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Diet for Crohn's Disease

If you have Crohn’s disease, you know exactly how difficult choosing your next meal can be. But it is possible to develop a healthy diet plan that provides the nutrients and calories you need, while also excluding trigger foods that inflame your symptoms.

Crohn’s disease, which is a type of irritable bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, can make it difficult for your body to digest and absorb necessary nutrients from food. As a result, the food you eat can have great impact on how you’ll feel afterwards. Unpleasant symptoms that can result from Crohn’s include diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, cramps, and even malnourishment. In some cases, it can also lead to anemia and reduce your levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.

Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid aggravating your symptoms and even promote healing in your GI tract.

One tip is to have three small meals a day and have a snack between each meal to avoid overeating, which has been found to make digestion even more difficult.

While some foods undeniably exacerbate Crohn’s, there are other foods that can be beneficial for Crohn’s sufferers. In fact, some actually include important nutrients that promote healthy digestion and should definitely be included in your diet. Here’s what you should add to your grocery list:

  • Almond Milk
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Vegetable-Based Soups
  • Salmon
  • Poultry
  • Tropical Fruits, including bananas, papaya, mango, and cantaloupe
  • Pureed Beans
  • Avocado
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Roasted Red Peppers (with the skin removed)
  • White Rice
  • Smooth Peanut Butter/Almond Butter

It’s important to point out that not everyone can tolerate the same foods; what might be safe for one may trigger symptoms in another. You might want to try different foods and keep a food journal to observe your body’s reaction to each. With that said, here’s a list of some common trigger foods to avoid:  

  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products, including butter, yogurt (for those who are lactose intolerant)
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Corn husks
  • Foods high in fiber and fat
  • Beans, nuts, seeds
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Red meat and pork
  • Spicy foods
  • Whole grains and bran (only okay to eat if you’re not experiencing severe symptoms)