My diet during a Crohn’s disease flare-up, in intestinal strictures and surgeries

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During an inflammatory flare-up, the bowels can be easily overburdened. Doctors advise a low-residue diet that will help soothe your intestinal inflammation. The stress on your body is very high during the disease flare. Make sure that despite reduced food intake you will consume enough amounts of liquid. Choose beverages that will provide your body with the necessary nutrients and minerals. These include non-acidic fruit juices, non-carbonated mineral water and teas. The diet should be nutritious. Good choices are avocado, banana and cream soups.

Diet in intestinal stricture (narrowing) and after surgery 

If your disease led to intestinal stricture (narrowing) or if a segment of your intestines was surgically removed, you should completely avoid roughage in your diet. Roughage is indigestible fibre in vegetable foodstuffs (cereals, legumes, seeds…) and fruits. It binds water and adds bulk to stools and aids the passage of food and waste products through the gut.

Despite a flare-up – eat

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During the flare phase, many patients with Crohn’s disease refuse to eat properly and start fasting. The reasons for such a decision are: nausea, pain, lack of appetite – these are the accompanying manifestations of Crohn’s disease at the time of the exacerbation. This is wrong. On the one hand, the inflammation of the intestinal tract reduces absorption of nutrients and, on the other hand, the continuous diarrhoea cause loss of fluid and consequently weight loss and dehydration.

As a result of avoiding drinking and eating, many patients with active Crohn’s disease develop vitamin and mineral deficiency. Therefore, it is important that you and your doctor or dietician make an appropriate individual dietary concept (in the form of an individually tailored diet plan or list of dietary supplements), in order to cope with the disease and take action when it comes to an acute flare-up.

Your diet during an acute flare-up

After the end of the flare phase, it is recommended not to start immediately with a diet that you had before the disease flare. It is important to make sure that the body gradually gets used to the recommended diet. Use to first few days after the improvement to regulate your digestion. Give your body sufficient time to rest so that it can adjust. If during your inflammatory phase your diet consisted mostly of fluids, it is recommended that you start consuming low-residue solid food very slowly.

Recommended foods Foods to avoid
Fruit: washed and pureed fruit such as bananas, ripe apples, strawberries, soft pear, peaches, kiwi or mango. Acidic fruit: acids in citruses such as lemons, oranges etc., burden the stomach. This also applies to such fruit juices.
Cereals and potato: semolina, spelt, rice and pasta, boiled potatoes and dumplings are easy to digest. Fats and oils. Avoid large amounts of oil, fried food, fatty sausages and types of meat as well as mayonnaise.
Proteins: low-fat fish (e.g. trout), lean beef, turkey, venison or poultry meat, soft-boiled eggs. Sweets: large amounts of sweets that contain a lot of fat such as marzipan or chocolate. Exclude sweeteners that replace sugar.
Drink plenty of fluids: mild teas (e.g. chamomile), non-carbonated mineral water, vegetable juices and non-acidic fruit juices such as apple, pear or banana juice.  
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