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The Medicare Diet: Best Diet for Crohn’s Disease in Seniors

Diet for Crohn's Disease in Seniors

Posted on January 23, 2023 by Larry Johnson

A great diet can help manage many a health condition, but other treatments may be needed as well. Call (800) 950-0608 to speak with one of our licensed insurance agents to find Medicare plans in your area that can help cover treatment for Crohn Disease.

Did You Know Proper Diet Can Help You Manage Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease can be a major inconvenience for people of any age, but Crohn’s Disease in the elderly can be debilitating and downright dangerous. If you’re a senior with Crohn’s, it’s best to do everything that you can to keep the illness managed so that it does not become a threat to your health.

There are treatments out there for Crohn’s Disease, but many of its symptoms can be managed with a proper diet filled with healthy foods. A proper diet, made with the consultation of a medical professional (like a gastroenterologist) or a dietician, can help you manage occurrences of mild to moderate symptoms of the illness as well as lower your risk factor of suffering from the health condition.

So, what does a diet plan for Crohn’s Disease look like? What foods can best help combat symptoms of Crohn’s Disease? What’s the best diet you can find for Crohn’s Disease? Read on to learn how you can combat many symptoms of Crohn Disease with a proper diet plan focused on healthy gastroenterology.

Crohn’s Disease: A Quick Primer

Before we discuss what a good Crohn’s Disease diet might look like, let’s first take a moment to prime ourselves on what the illness actually is. 

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), much like Ulcerative Colitis. The disease affects the natural microbiome of your gut, causing inflammation in your digestive tract. Inflammatory bowel disease can make it tough to eat, drink, and digest foods and liquids. This can cause anything from mild bloating to severe pain and cramping after meals, and can lead to malnutrition.

Despite the current upward trend of talk about illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s is considered to be relatively rare. Fewer than 200,000 cases of Crohn’s are diagnosed each year in the United States. However, this doesn’t take into account the number of individuals who may be walking around with symptoms of a compromised microbiome and have yet to be diagnosed.

If you feel that you may have Crohn’s Disease, it presents with a number of telltale symptoms. Some of the symptoms one may experience with Crohn’s Disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Sores around the mouth
  • Blood in the stool
  • Reduced appetite, often accompanied by rapid or sudden weight loss
  • Drainage and soreness near or around the rectum due to inflammation caused by fistulas
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Seniors who notice any combination of these symptoms, along with a prevalent fever, are urged to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Rapid detection and diagnosis can help your doctor better create a treatment plan. Letting Crohn’s Disease go untreated can lead to severe complications which may require drastic treatments, such as surgery, to fix.

Treatment for Crohn’s Disease often requires a regimen of prescribed medications, including antibiotics and corticosteroids to help combat bacterial infections and inflammation. However, if your case of Crohn’s Disease is mild, symptoms and flare-ups can often be controlled with a proper diet.

best foods for Crohn's Disease

What Are the Best Foods for Crohn’s Disease?

The best diet therapy for conditions like Crohn’s Disease is one that features foods that are relatively low in fiber, high in lean protein and probiotics, and are fully cooked to make them more digestible. These types of foods help you avoid the painful inflammation that can cause a flare-up of the illness. 

Before we learn about the best foods to help with Crohn’s Disease, we’ll identify the trigger foods that can cause a flare-up of Crohn’s symptoms. Some of the foods that seniors dealing with Crohn’s Disease may want to avoid include:

  • Red meats, such as beef, and pork
  • Dairy products
  • Spicy and sugary foods (also best avoided for people with type 2 diabetes)
  • Foods with high fat content, such as butter, mayonnaise, fried foods, and oily foods
  • High fiber foods
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Corn, nuts, seeds, and legumes
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Nut butters, such as peanut butter and almond butter
  • Whole grains and bran

Now, you may be asking, “Why should I avoid raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes? Aren’t these considered part of a healthy diet?” Most of the time, a good dietician will advise keeping these foods – in moderation, of course, in the case of nuts, seeds, and legumes – as part of a healthy diet. However, these foods carry hulls that can damage the inflamed lining of your intestine. As a result, they can cause major complications for seniors.

An effective IBD diet features foods that help lessen inflammation and promote smooth passage of food and waste through the intestinal tract. Some examples of foods that can help lessen the severity of symptoms of Crohn’s Disease (as well as lower your risk factor of digestive diseases) include:

  • Low-fiber fruits, such as bananas and cantaloupe
  • Lean proteins, such as fish, white meat poultry, and eggs
  • Refined grains, such as sourdough, gluten-free bread, and oatmeal (also useful in a carbohydrate diet)
  • Fully-cooked seedless, skinless vegetables, such as potatoes and asparagus tips
  • Homemade protein shakes

Using healthy foods, you can create tasty recipes that fit in well on any diet. We’ve included a recipe below to help you get started on your journey to better wellness as a senior with Crohn’s!

best diet for Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease Diet Recipe: Baked Lemon Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Baked lemon chicken with sweet potatoes is a delicious dinner that you can cook to serve for yourself and two friends or loved ones. It only takes a little over an hour and a half from prep to serving, and works well on any diet plan to help combat Crohn’s Disease.

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup low or reduced sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (fresh squeezed from two large lemons)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

After preheating your oven to 400 degrees, you’ll want to peel the sweet potatoes. This reduces heavy fiber content. After peeling your sweet potatoes, cut them up into cubes.

Next, you’ll combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Give them a good whisk to combine them!

Arrange your sweet potatoes in a 9×13 pan or on a nonstick baking sheet. Place your chicken breasts over the sweet potatoes and glaze them with the lemon and broth mixture. Roast in the oven for an hour, and then enjoy!

Don’t Let Crohn’s Disease Take Over Your Life

Crohn’s Disease can be irritating and painful. However, with a good diet plan and proper medical treatment from a dietician, you can live relatively pain-free.

It’s known that Medicare plans cover the costs of most Crohn’s Disease treatments or services, but did you know that certain plans can help you purchase healthy foods for a proper diet? If you’re interested in learning more, give our licensed insurance agents a call today at (800) 950-0608 to see if there are Medicare plans in your area that feature a grocery benefit!

About the Author

Larry Johnson

Larry is a content writer with several years of experience in creating informative content for a variety of industries on topics that matter. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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