Crohn's 101: "But what CAN I eat?!?"
When your guts hurt it's hard to want to eat let alone know WHAT to eat. It get's even trickier with Crohn's patients. Not everyone with Crohn's can tolerate the same foods OR sometimes they CAN eat a food but other times they CAN'T. Sounds crazy, but it's true.
So what do you do? My solution has been sticking to what I know I can eat and then slowly incorporating new foods, or even foods that I once thought I "couldn't" eat. I also have focussed my diet on eating less processed foods and more REAL foods.
What I have found is that regardless of fiber content, cooked or raw, etc. I am able to tolerate MANY MORE THINGS than I originally thought. And I really feel that not eating processed junk has helped my inflammation stay at bay. (Did you know sugar is a main culprit of inflammation?!?...but that's for another post )
Here is a list of my "Crohn's Superfoods" that have healing properties for Crohnie's (not to mention other auto-immune diseases) and that I have found to work in my diet.
Sweet Potatoes- A definite comfort food during a flare! Traditional sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, B vitamins, manganese, potassium, and the amino acid tryptophan, says Langston. Valued for their anti-inflammatory health benefits, sweet potatoes are delicious roasted, boiled and mashed, or even cooked on the grill.
Whole Grains- Consuming most of your grains as whole grains, as opposed to refined, white bread, cereal, rice, and pasta can help keep harmful inflammation at bay. That’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar. Not all products labeled “whole grain” are much healthier than their refined counterparts. To be sure you’re getting the benefits, look for foods with a whole grain as the first ingredient, and no added sugars.
Dark Leafy Greens- Studies have suggested that vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines—and one of the best sources of this vitamin is dark green veggies, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens. Dark greens and cruciferous vegetables also tend to have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals—like calcium, iron, and disease-fighting phytochemicals—than those with lighter-colored leaves. Try them cooked during a flare and raw once you are feeling better and able to hold food.
Hot Peppers- Hot peppers (like chili and cayenne) are rich in capsaicin, a chemical that’s used in topical creams that reduce pain and inflammation. Try adding a cayenne pepper to your favorite soup or stew.
Garlic and Onions-There’s a good reason why these pungent vegetables are known for their immunity-boosting properties. In test-tube and animal studies, garlic has been shown to work similarly to NSAID pain medications (like ibuprofen), shutting off the pathways that lead to inflammation. Onions contain similar anti-inflammatory chemicals, including the phytonutrient quercetin and the compound allicin, which breaks down to produce free radical-fighting sulfenic acid. Try cooking more with garlic and onions. Add them when cooking meats, soups, and sauces
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