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Intestine & digestion

Crohn’s disease, advice for the summer

January 1, 2018

Each patient with Crohn’s disease is different. Chronic inflammatory bowel disease, in fact, can present particular characteristics for each individual and may manifest differently: it will therefore be necessary to take these aspects into account in the definition of the diet, even in summer. We talk about this topic with Professor Silvio Danese, gastroenterologist and Head of the Chronic Intestinal Inflammatory Diseases Centre at Humanitas and Professor at Humanitas University.


The pathology can affect several points of the gastrointestinal tract and may occur with certain symptoms: chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, as well as nausea and loss of appetite. The disease then alternates between phases of remission and phases of relapse of symptoms. It is in the light of these elements that appropriate food choices will be made:


Some foods can make the symptoms more severe in a phase of non-remission: “It is recommended not to consume those summer foods that can trigger worsening of the disease. A good practice is to keep a diary. Many patients report, for example, an association between their symptoms, such as diarrhea and abdominal swelling, with milk and its derivatives;


In summer there is a lot of fresh fruit available “but this, as well as fresh vegetables and whole grains, is rich in fiber and often the recommended diet is low in fiber. Therefore, if you notice that raw fruit and vegetables cause gastrointestinal disturbances, it is recommended to cook them, particularly steamed, or to consume easily digestible fruit such as melon. Moreover, it is better to peel the fruit;


In the presence of diarrhea, it is more appropriate to consume refined cereals such as pasta and rice;


Summer is often synonymous with fish: “Consuming it is indicated for those affected by Crohn’s disease, in particular the greasy species, rich in “good” fats, i.e. omega 3, such as tuna and salmon”;


If you go to dinner with friends, a good idea is to participate by preparing a dish that certainly does not give you any intestinal problems and bring enough for everyone;


The advice given to patients with Crohn’s disease is to make more meals that are less abundant and therefore more frequent throughout the day. In summer, if you are on holiday, this would probably be easier;


What to drink, what not to drink

Drinking a lot of water helps to keep well hydrated, especially in case of diarrhea;

Beware of alcohol and caffeine, especially if you are taking medications. It is also better to avoid carbonated drinks;

In summer you might have more time to do some physical activity and relax;


Chronic bowel inflammatory diseases are associated with a higher risk of skin cancer than the general population, particularly if patients are taking immunosuppressive drugs. For this reason, it is essential to protect oneself from the action of ultraviolet rays by dressing properly, wearing glasses and hats and applying sunscreen with a high protection factor “.

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