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One Food That Helps Fight Crohns Disease?

Kefir has been around for thousands of years, but until recently, it was unknown just how beneficial the beverage actually is. Find out more about the health benefits of kefir and how it can benefit Crohn's patients below.
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If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you have trouble digesting food properly, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as rectal bleeding, frequent diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, fatigue, and difficulty absorbing nutrients.

According to recent research, some of the best treatment for Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders is to eat a diet rich in nutrients, avoid inflaming foods, and supplement with probiotics and other digestive aids to reduce some of the more painful symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Recent research has suggested that kefir may be one of the most beneficial foods to consume for individuals with Crohn’s disease due to its high level of nutrients and probiotic balance that can soothe the digestive system. Read more about how kefir can benefit individuals with digestive disorders below:

The Health Benefits of Kefir

Recent research has shown that Kefir is beneficial in numerous ways. Not only can Kefir help with digestion, but it also provides other invaluable health benefits. Some of the biggest health benefits of kefir include:

Rich in Nutrients

Kefir is a naturally fermented milk product, which sounds disgusting, but kefir is an ancient preservation method for keeping milk safe for consumption before the days of refrigeration. Kefir is produced by adding cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast to milk products to ferment the milk and transform it into a yogurt-like product.

In 6 ounces of kefir you will find:

  • 20 percent RDA for calcium
  • 14 percent RDA for vitamin B12
  • 20 percent RDA for phosphorus
  • 5 percent RDA for magnesium
  • 19 percent RDA for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • 20-25 percent RDA vitamin D
  • Vitamin K2 (only in full-fat kefir)
  • 3-6 grams of fat
  • Millions of probiotic cultures

Boosts Digestion

A study from 2012 published in PLOS One studied the effects of probiotics on 8 common digestive diseases. During the randomized controlled trial, study participants with digestive diseases took probiotic supplements or a placebo. At the end of the study period, participants with Infectious diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Pouchitis, Helicobacter pylori, Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea, and Clostridium difficile Disease all showed significant improvement. However, probiotics did not have any effect on Traveler's Diarrhea or Necrotizing Enterocolitis.

The researchers also found that probiotics containing the bacteria strains L. acidophilus, B. infantis, and L. plantarum were the most beneficial. Kefir actually containers a higher concentration of probiotics than yogurt. Kefir grains contain about 30 different strains of bacteria and also contain beneficial yeast, which many other probiotics do not contain.

Kefir is Antibacterial

Kefir not only improves digestion, but it may also fight against bacteria as well. The probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir grains, has been shown to slow or inhibit the growth of common harmful bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella. The presence of bacteria-fighting microorganisms in kefir is of particular benefit to individuals with digestive disorders who may have an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines which leads to a compromised immune system. Extra bacterial protection can help improve the immune system and prevent illness.

Kefir Prevents Digestion Side Effects

A study from 2013 conducted by researchers from Bastyr University found that probiotics present in kefir can help prevent some of the side effects from digestive disorders, such as diarrhea. The researchers reviewed 23 qualifying studies on probiotics and found that the bacteria can reduce the presence of diarrhea by up to 64 percent. Specifically, the study examined the effects of probiotics on Clostridium difficile bacteria, which is responsible for diarrhea typically caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines.

Kefir Boosts Bone Health

Individuals with digestive disorders often have other health side effects from lack of nutrient absorption, such as weak bones and a reduced immune system. Kefir can not only help boost the immune system, but it can also help strengthen the bones. Weak bones are common in individuals with digestive problems, because bone-building nutrients such as calcium and magnesium are not absorbed by the body. Kefir contains many bone-building nutrients, including calcium and vitamin K2.

Studies show that high levels of vitamin K2 can reduce the rate of fractures by up to 81 percent. A study from 2015 published in Osteoporosis International examined the effects of kefir on the health of animal’s bones. The researchers found that when animals supplemented with kefir for 12 weeks not only strengthened the bones, but also made it easier for the body to absorb and use calcium properly.

