Nutrition in Crohn's disease

More than 400, 000 people in Germany suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. In these diseases, the immune system attacks its own digestive tract and thus ensures inflammation in the stomach and intestine. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis occur in batches and are not yet curable.

Nutrition in CED plays a central role

In addition to illness-related symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, many patients also struggle with malnutrition and underweight. On the one hand, this results in a general lack of appetite, which is one of the symptoms of the disease, on the other hand, many patients are also afraid of intolerances and feed relatively unilaterally in order to avoid diarrhea and vomiting.

However, a well-balanced diet is enormously important, especially in the case of inflammatory bowel disease.

CED: nutrition in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Who suffers from a CED, should follow the following tips in terms of nutrition:

  1. In general, patients with inflammatory bowel disease should be careful to eat slowly and consciously and to chew each bite for a long time. In this way the work is made easier for the intestines.
  2. Many small meals are better than a few large ones that can overwhelm the digestive tract.
  3. In addition, the food should be neither very hot nor ice cold on the table, because this can irritate the intestines and lead to diarrhea. The same applies to very spicy, spicy foods.
  4. A quiet, friendly atmosphere usually ensures a stomach-friendly, slow eating behavior. On a working day, it is therefore advisable for CED patients to go to a cozy restaurant with a nice colleague instead of rushing to the canteen or the snack bar.

Although the diseases Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are very similar, they still have a few distinguishing features. This is also reflected in the dietary recommendations for the respective clinical pictures.

Nutrition in Crohn's Disease: Acute Thrust

In Crohn's disease, a thrust is usually accompanied by three to six weeks of diarrhea without blood and severe pain in the right abdomen. Through the diarrhea, the body loses a lot of fluids and nutrients, which must therefore be fed to him necessarily strengthened. While it may seem tempting to minimize food and drink to avoid unpleasant diarrhea, this is the wrong way to go.

Rather, the patients should feed more fluid than usual during a push, so that the body does not dry out. This is suitable for non-carbonated water or herbal tea. Less recommended are fruit juices, coffee and black tea.

In order to supply the body with sufficient nutrients and at the same time not to overwhelm the digestive tract, in the acute phase only slightly digestible foods should be eaten. These include, for example:

  • pureed fruit
  • cooked or steamed vegetables
  • potatoes
  • soy products

Dairy products, sweets, pastries, soft drinks and alcohol should be removed from the menu.

Nutrition in Crohn's disease: severe, acute episode

In severe episodes, it can help to reduce the diet exclusively to soups and porridge. In extreme cases, even astronaut food or artificial nutrition via a probe or infusion is conceivable to relieve the overburdened gastrointestinal tract.

Nutrition in Crohn's disease: remission phase

In the inter-episode stages, Crohn's disease patients should be alert to the loss of nutrients and fluids they have sustained from ongoing diarrhea in the acute stages. For this purpose, fiber-rich foods are primarily suitable. These include, for example:

  • finely ground whole grain
  • Steamed or pureed fruits and vegetables (for example bananas)
  • rice
  • oats
  • potatoes

Wheat, milk, corn and yeast are less well tolerated.

Review on lactose and fructose intolerance recommended

Many people with Crohn's disease also suffer from lactose intolerance or fructose intolerance. A medical examination for possible intolerances is therefore recommended in order to avoid the food in question in the future and to relieve the already strained digestive tract.

Compatibility of foods may vary

Often, the type of preparation is critical to the tolerability of a food. Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • In general, vegetables should be cooked or steamed as much as possible, fruits should be peeled and pureed, as these foods are hard to digest and can have a laxative effect.
  • For dairy products, sour milk products such as yoghurt or buttermilk are better tolerated than cheese, cream or sweet fruit yoghurts.
  • Eggs can help to ensure a sufficient supply of protein. Soft-boiled eggs are better tolerated than hard-boiled eggs.
  • In meat and sausage, lean products are generally better tolerated than fat, cured or smoked meat.

How well certain foods are tolerated can vary greatly from person to person. Therefore, people with Crohn's disease are advised to keep a food diary and note which foods have caused discomfort and which are not, so as to create an individualized nutritional plan in the long term.

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