How to Maintain a Healthy Weight with Crohn's

Crohn's disease can cause a variety of problems for sufferers, including a reduced appetite, poor absorption of vitamins and minerals and diarrhea. If you've been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, this may be a good time to reevaluate your eating habits and develop an eating plan that's based on providing you with a high amount of essential nutrients. In addition to helping you take an active role in managing your illness, taking control of your diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Depending on the severity of your Crohn's disease, it may be necessary for you to have a restricted diet all the time, some of the time or, in some cases, you may never need to be on a restricted diet. But whatever diet plan you use, to avoid low energy levels and weight loss, make sure it includes plenty of protein and the vitamins A, D, C, B-12 and folic acid, as well as calcium, iron and zinc. Eating a variety of foods from these four basic food groups can supply you with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy:

  • Meat, fish, poultry (protein, iron, B-12)
  • Dairy, including cheese, ice cream, milk, yogurt (calcium, vitamins D and A)
  • Cereal and whole grains (zinc)
  • Fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables like green peas and spinach (calcium, vitamins C and B-12, zinc)

Avoiding smoking, spicy and fatty foods and alcohol, especially when your Crohn's disease is active, can help lessen symptoms. Here are some tips for developing a nutritious diet plan and maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Talk to your doctor or dietician about helping you devise an eating plan that will keep your energy levels high and give your body all the nutrients it needs. If you're experiencing a severe attack of Crohn's symptoms, your doctor may recommend that you try a liquid diet for a few days to give your bowel a break.
  • Eat at regular times. Crohn's disease can wreck havoc on your appetite, causing you to skip meals. You need protein, vitamins, minerals and calories to stay healthy, so try to stick to a consistent time schedule of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Try to eat a variety of foods to avoid boredom and the inclination to skip meals.
  • Eat moderate portions to limit the demand on your digestive system.