Crohn’s disease affects about three million Americans, with men and women being equally at risk. Belonging to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common area, though, is the small intestine. While the disease can show up at any age, Crohn’s disease typically occurs in people between the ages 20-30.
People who have Crohn’s disease can experience acute inflammation and mild pain, but it’s possible to have long-lasting irritation. Failure to address this pain can lead to reduced immune function and overall strength. The problem with Crohn’s disease is that it spreads through the intestinal wall. That being said, there’s no need to give up on life because of this condition. In fact, there are lifestyle and dietary changes that can curb the effects of the disease. If you or someone you know has Crohn’s disease, the following superfoods are highly beneficial.
Yams, or orange sweet potatoes, contain a lot of potassium, tryptophan, and vitamins A & C. In the June 2020 issue of Journal of Coloproctology, sweet potatoes are listed as one of the top three anti-inflammatory foods for people with Crohn’s disease. Some holistic nutritionists recommend that people with Crohn’s puree or mash their foods. This is why yams are perfect! One tip is to peel the yams because the fibrous skin can cause a flare up.
For how small these berries are, they have an incredibly high concentration of antioxidants. Not only are they low in sugar, but they are also rich in a diverse mix of vitamins and minerals. According to several studies, acai berries exhibited protective effects against colorectal cancer development. During in vitro studies, acai powder demonstrated that it was able to reduce tumor cells.
There are some misconceptions about eating fruit when you have Crohn’s disease. Tropical fruits like papayas, bananas, and mangos are easily digestible and they contain a lot of beneficial nutrients. Papayas, in particular, contain a beneficial enzyme, papain, that assists your body with digesting proteins. They are also rich in folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Opt for Hawaiian papayas because they are much more flavorful.
Whether you are or aren’t experiencing a flare-up, oats are beneficial for Crohn’s disease. They contain soluble fiber, which works to absorb water as it slowly passes through the digestive tract. This differs from insoluble fiber, which actually draws water into the colon and can cause diarrhea for people with IBD. Homemade oatmeal is a great breakfast item for people with Crohn’s.
According to many health studies, raw honey exhibits powerful antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Ancient civilizations actually used honey in many herbal remedies, especially ones that treated digestive discomfort. Raw honey is naturally rich in hydrogen peroxide, which helps to calm inflamed bowels. This makes it an excellent superfood for Crohn’s disease patients. Just remember to consume honey in moderate quantities to avoid excessive sugar intake.
Aloe vera is a superstar in the world of alternative medicine. Not only can it help accelerate wound healing, but it can also help to reduce inflammation in the bowels. Just like raw honey, aloe vera contains hydrogen peroxide, in addition to other plant compounds. It works to boost overall immune function, which tends to be lower for people suffering from IBD. When you consume aloe vera juice or gel, make sure that it is 100% pure. You don’t want other additives or sugars. Pure aloe vera works to fight bacteria in the gut and has a cooling effect on the digestive tract.
Homemade Almond Milk
There’s an emphasis on homemade because many store bought almond milks contain emulsifiers, thickeners, gums, and other preservatives. Fortunately, it’s very easy to make your own almond milk, and it tastes much better! Since many people with Crohn’s disease are lactose intolerant, almond milk is a great dairy-free alternative. Additionally, almond milk is naturally rich in vitamin E and free of saturated fats and cholesterol.
Many people with Crohn’s disease have a fear of eating vegetables. They tend to focus on white carbohydrate products, which are not nutritionally dense. There are many vegetables that you can eat, even during a Crohn’s flare up. Butternut squash, parsnips, pumpkin, carrots, and other veggies that you can puree offer lots of beneficial nutrients and are easily digestible.