Childhood illnesses

Forbidden and allowed foods for children with Crohn's disease


Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory process of unknown origin that can affect any part of the digestive tract, although it tends to focus on the final part of the small intestine or the large intestine. Unfortunately, as it is a chronic disease, it can appear on multiple occasions throughout life, which is why it is important to have correct eating guidelines. These are the foods prohibited and allowed for children with Chron's disease.

Although the recommendations for healthy foods or diets are quite general, in the case of children with gastrointestinal diseases, small modifications must be made to adapt to the limitations that the disease infers on digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

In the case of Crohn's diseaseFor example, two clear distinctions can be made, guidelines for symptomatic outbreaks of the disease (among these symptomatic outbreaks the disease is considered in remission, or what is the same, it is latent without overt symptoms. These periods vary in duration , which can last for years, but unfortunately the appearance of outbreaks is unpredictable) and others for when the disease is asymptomatic or is in remission.

In general, the dietary guidelines that can be recommended for a child with a diagnosis of Crohn's disease are:

1. Ensure a frequent supply of food, at least 6 a day, to facilitate digestion and not overload the gastrointestinal tract. Preferably, the child should eat a varied single plate that includes foods that are easy to digest, but with a high nutritional density.

2. Choose the combinations that enhance the nutritional intake, for example, combining legumes with rice to increase the biological value of proteins or meat with foods with vitamin C to achieve better absorption of iron.

3. Monitor the intake of foods that contain calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E, since they are the most compromised in patients with Crohn's disease.

During periods when the Crohn's disease symptoms (colic, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, loss of weight and appetite, ulcers or swelling are the most common), the pediatrician usually prescribes specific dietary guidelines, which generally include a diet high in calories, but low in fat and above all, easy to digest. The caloric content is recommended to be provided through protein foods and both gluten and lactose should be avoided.

Among the most recommended foods in the symptomatic phase, we can highlight white and blue fish, poultry, rice and pasta, preferably gluten-free, yogurts, eggs and potatoes, and of course fruits (apple, pear, banana, melon, peach / apricot, papaya, mango ...), without skin to avoid an extra contribution of insoluble fiber and vegetables (carrot, zucchini, pumpkin, onion, asparagus, mushrooms ...), preferably cooked.

For its part, it is convenient to avoid red meat and whole dairy products, especially milk, as well as foods with a large amount of fat and sugars, such as sweets and pastries and salty snacks. Among vegetables, it is advisable to avoid broccoli and cauliflower, and especially avoid consuming raw and unpeeled vegetables. Furthermore, lNuts and whole grains are not recommended given their fiber content.

If there is diarrhea, it is also advisable to monitor that there is no dehydration, increasing the intake of fluids, be it water, broths, infusions and, above all, avoiding sugary and carbonated drinks.

In the remission phases, fish, both white and blue, are highly recommended, especially salmon, due to their invaluable contribution in fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, and lean meats, including the least fatty parts of the pig, since they provide protein from high quality and essential minerals such as iron. In addition, it is convenient to include superfoods such as eggs and yogurt in the child's diet, because, apart from their nutritional contribution, they are easy to digest, ideal for gastrointestinal disorders.

Foods to avoid during latency periods are spinach, very fatty red meats such as lamb, cold cuts, citrus fruits, whole dairy products (except for fermented ones), vegetables that produce flatulence such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or peas, whole grains, pastries and salty snacks. In addition, it is advisable to avoid those foods sweetened with sorbitol, mannitol or xylitol because they cause flatulence.

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