Since the specific cause of Crohn’s disease is still virtually unknown, as it’s believed that it comes from a combination of different factors, the exact preventive measures for effectively avoiding this illness are still undetermined.1 However, these healthy lifestyle strategies may help minimize your risk of Crohn’s disease:
• Eat a well-balanced diet. Reducing the intake of certain foods, particularly meats and foods high in trans fats and refined sugar, can help lower your risk of getting Crohn’s. Instead, consume a diet high in vegetables, fruits, saturated fats, omega-3s from animal sources and fiber.
You should also add traditionally fermented foods to your meals, as they can help balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut.
Artificial flavors, colors and preservatives in these foods may also lead to inflammation and wreak havoc on your health.
If you already have Crohn’s disease, however, there are certain healthy foods that you must reduce or avoid, as they may strain your digestion, which can worsen the painful symptoms or promote flare-ups. Some examples are raw nuts, dairy and high-fiber foods.
• Avoid or quit smoking. Smoking is the biggest preventable factor in developing Crohn’s disease. Smokers who get Crohn’s disease are found to have more relapses, require more medications and repeat surgeries, and suffer more severe complications.2
By avoiding or stopping smoking, not only will the health of your digestive tract improve, but you can prevent a host of other diseases as well. Read some effective strategies to help you quit smoking.
• Manage stress. Stress, in and of itself, is not considered a cause of Crohn’s disease, but it has been found to influence your digestive process and overall risk of illness.
When you’re stressed, your stomach empties more slowly, secreting more acid. It speeds up or slows down the passage of intestinal contents, and causes intestinal tissue changes as well.3
Note that chronic stress leads to inflammation, and has even been linked to diseases like cancer. Stress can worsen Crohn’s disease symptoms and trigger flare-ups. For this reason, employ effective stress managing techniques, such as exercises, meditation, breathing techniques, yoga, EFT, or even Grounding.
• Drink enough water. If your intestines don’t get enough fluids, they cannot perform their duties properly. You’ll know if you’re getting enough water by checking the color of your urine (ideally, it should be a light yellow color). Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, especially if you already have a high risk for this illness.4
• Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps your body produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides that help fight all sorts of infections. Since experts believe Crohn’s disease has an infectious component, this is a simple strategy that can lower your risk. In fact vitamin D is nearly as effective as animal-based omega-3 fats in countering IBD.
You can get vitamin D through safe sun exposure, but if this is not possible, taking a vitamin D3 supplement is another viable option.