Eating well when you have Crohn's disease
Certain foods may worsen the bowel symptoms of your Crohn's disease, including pain, diarrhea, excess gas and bloating. But no food has been proven to increase inflammation of the intestines, and there's no specific list of foods that must be avoided by everyone with Crohn's disease. Foods that bother some people may not be a problem for you.
Healthy eating tips
Overall, it's best to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups. Also, consider the following:
Aug. 13, 2014
- Eat low-fat foods. Undigested fat may pass through your intestines, making your diarrhea worse. If fatty foods bother you, try eating mostly low-fat foods. When reading food labels, a good rule of thumb is to stick to foods that have no more than 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories.
- Cook your fruits and vegetables. Although they're great low-fat options, fresh fruits and vegetables also have a lot of fiber, which could worsen your symptoms. Try steaming, baking or stewing them to reduce the amount of fiber.
- Use lactose-free dairy products. Some people with Crohn's disease can't digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. If you have digestive problems when you eat dairy, switch to lactose-free dairy products such as those produced under the Lactaid brand.
See more In-depth
- Living with Crohn's and colitis. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/living-with-crohns-colitis/. Accessed June 30, 2014.
- Short bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/assets/short-bowel-syndrome-and.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2014.
- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis diet and nutrition Q&A. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/diet-and-nutrition-1.html. Accessed June 30, 2014.
- Cohen AB, et al. Dietary patterns and self-reported associations of diet with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2013; 58:1322.
- Donnellan CF, et al. Nutritional management of Crohn's disease. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology. 2013;6:231.
- Lee J, et al. British Dietetic Association evidence-based guidelines for the dietary management of Crohn's disease in adults. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;27:207.
- Low-fat foods. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/takecontrolofyourweight/low-fat-foods/. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Diet and IBD. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/diet-and-ibd.html. Accessed July 29, 2014.