There are several diet plans that are shown to have some benefit for patients with Crohn’s disease. The low residue diet and the liquid diet are two potential nutritional treatments that offer hope for Crohn’s disease patients.
Low residue diet plans limit the amount of high-fiber foods that an individual consumes in an attempt to ease symptoms by limiting the undigested food and fiber that makes up one’s stool.
The low residue diet allows patients to eat refined grains like Saltine crackers, white rice and noodles, cooked potatoes without skin, and other well-cooked vegetables that do not have seeds. Allowed fruits include honeydew, soft cantaloupe, and ripe bananas. Dairy, gelatin, and many condiments are okay for a Crohn’s patient on a low residue diet.
Some research shows that patients with Crohn’s disease may benefit from a temporary high-calorie liquid diet. For Crohn’s patients whose small bowels are affected and whose small intestines have narrowed, doctors may suggest a liquid diet to allow the intestines a chance to rest and heal. Individuals whose bodies have trouble digesting nutrients from whole foods may also benefit from a liquid diet. This is because the body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest the items that an individual eats or drinks.
The liquid diet occurs in two phases. At the start, a patient consumes items like coffee, soup, water, popsicles and tea. If that helps, then a full liquid diet is employed which allows a patient to consume things like nutritional shakes, ground Cream of Wheat, and even pureed meats and vegetables.
Studies involving fish oil and flax seed oil show that good fats can improve some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, although more research into the role of Omega 3 fatty acids and Crohn’s disease is needed.
Research is also showing that adding probiotics to a specific diet plan can improve the symptoms, possibly bringing on remission.