Chron’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the digestive system. It most often affects the intestines, and sufferers are prone to bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, weight loss, and fatigue. While treatment is usually a matter of trial and error, a diet for Crohn’s disease can help immensely. Eliminating foods and adding others to determine what causes flare-ups, scientists have recently discovered that fibers in broccoli and plantains (a large banana fruit) are effective at minimizing symptoms.
Planning a Diet for Crohn’s Disease
Researchers at the University of Liverpool were studying how fiber from vegetable influenced harmful bacteria in the gut. They found the fibers of broccoli and plantains to be particularly beneficial in combating bacterial like E.Coli, frequently seen in the intestines of Chron’s disease sufferers.
It’s been widely known that this disease is most common in developed nations, where people get less fiber and eat more processed foods. But this research affirms what some people have known for ages—that food can be an effective medicine, both as a preventative measure and in the treatment of disease.
“We have known for some time the general health benefits of eating plantain and broccoli, which are both high in vitamins and minerals, but until now we have not understood how they can boost the body’s natural defenses against infection common in Crohn’s patients,” said Dr. Barry Campbell from the University. “Our work suggests that it might be important for patients with this condition to eat healthily and limit their intake of processed foods.”
The researchers also found that processed foods had an opposite effect on the gut bacteria present in Chron’s disease, actually making things worse.
Seeing an opportunity for a payout, one pharmaceutical company out of the United Kingdom is developing a “naturally-derived product” based off of this research, using extracts from the plantain fibers.
However, getting the benefits straight from the food seems to always work out better than taking a pill designed to mimic the foods.
If you are unfamiliar with plantains, they can be found in most large grocery stores and health food stores alike. Cooked when green, they have little flavor and are used more as a starchy addition to soups and curries. But, if you wait until they are completely browned, they can make a sweet dessert or special treat when sautéed lightly and sprinkled with cinnamon.
What other foods can you include in a diet for Crohn’s disease?
- Salmon - Salmon can be very helpful for inflammatory issues. The fish is rich in inflammatory-fighting omega-3’s, and has fat content which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Yogurt - Yogurt is full of beneficial bacteria that is key in digestive health.
- Avocado - Avocados are full of highly beneficial fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, and potassium, making them great in a diet for Crohn’s disease. Of course, this only scrapes the surface of the health benefits of avocados.
- Eggs - One egg contains 6 grams of protein, vitamin D, and lecithin, a fat that helps you to absorb vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Eggs also contain dietary iron.
- Papaya - Papaya contains an enzyme known as papain, which helps with the digestive system by breaking down proteins and supporting production of digestive enzymes. Papaya is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and potassium. There are numerous other benefits of papaya as well that everyone should know about.