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Roughage or Fiber Diet:

Grains, fruits, and vegetable are essential ingredients for a healthy and balanced diet. However, some of these foods have a laxative effect. Such an effect is unwanted during a flare-up of Crohn's disease. In addition, these foods may produce excessive gas that will further bother a patient.

Just like unabsorbed lactose, both sorbitol and fructose in fruits that are in excess of what someone can absorb will lead to loose stools, as well as excessive gas. Many vegetables and grains are also natural sources of gas. An enzyme product called Beano may be effective in reducing gas from peas and beans, grains and cereals, nuts and seed, and a variety of vegetables. Beano is used by mixing a few drops with gas producing foods. This enzyme product can be purchased in most pharmacies.
Notes: People allergic to penicillin may also be allergic to Beano. The product is taken from a mold, just like penicillin.

It is generally safe to experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see if you tolerate some better than others. Some patients may have to avoid foods that contain sorbitol, but have no difficulty with other fruits, such as berries.

Those suffering from small-bowel Crohn's may have difficulty digesting fibrous foods. The narrowing in the small intestine makes the digestion process harder and may lead to cramp pains when the patient eat various types of fruits and vegetables. Cereal fiber, like bran, may be easier to digest for some small-bowel Crohn's patients. However, bran is a potent laxative and produces excessive gas in some cases.

Dealing with restrictions of fruit and vegetables:

Restricting fruits and vegetables in a diet may decrease the patient's intake of minerals. Minerals (potassium and iron) and vitamins (A,C, and folic acids) will need to be obtained through different means. Bananas are a good source of potassium. Citrus juices, tomato juice, ketchup, and brown sugar are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin C. Meat is a good source for iron and folic acid. Milk and milk products can provide a source of vitamin A (assuming you are not lactose intolerant). Whole-grain cereals can provide a source for fiber.
Notes: Avoid eating only coarse fibers, such as celery and apple skins, as well as large seeds.

See related articles:
Crohn's Disease General Information
Crohn's disease diets


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