Healing Kitchen

Crohn's Disease

A healthful, balanced diet rich in beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B12, C, D, and E is recommended for people with Crohn’s disease. Absorption of these vital nutrients can be impaired as a result of damage to the intestinal tract.

Omega-3 fatty acids, quercetin, essential fats in flaxseed oil, and vitamins C and E are thought to ease the chronic gastrointestinal inflammation that is characteristic of the disease.

Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, juice, and decaffeinated tea, is important to ensure that the intestinal tract is well hydrated.

In some people, sensitivity to dairy or gluten-containing foods may trigger flare-ups of Crohn’s disease. The main sources of gluten are barley, oats, rye, and wheat. There is also evidence that fried, greasy, or spicy meals may irritate the digestive tract.

What You Should Eat & Why

The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is often deficient in people with Crohn’s. Vitamin A is vital for healthy gastrointestinal functions, including mucus secretion and regeneration of intestinal cells.
Leading Food Sources of beta-carotene: Carrots, Spinach, Cantaloupe, Squash, winter, Apricots, Sweet potatoes

flaxseed oil
The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil are thought to protect and repair the intestinal tract. A deficiency of these healthful fats is often found in people with Crohn’s.
Leading Food Sources of flaxseed oil: Oil, flaxseed

Consuming adequate amounts of this mineral is important because magnesium is one of the most significant mineral deficiencies seen in Crohn’s.
Leading Food Sources of magnesium: Spinach, Buckwheat, Brazil nuts, Chocolate, Pumpkin seeds, Oysters, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Avocados, Amaranth, Quinoa, Barley

omega-3 fatty acids
Crohn’s disease tends to flare up and then subside in cycles over time. The frequency of flare-ups can be reduced by regular consumption of omega-3s, according to research. Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Leading Food Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, Tuna, Trout

This antioxidant phytochemical may benefit people with Crohn’s because quercetin has been shown to block the release of certain substances, such as histamine and leukotrines, which are associated with inflammation.
Leading Food Sources of quercetin: Cabbage, green, Cranberries, Kale, Pears, Grapes, Apples, Onions, Garlic, Grapefruit, white, Spinach

vitamin B12
Levels of vitamin B12 can be low because Crohn’s disease often damages the portion of the small intestine where this nutrient is absorbed.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin B12: Beef, Lamb, Yogurt, Oysters, Trout, Crab, Clams, Tuna

vitamin C
Inadequate levels of this vitamin have been linked to Crohn’s disease and the healing properties of vitamin C are thought to ease the symptoms of this often painful bowel condition.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Potatoes, Strawberries, Tangerines & other mandarins, Peppers, bell, red, Oranges, Kiwi fruit

vitamin D
Absorption of vitamin D is often diminished due to intestinal damage; absorption frequently worsens when steroid drugs are taken as part of an anti-inflammatory therapy. Osteomalacia—softening of the bones—is often caused by the malabsorption of vitamin D and is a complication of Crohn’s.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin D: Milk, Tuna, Salmon

vitamin E
Deficiencies of vitamin E are common in people with Crohn’s. Vitamin E is believed to help relieve intestinal inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances in the body.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin E: Broccoli, Avocados, Almonds, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Mangoes

The intestinal damage caused by Crohn’s disease can lead to deficient levels of zinc.
Leading Food Sources of zinc: Barley, Chicken, Crab, Oysters, Beef, Lamb, Wheat, Turkey

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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