17 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Crohn’s Disease

If you have Crohn’s disease, then you know what a debilitating disease it can be. The good news is that you have complete control over what goes into your gut, and food is your best defense when it comes to beating this disease. The foods you choose to eat can either worsen your disease, or they can make it more tolerable. Some people even reverse their symptoms entirely and get off all their medications by making fundamental lifestyle changes that include adopting a healthy diet.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that no two cases of Crohn’s disease are exactly alike. You might find that most Crohn’s patients can tolerate certain foods, but they make you feel sick. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep a list of foods that are off limits to you. Writing them down will help you remember. Because Crohn’s is an inflammatory disease, the key to fighting it is to choose anti-inflammatory foods whenever possible. Here are the top 17 anti-inflammatory foods to help you overcome Crohn’s disease and live your best life.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

By definition, Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own organs because it thinks they are foreign invaders. During a Crohn’s disease attack, which is commonly referred to as a flare, the disease is active, and it can attack anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the mouth to anus. This may cause swelling and inflammation anywhere in the digestive system, which leads to malabsorption of nutrients, diarrhea, fistulas, mouth sores, abdominal cramping and pain, hair loss, skin problems, and weight loss. Medications are often prescribed to treat the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. Other pharmaceutical treatments include immunosuppressants to reduce the impact in which the immune system attacks itself. But for many people, food can be used as medicine.

If you’ve tried to change your diet before and it didn’t have much of an impact on your health, don’t give up. Some people with Crohn’s disease have such a severe case that it takes months of eating a certain way before they can see progress. The important thing is to limit the number of inflammatory foods you are eating as this is the primary cause of the disease. Typical examples of inflammatory foods include processed foods such as baked crackers, margarine, chips, soda, candy, and sweets, fast food, foods that contain refined sugars and carbohydrates, and caffeine and alcohol. Most people with Crohn’s find success when they also cut grains, gluten, and dairy from their diet.

So what can you eat when you have Crohn’s disease? Contrary to what many doctors may say, you don’t need to avoid high fiber foods, especially in the form of fruits and vegetables. In fact, the majority of your diet should come from fresh fruits and vegetables as they contain antioxidants and fiber to combat inflammation and restore gut health. Focus on non-starchy vegetables because they are often easier on sensitive tummies. Other good examples of anti-inflammatory foods include wild fish such as salmon, and nuts and seeds, including walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Lean meats such as organic, antibiotic-free chicken and turkey provide the lean protein you need to rebuild damaged cells and tissues. Here are 17 foods to get you started.

1. Pineapple

pineapple 17 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Crohn’s Disease

Pineapple is a delicious fruit that is perfect for people with Crohn’s disease. This is because pineapples contain an enzyme known as bromelain that has been shown to reduce gut inflammation and intestinal pain. As an enzyme, it also helps digest protein and has even been shown to help you digest and absorb nutrients more efficiently. This is important for someone with Crohn’s because intestinal inflammation often gets in the way of absorbing the nutrients you need to stay healthy. One study found that bromelain decreases gut inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease by inhibiting the secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators. The best part is that pineapple is so tasty, you shouldn’t have a problem fitting it into your diet. Eat it plain or add it to salads. Some people like it added to Greek yogurt for natural sweetness.

2. Wild-Caught Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of one of the best anti-inflammatory ingredients ever. Omega 3 fatty acids are a unique type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are extremely useful in reducing inflammation associated with autoimmune conditions. One study found that omega 3 fatty acids have immunomodulatory activities, which means that they can help suppress the immune system’s attack on the body. Omega 3 fatty acids also modulate the number and types of eicosanoids that are made, which are molecules that send signals between cells. This can help reduce the inflammatory response. Finally, omega 3’s are useful because they inhibit a type of proinflammatory cytokine known as interleukin 1 (IL-1). Research shows that people who eat salmon and other sources of omega 3 have a reduced need for anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the ones that are commonly used to treat Crohn’s.

3. Coconut Oil

coconut oil 17 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Crohn’s Disease

Coconut oil is highly anti-inflammatory, which makes it a great food to add to your anti-Crohn’s disease diet. It is especially beneficial when you cut out other forms of highly processed oils, such as the vegetable oils soybean and canola oils. These oils have been hydrogenated, which means they are heated to high temperatures and chemically altered, which makes them hard to digest and provokes inflammation in the gut. On the other hand, coconut oil contains long-chain fatty acids that are easier to digest because they are smaller in size. Research shows that a diet high in good fats such as the ones in coconut oil has been shown to reduce the harmful bacteria associated with Crohn’s disease. Try cooking your vegetables and meats in coconut oil as opposed to vegetable oils. You can also add some to smoothies or homemade baked goods.

 17. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are enormously underrated as a vegetable. They’re great for people with Crohn’s disease because they’re made of mostly water to help keep you hydrated and flush toxins out of the body. They’re also a good source of vitamins A, C, and folic acid to reverse inflammation. Research shows that eating cucumbers may help prevent constipation. Be sure to eat the skin as that’s where many of the nutrients are.



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