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What is Crohn's Disease and How Fiber Can Help?

  • 4 min read

About three million Americans suffer from some type of inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease. An important part of managing Crohn’s disease is what you eat. There is evidence that soluble fiber is favorable for people with Crohn’s disease. This is good news if you have Crohn’s because it means that you can benefit from Bonny which contains soluble fiber in the forms of psyllium husk and inulin! Read on as we explain the “it’s complicated” relationship between fiber and Crohn’s. 

What is Crohn’s Disease? 

man asking what is it?

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Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, commonly referred to as an IBD. It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which leads to symptoms like abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. None of the things you want.

So maybe thinking how do I avoid that? Doctors aren't sure. They previously believed that diet and stress were the causes of Crohn's but that may just aggregate the preexisting condition. A malfunctioning immune system or genetics may be the underlying culprit.

For different people, Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract. Though it can happen at any age, Crohn’s is typically diagnosed in adolescents and adults between the ages of 20 and 30. It can be difficult to determine what new diet will work best for you to help you manage your symptoms and avoid flare-ups.  

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease 

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe. Typically, they develop gradually, but sometimes they can come on suddenly and without warning. There will also be times when you will have no signs or symptoms, and this is called remission. When Crohn’s disease is active, the symptoms include: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Blood in your stool
  • Fever
  • Fatigue 
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss 
  • Fistula, which is pain or drainage near or around the anus because of inflammation from a tunnel into the skin

If you think you might have Crohn’s disease, it is best to contact a doctor right away. 

Crohn’s Disease Diet  

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Learning what foods work best for you with Crohn’s can help you manage your disease. 

It is not always easy to know which foods are best for your diet when you have Crohn’s disease. (We should note that no one food or diet can cause, prevent, or cure Crohn’s disease.) And a diet that works for one person with Crohn’s disease might not work as well for another person. It is important to still eat a healthy diet that is balanced in nutrients. 

One way to determine the best foods that work best for you is to experiment with not just different foods, but different ways of preparing them. For example, if raw veggies can trigger a flare, try steaming, boiling, or stewing them. 

Crohn’s Disease Dietary Fiber 

Dietary fiber is an important nutrient for your overall health. It helps you feel fuller longer, boosts your immunity, regulates your blood sugar levels, and can lower your bad cholesterol levels.

If Crohn’s disease and fiber were in a relationship on Facebook it would be marked “its complicated.” 

For years, many people with Crohn’s disease have avoided fiber or followed low-fiber diets. You may have been told in the past to avoid fiber if you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s. However, a 2015 study found that a high amount of dietary fiber was actually not harmful but favorable for Crohn’s disease. 

According to other data, getting about 23 grams of fiber a day can lessen your risk of a Crohn’s flare-up by about 40%. One study found that avoidance of fiber is associated with a greater risk of a Crohn’s disease flare in a 6-month period. 

But if you’re having a flare, it’s best to stay away from high-fiber foods that can aggravate your symptoms. 

There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The best fiber option when you have Crohn’s disease is foods that have soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that soaks up all the extra fluid in your gut and creates a gel that sweeps out the toxins in the colon. Result: smooth poop that doesn't hurt to pass. Foods with soluble fiber can help you slow down your digestion and ease diarrhea by lowering the amount of water in your gut. Foods that are high in soluble fiber include black beans, brussel sprouts, avocados, and sweet potatoes. 

Foods That Heal Colon Inflammation

woman saying that is good. this is healing

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So, what are foods that heal colon inflammation? These foods are the best to eat after a flare-up or during remission. 

Increase Fiber 

After a flare-up, it’s a good time to slowly incorporate foods higher in fiber, like oat bran, beans, barley, nuts, whole grains, or a fiber supplement. (This might not be the case if you have an ostomy, intestinal narrowing, or if your doctor suggests you continue a low-fiber diet because of strictures or recent surgery.) 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You can get Omega-3 fatty acids from fresh or canned fatty fish, or if seafood isn’t your thing, consider taking a fish or flaxseed oil supplement. 

Whole Foods

(No, not the grocery store!) Focus on eating whole foods that are in their natural state. This means foods with minimal processing and minimal ingredients. 

Protein Foods 

Power up with protein, like beef, eggs, poultry, and other lean meats, or plant-based proteins like soy products. 

Water, Water, Water

Drink water, and then some more water. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, and alcohol. 

Need Help with Your Soluble Fiber Intake: Try Bonny

If you have Crohn’s disease, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful. And one of those reasons is fiber. Fiber can help when you suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulosis and diverticulitis

Bonny is a prebiotic fiber supplement that is great for your gut health. It is a gentle, easy, and delicious way of adding soluble fiber to your diet and getting all the good benefits of fiber without having to eat the seeds and skins of fiber-full foods that might irritate your digestive system.

Bonny comes in delicious flavors you will crave like Apple, Mixed Ripe Berries, and Super Strawberry. 

As always, we wish you pleasant poops!