How well are you managing your Crohn’s disease symptoms? Do you still find yourself going to the bathroom multiple times a day, or does your stomach hurt without relief? While medications can be helpful for some, there are other strategies available.
While there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, there are various treatment options available to manage its symptoms and improve the quality of life for those living with the condition.
Functional nutrition is emerging as a promising approach to complement traditional medical treatments and help alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. Functional nutritionist Sarah Treat, MS, CCN, has seen incredible improvements occur when patients embrace personalized nutrition and holistic lifestyle changes. As a trusted San Antonio Crohn’s practitioner, Sarah is excited to meet you and help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
In this article, we’ll explore the vital role functional nutrition plays in managing Crohn’s Disease symptoms and improving overall well-being.
Crohn’s Disease Triggers
Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Common symptoms of Crohn’s Disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. It is characterized by periods of flare-ups and remission, making it challenging to manage.
There are certain food triggers to avoid – practitioners recommend avoiding any inflammatory tunes like alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine), coffee, tea, or chocolate, Dairy products (if lactose intolerant), fatty foods (fried foods), nuts and seeds (peanut butter, other nut butters), raw fruits and vegetables, and spicy foods.
This list might sound overwhelming. Is there anything you can eat that isn’t a trigger food? This is why it’s so important to work with a functional nutritionist, a practitioner in San Antonio who can come up with personalized meal plans that help your gut and also let you enjoy foods you like.
The Limits of Conventional Treatments
When looking for a San Antonio Crohn’s practitioner, consider different approaches. Traditional treatments for Crohn’s Disease often involve medications like corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics.
While these drugs can be effective in reducing inflammation and controlling symptoms, they may come with significant side effects and limitations. Many patients are increasingly turning to complementary approaches like functional nutrition to address the root causes of their symptoms and promote long-term healing.
Let’s Introduce You to Functional Nutrition
Functional nutrition is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the therapeutic and preventive aspects of nutrition. It recognizes that food is not just a source of energy but also a powerful tool that can influence various bodily functions, including the immune system and gut health. The core principles of functional nutrition include:
- Individualized approach
Functional nutrition considers each person’s unique biochemical makeup, genetics, lifestyle, and health history to create a personalized nutrition plan.
- Whole foods
Emphasis is placed on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods rather than processed or highly refined options.
- Gut health
Functional nutrition places a strong emphasis on the gut as the foundation of overall health, recognizing its role in digestion, immunity, and inflammation regulation.
- Inflammation management
The approach aims to reduce chronic inflammation, which is a common factor in many chronic diseases, including Crohn’s Disease.
How Functional Nutrition Can Help Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Sarah Treat is a San Antonio Crohn’s practitioner who puts her patients first. She takes the time to understand your unique situation and health history. In addition to relieving gut inflammation, working with a functional nutritionist can also improve your health in other areas.
Here’s how a San Antonio Crohn’s practitioner can help you:
- Identifying Trigger Foods
One of the key aspects of functional nutrition in managing Crohn’s Disease is identifying trigger foods that can exacerbate symptoms. Everyone with Crohn’s Disease may have different food sensitivities, and a personalized approach is crucial. A nutritionist specializing in functional nutrition can help patients identify which foods are contributing to inflammation and digestive distress. Common triggers include gluten, dairy, processed sugars, and certain food additives.
- Promoting Gut Healing
Functional nutrition emphasizes the importance of a healthy gut lining. In Crohn’s Disease, chronic inflammation can damage the intestinal wall, leading to leaky gut syndrome and exacerbating symptoms. Certain nutrients and foods can support gut healing, including:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the gut.
- Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria can help balance the gut microbiome and improve digestion. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics.
- L-glutamine: An amino acid that plays a crucial role in gut health and repair, L-glutamine can be found in foods like bone broth, spinach, and cabbage.
- Balancing Nutrient Deficiencies
Crohn’s Disease can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to malabsorption and dietary restrictions. Functional nutrition focuses on addressing these deficiencies through dietary interventions and targeted supplementation. Common deficiencies in Crohn’s Disease include vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium. A functional nutritionist can create a tailored plan to ensure patients receive the essential nutrients they need for overall health.
- Managing Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of Crohn’s Disease, and functional nutrition aims to reduce inflammation through dietary choices. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. Turmeric, ginger, and green tea are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be incorporated into the diet.
- Supporting Immune Function
The immune system plays a crucial role in Crohn’s Disease, as the condition involves an abnormal immune response in the gut. Functional nutrition can support immune function by ensuring the body receives essential nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients can be obtained from a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Stress Reduction
Stress can exacerbate Crohn’s Disease symptoms and trigger flare-ups. Functional nutrition recognizes the mind-body connection and incorporates stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation exercises. These practices can help patients manage stress and reduce its impact on their gastrointestinal health.
- Monitoring Symptoms
Functional nutrition involves ongoing monitoring of symptoms and dietary adjustments as needed. This dynamic approach allows for real-time adjustments to the nutrition plan based on the patient’s changing health status and symptom severity.
Getting Started is Easy
Functional nutrition offers a comprehensive and personalized approach to managing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. By identifying trigger foods, promoting gut healing, balancing nutrient deficiencies, managing inflammation, supporting immune function, and reducing stress, functional nutrition can help individuals with Crohn’s Disease improve their quality of life.
While functional nutrition is not always a replacement for conventional medical treatments (it can supplement medications and other interventions), it can be a valuable complementary approach in the management of Crohn’s Disease.