Crohn’s disease results in swelling in the gastrointestinal tract. Although Crohn’s disease can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, the most commonly affected area is the ileum. Crohn’s disease causes deep pain accompanied with chronic diarrhea.
Most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever, arthritis and weight loss. Since the cause of the disease still remains unknown, there is no definitive treatment for it. However, a low-residue diet can help a great deal in fighting Crohn’s disease.
What is Low-residue Diet?
The chief aim of a low-residue diet is to decrease the size as well as frequency of stool by lowering the fat and fiber content in your diet. Crohn’s disease patients should consume 0g fiber and less than 20g of fat. Since Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the colon wall, a smooth and easy bowel movement would not worsen the condition.
Pregnant women and astronauts are prescribed a low-residue diet to survive the extreme stress, increased blood flow and an upset digestive tract.
What Not to Include in a Low-residue Diet?
A person on a low-residue diet should not eat chewy meats (pork or steak), whole grain bread, pasta, raw vegetables, beans, legumes, bran, oatmeal, caffeine, chocolate, whole and dried fruits, spicy foods, nuts and seeds, coconut, cheese and marmalade. As these foods are rich in fiber, they tend to increase intestinal motility.
What to Include in a Low-residue Diet?
A person on a low-residue diet should eat refined white breads, saltines and other plain crackers, cooked cereals such as grit, cold cereals such as corn flakes, noodles, white rice and refined pasta.
One can include asparagus tips, beets, green beans, spinach, mushrooms and cooked potatoes in a low-residue diet. However, one should not include seeds as well as skins of these vegetables. Also, the vegetables should be well cooked. One can go for canned vegetables as well.
One can include ripe bananas, honeydew, soft cantaloupe and avocado in a low-residue diet. The fruit skins should be removed.
Milk and milk products can be included. Although milk is devoid of fiber, it can cause diarrhea especially in people with lactose intolerance. Instead, one can also go for lactase supplements.
One should count upon lean meat such as chicken, fish and eggs as a source of protein.
One can include condiments such as margarine, oil, butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, soy sauce, honey, syrup and smooth sauce in a low-residue diet.
One can include moderate levels of plain cakes, plain puddings, sherbet, popsicles, ice cream, custard, cookies, hard candy, vanilla wafers and pretzels in a low-residue diet. Always remember not to garnish the pudding, yogurt and ice cream with fruits and nuts.
It is safe to drink decaffeinated coffee and carbonated beverages in a low-residue diet. Tea does no harm either. One can also take strained vegetable juice and fruit juice without pulp (e.g. apple juice)
Low-residue diet is a short-term diet because of its restrictive nature. In long-term period, the low-residue diet tends to deprive you of the other benefits of the foods it restricts. For example, raw vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and nuts ensure a healthy heart. It also deprives the person from essential minerals.