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Crohn’s disease diet: Foods to eat and avoid

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can worsen after eating certain foods, while other foods can help improve symptoms.

Having Crohn’s disease presents unique challenges for a person when it comes to eating. Some foods can make symptoms worse at times, and people may want to avoid them.

People with Crohn’s are subject to “flare-ups,” which are periods of inflammation where a person has diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping when they eat. As a result, doctors may often recommend a person take different dietary approaches when they have a flare-up and when they do not.

The following article describes some dietary approaches for those with Crohn’s when they are going through a flare-up and for their typical daily diet.

Foods to avoid

During a flare-up, most doctors and dietitians will recommend avoiding high-fiber foods and foods that are known to stimulate the gut, such as spicy foods.

Beverages

Beverages to avoid during a Crohn’s flare-up include:

  • alcoholic drinks
  • caffeinated drinks
  • highly sweetened drinks, such as with sugar or corn syrup

Very sugary drinks can worsen diarrhea that a person commonly experiences during a flare-up.

Breads and starches

While many diet plans recommend whole grains, a flare-up diet usually involves a low-fiber approach. This means a person should avoid the following foods:

  • brown rice
  • cereals containing nuts, dried fruit, or seeds
  • quinoa
  • whole-grain breads, crackers, or pastas
  • whole-wheat breads, crackers, or pastas
  • wild rice

Dairy products

A person should avoid dairy products that may contain added sources of fiber. Examples can include:

  • cheeses that contain nuts or seeds
  • yogurts that contain fruit skins, such as whole blueberries, cherries, or strawberries

Eating other dairy foods in moderation can be helpful during a flare-up, by providing calcium and live active cultures.

Fats

Some fat sources may contain fiber or are naturally high in fiber. Examples of fats to avoid include:

  • coconut
  • nuts
  • salad dressings with poppy seeds

Fruits

Raw fruits and fruit juices with pulp are foods to avoid during a Crohn’s flare-up. Other examples include:

  • dried fruits, such as raisins
  • prune juice

While people should avoid raw fruits when they have a flare-up, they can eat bananas, melon, and apples with the skins removed.

Read on: Crohn's disease diet: Foods to eat and avoid

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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