Can’t Have Dairy? You Can Still Eat Kefir

Many individuals with digestive problems often have trouble digesting dairy. Lactose intolerance is common, which scares many individuals with Crohn’s disease away from milk products. However, the way that kefir is made breaks down lactose into lactic acid, which virtually eliminates lactose from kefir. This makes it much easier to digest even with a milk allergy. Kefir also contains beneficial enzymes that make it easier to break down lactose (which are also found in unpasteurized milk). Individuals who are still scared to eat dairy can still have some of the benefits of kefir by making coconut water kefir or plain water kefir.

How to Make Kefir at Home

Kefir purchased from a store is not only expensive, but often is served alongside unhealthy doses of sugar. Additionally, store kefir may not contain as many beneficial ingredients as kefir you make yourself. For best results, purchase some high-quality kefir grains at a health food store or online and brew the beverage at home.

Follow the directions below to make kefir at home:

How to Make Kefir
  1. Place 2 tablespoons of kefir grains in a glass jar
  2. Add 2 cups of full-fat milk (ideally raw, unhomogenized milk. If you can’t get that, purchase as unprocessed milk as possible in your area)
  3. Leave an inch of space at the top of the jar (or more)
  4. Put the lid on the jar and leave it out at room temperature for up to 36 hours. You can start to eat it as soon as soon as 12 hours after brewing
  5. Strain the grains and consume the milk
  6. Save the grains to use with your next batch of kefir 

Other Natural Steps to Reduce Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Kefir alone may not be enough to prevent serious digestion issues. For individuals with severe irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive disorders, additional steps may be required to have a healthy digestive tract. Use the following diet and supplement changes to minimize the symptoms of uncomfortable digestive disorders in addition to adding kefir to your diet.

Digestion-Boosting Vitamins and Herbs

Many individuals with digestive disorders, and particularly Crohn’s disease, are low in nutrients. Digestive disorders prevent the proper absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream which means you need to ensure you receive an even greater amount of beneficial nutrients each day. Some studies suggest that the following nutrients are often lacking in individuals with Crohn’s disease:

Nutrients for Crohn’s Disease
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin K2
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Citrus bioflavonoids- used to fight inflammation. Commonly, Crohn’s disease is triggered by inflammation.
  • Hesperidin- fights inflammation
  • Cat’s claw- fights inflammation
  • Licorice- has a soothing effect on the digestive system

Diet

Changes According to the Crohn’s website Crohns and Colitis, some dietary changes can help ease the symptoms of Crohn's disease and other digestive problems. The website suggests limiting fatty foods, large meals, gassy foods (such as beans or broccoli), sugar, and junk food. Exchange unhealthy foods with healthy foods rich in nutrients, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plenty of water and other healthy liquids.

Lifestyle Changes

A few changes to your lifestyle may also make a difference in Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders. Rather than eating a few large meals, try eating smaller meals throughout the day. Stress can also make digestive problems worse, so work daily to curb stress by engaging in stress-relieving activities, such as massage, yoga, meditation, and relaxation. Daily exercise also promotes a healthy digestive system. Aim to exercise at least three to four times a week for 30 minutes at a time for consistent results. Yoga and other relaxing exercise models may provide the biggest benefit for individuals with Crohn’s disease.

Kefir: A Useful Tool in the Fight against Poor Digestion

Crohn’s disease is not only painful, but it can also have serious long-term health consequences due to improper nutrient absorption. Proper nutrient intake is essential for preventing some of the major side effects of digestive disorders that can cause mental problems, bone density loss, weight loss, thyroid problems, and general pain and suffering. Kefir provides many benefits for individuals with Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders because it offers soothing digestive help and also contains many vital nutrients that are often lacking in individuals with digestive problems. If you suffer from a digestive disorder and have never tried kefir, add this beneficial supplement to your routine today. It is a simple and effective way to boost other natural treatment methods for Crohn’s disease.

Sources


http://authoritynutrition.com/9-health-benefits-of-kefir/

https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com/crohns digestion/crohns

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22529959

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