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Smart Solutions for Crohn's Patients
When the small intestine is inflamed -- as it often is with Crohn's
disease -- the intestine becomes less able to fully digest and
absorb the nutrients from food. Such nutrients, as well as
unabsorbed bile salts, can escape into the large intestine to
varying degrees, depending on how extensively the small intestine
has been injured by inflammation. This is one reason why people
with Crohn's disease become malnourished, in addition to just not
having much appetite. Furthermore, incompletely digested foods that
travel through the large intestine interfere with water
conservation, even if the colon itself is not damaged. Thus, when
Crohn's disease affects the small intestine, it may cause diarrhea
as well as malnutrition. Should the large intestine also be
inflamed, the diarrhea may become even more extreme.
People with Crohn's disease whose small intestine is affected, are
prone to becoming malnourished due to loss of appetite, poor
digestion and mal-absorption, and the fact that a chronic disease
such as Crohn's tends to increase the caloric needs of the body due
to the energy the body consumes during a flare-up.
Good nutrition is one of the ways the body restores and heals
itself. Therefore, every effort must be made to avoid becoming
malnourished. Protein is a key nutritional element in the recovery
process. Consume healthy proteins such as lean cuts of chicken and
fish. A protein deficiency can lead fatigue, insulin resistance,
and loss of muscle mass.
Iron deficiency is fairly common in people with ulcerative colitis
and Crohn's colitis and less common in those with small intestine
disease. It results from blood loss following inflammation and
ulceration of the colon. Try teaming iron-rich foods such as
poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods such as whole grain
cereals with fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C like
potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green
bell peppers, and cabbage. This food partnership improves the iron
absorption rate, and the vitamin C gives the immune system a boost.
Restrict your consumption of certain high-fiber foods such as nuts,
seeds, corn. High-fiber foods also provoke contractions once they
enter the large intestine and can cause cramping as a result. They
may also cause diarrhea, since they are not completely digested by
the small intestine. Sometimes a low-fiber diet is necessary
minimize abdominal pain and cramping symptoms.
It may also be necessary to supplement your diet with nutritional
supplements to ensure your body is getting the proper amount of
vitamins and minerals needed.