Serve the mixture with whole-grain tortilla chips or eat it with toast.
8. Peanut Butter Energy Balls
It is an excellent afternoon pick-up as a snack. It is made up of healthy ingredients and still tastes like a treat. With vanilla flavour, it becomes tastier. Following are the nutritional values of this meal.
- Calories: 174Kcal
- Fat: 9.2g
- Protein: 4.4g
- Combine 1 cup puffed rice with 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter in a large bowl
- Add 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup local honey, and 1/4 cup peanut butter mix (remember honey is not low FODMAP food, but it is OK to consume in 1 serving which is 1-2 balls)
- Roll puffed rice and mixture into balls and store in the refrigerator
9. Vegetable and Chicken Broth Soup
It is full of veggies and is an excellent detox if you want to eat healthily. You can make preparation time shorter and have this nutritional meal. Following are the nutritional facts-
- Calories: 285Kcal
- Fat: 7.6g
- Protein: 24.3g
- Chop vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, onions, peas, potatoes, etc.
- Add four cups of low sodium chicken broth in a saucepan on low heat
- Add chopped vegetables to the broth
- Bring the mixture to a boil
- Cook vegetables at low heat for 10-15 minutes, add salt to taste and serve hot.
10. Tuna Cucumber Bites
It is a kind of salad that is an excellent combination of proteins and vitamins. It is an occasional meal with a variety of spices and tuna. Following are the nutritional values of this salad.
- Calories: 93 Kcal
- Fat: 7g
- Protein: 6g
- Mix 1/2 cup canned tuna with 1 tbsp. light olive oil and mayo
- Chop 1/4 cup red bell pepper
- Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to the bell pepper
- Scoop everything on sliced cucumber and eat
Foods to Eat and Avoid in Crohn’s Disease
There is no scientifically proven diet for Crohn’s disease. However, certain foods trigger inflammation in the digestive tract. You should avoid this and consume foods that can help prevent the disease flare-ups. According to studies, foods can manage or promote an effect of IBDs.
Foods to Consume when you suffer from Crohn’s Disease
Grains are very healthy and are a good source of fibre. Consuming high fibre foods can cause problems if you already have Crohn’s disease. Still, if taken in moderation, it is beneficial in preventing the condition and symptoms like inflammation.
Some examples of grains you can consume are
- Gluten free bread and pasta
Fruits and Vegetables
Apart from the high insoluble fibres in some fruits and vegetables that can cause problems with Crohn’s disease, there is no need to avoid eating them altogether because fruits and vegetables offer vitamins and enzymes that are healthy for your body. Therefore, some fruits and vegetables are safe to consume if you have Crohn’s.
Fruits and Vegetables to Consume
- Bell pepper
- Steamed vegetables
- Peeled cucumbers
Meat and Other Protein Foods
Consuming meat and protein with lower fat content are beneficial for Crohn’s disease.
Meat and Protein-rich Foods to Consume
- Homemade peanut butter
- White meat poultry
- Soy products
If you have Crohn’s disease you are completely or partially lactose intolerant or may be able to consume dairy in small amounts.
Dairy Products to Consume
- Low Fat Milk
- Plant-based cheese like soy, coconut, almond, flax, hemp
- Low-fat yoghurt
Foods to Avoid when you suffer from Crohn’s Disease
You should avoid eating some whole grains if you have Crohn’s disease because they might contain fermentable carbohydrates or gluten. In addition, whole grains are high in insoluble fibre, which can cause inflammation in the digestive tract and abdominal pain.
Whole Grains to Avoid
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat pasta
- Rye products
Cruciferous Vegetables and Fibrous Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are very beneficial, but many contain insoluble fibre that can cause stomach and digestive inflammation. However, it is not necessary to eliminate every vegetable and fruit from the diet but limiting the consumption will help with Crohn’s disease.
Some Veggies and Fruits to Avoid
- Apples with skins
High-Fat Meat and Protein
Consuming meat and protein that are high in fat can worsen the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Therefore, you should avoid eating that meat and protein.
Some High-Fat Meat and Proteins to Avoid
- Processed Meats
- Dark poultry meat liek Turkey Legs
- Red meat
Dairy Products if you are Lactose Intolerant
Dairy products high in fat and lactose are not beneficial for Crohn’s patients. Certain types of milk and sugar can increase the risk of abdominal pain, gas, etc., and it is difficult to digest at the same time.
Some Dairy Products to Avoid
- Full-fat dairy products
Those with Crohn’s must avoid overeating spices. In addition, eating anything overly spicy and tangy can worsen the symptoms of Crohn’s. Therefore, minimising the intake of certain spicy foods can control digestive flare-ups.
Spices to Avoid
- Cayenne pepper
- Chilli powder
- Black pepper
- White onions or Onion powder
The Bottom line
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory disease which causes flare-ups in the digestive tract. Therefore, your eating habits play an essential role in preventing and managing the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease.
Finding Crohn’s friendly snacks which are easy to make and do not contribute to the problem can be difficult. Still, after consulting your healthcare professional or following some of the snack recipes mentioned above, you can create your meals with minimum preparation without worsening your condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are granola bars good for Crohn’s?
A. Granola bars that are gluten and dairy-free are excellent to eat with Crohn’s disease. In addition, granola bars are usually a blend of dried fruit and nuts and are healthy to eat when consumed in moderation.
Q. Can you eat strawberries with Crohn’s disease?
A. Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are considered safe to eat with Crohn’s disease. Strawberries are easily digestible and also have antioxidants that protect the cells.
Q. What kind of smoothie is good for Crohn’s disease?
A. Making smoothies with dairy substitutes is suitable for Crohn’s patients. Adding quinoa and oats to your smoothie is an excellent option because it’s gluten-free. Some smoothies which you can enjoy with Crohn’s disease are peanut butter banana, tropical green smoothie, dragon fruit smoothie, and beetroot smoothie.
Q. Can people with Crohn’s eat pancakes?
A. Making gluten-free pancakes and using dairy substitutes are completely fine to eat with Crohn’s. You can follow recipes that use dairy milk substitutes and no artificial sweeteners.
Q. Can you drink almond milk with Crohn’s?
A. There are no significant studies that prove that consuming almond milk is harmful to Crohn’s disease. If trying it for the first time, it is best to try a little and see how your body responds to it.So, the best advice is to consult your doctor or take it in moderation for minimum side effects.
Q. How do you calm down a Crohn’s flare-up?
A. The best way to calm down a Crohn’s flare-up is to eat a healthy diet with low fibre food. In addition, eating a liquid diet in case of an active Crohn’s flare-up also helps manage the condition. Apart from the diet, go for regular checkups and drink enough water.
Q. Can you eat candy with Crohn’s disease?
A. There is no specific study that suggests that eating or avoiding candy with Crohn’s disease is either beneficial or harmful. However, consuming too much chocolate with Crohn’s disease can cause digestive problems.
Q. What cereal can you eat with Crohn’s disease?
A. Eat cereal in moderation with Crohn’s disease. However, there are certain cereals with low amounts of fibre with nutritional value that you can eat. Some grains include cream of wheat, dry cereals, corn flakes, Rice Krispies, etc.
Q. Are corn flakes good for Crohn’s?
A. Most cereals are not associated with Crohn’s disease. However, a few studies show that corn flakes can affect the health of some patients with Crohn’s. But eating cornflakes in moderation is safe for Crohn’s disease.
Q. Can you eat corn chips with Crohn’s?
A. Freshly made, preservative free Corn tortilla chips or corn chips that are not fried and baked in the oven are low in fibre and are a great snacking option to consume for Crohn’s disease.
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