A specialist’s advice on Crohn’s disease and diet

Written by: Dr Ganesh Sivaji
Published: | Updated: 18/11/2020
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the digestive system causing symptoms like abdominal pain, change in bowel pattern, lethargy and weight loss. If you live with Crohn’s, paying special attention to what you eat can help you to understand which foods might help your symptoms and the ones that may aggravate the condition.

One of our top gastroenterologists Dr Ganesh Sivaji is an expert in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and here he explains how to figure out which certain foods may affect your gut and his top tips on managing Crohn’s disease.

Two women prepare a salad together. People with Crohn's disease must take precautions with their diet.

Is there a specific diet plan for people with Crohn's disease?

When the disease is under control, it is important to maintain a well balanced and healthy diet. When the disease is flaring up, it is important to give the digestive system some rest. It is vital that the diet is altered during these episodes.

Which foods should be avoided?

When the disease is under control, you can enjoy a normal diet although there is some evidence that processed foods and salt-rich foods may have a role in triggering a flare-up. It is important to listen to your gut and keep a record of trigger foods and avoid them.

When your disease is flaring up, you can provide some rest by following a low fibre diet, namely white bread, white pasta, avoiding nuts and seeds and peeling the skin off fruits and vegetables etc.

Why is keeping a daily food diary important?

A food diary will help you identify trigger foods and reduce the risk of flare-ups.

Are liquid diets good for people with Crohn's disease?

Liquids are good to maintain regular bowel habits. A liquid only diet (an Elemental diet with a mixture of carbohydrates, protein and fat) is used in acute Crohn’s disease occurring in children, with good benefit. As always, a balanced diet is the best when your Crohn’s is under control.

What tips can you recommend?

I recommend the following four points:

  1. Maintain a healthy balanced diet at all times.
  2. Maintain a food diary and avoid trigger foods.
  3. When unwell, give your gut a rest by having a low fibre diet.
  4. Be aware and stay healthy.

Book an appointment with Dr Sivaji now via his Top Doctor’s profile here for his expert medical opinion in your case.

By Dr Ganesh Sivaji

Dr Ganesh Sivaji is a highly-experienced consultant gastroenterologist based in Harrogate, England. He diagnoses and treats a wide range of gastrointestinal and hepatological diseases. His areas of expertise include inflammatory bowel disease, indigestion and reflux disease, liver diseases, bowel cancer management, Barrett's disease and endoscopy.

In 1995, Dr Sivaji graduated from Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Med University in Chennai, India. He then continued studies and went on to obtain his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1998.

Dr Sivaji has been practising as a consultant in the UK since 2002, and now holds private consultancy positions in Harrogate at both BMI The Duchy Hospital and the Harrogate Hospital. Since 2010, he has also been operating at the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation.

In addition to his consultancy work, Dr Sivaji takes a keen interest in education and training; he is a Royal Collage International examiner and the training program director for Yorkshire. He is also a member of the BMA.

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