The Best Crohn’s Disease Diet To Reduce Inflammation And Pain

Medically reviewed by Sarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation disease around 70,000 new cases of IBD are diagnosed in the US each year (1). Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, and its typical symptoms are painful abdominal cramps and diarrhea. To prevent further complications like ulcers and sores, you MUST take care of your diet. This is why a specialized Crohn’s disease diet is important. It helps you choose foods that soothe the intestinal walls and avoid foods that might cause inflammation. Keep reading to know how this diet helps, foods to eat and avoid, and diet tips.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

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Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. It can affect any region from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation can go deep into the intestinal wall lining, and you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Crohn’s disease is usually diagnosed in people between 20-30 years, and, if left untreated, can cause the following complications:

  • Intestinal blockage
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney stones
  • Fistulas
  • Arthritis
  • Gallstones
  • Skin issues

This disease is treated over a period of time. You will have to combine drug therapy, diet, surgery, and supplements to get results. In this post, we will discuss how diet can help and foods to eat and avoid. Scroll down.

How Can Diet Help?

Crohn’s disease diet helps you identify foods that might cause flare-ups and deteriorate the condition. Foods that reduce and control the inflammatory symptoms are recommended in this diet. Crohn’s disease diet helps you control the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here’s a list of foods that can potentially increase inflammation. So, it’s best to avoid them.

Foods To Avoid

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  • Alcohol
  • Raw vegetables and fruits
  • Dairy products, especially if you are lactose intolerant
  • Spicy and oily foods
  • Pickles
  • Fried foods
  • Fast foods
  • Margarine, butter, ghee, mayonnaise, and oil
  • Foods high in fiber
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Legumes – lentils and beans
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Red meat and processed meat

This list might feel like there’s nothing left for you to eat or enjoy eating. But if you are not careful about your diet, it might cause kidney problems, fistulas, and skin and liver problems. You may try consuming the following foods.

Foods To Consume

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Note: Make sure you talk to your doctor before consuming these foods.

  • Peeled, boiled or baked vegetables – Bell pepper, white potato, carrot, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, and spinach.
  • Peeled raw, boiled or baked fruits – Banana, apple, and cantaloupe.
  • White rice
  • White rice pasta or white potato pasta
  • Boiled or baked fish with limited or less oil and spices
  • Olive oil, as tolerated
  • Psyllium and oats bran (if you can tolerate them and if your doctor recommends)

Apart from these foods, you may have to try the process of elimination, where you will consume a portion of food and see if you feel any discomfort. If yes, you must eliminate it from your diet.

Also, there are certain diets that scientists have found to help in the remission of IBD symptoms. Talk to your doctor before starting any of the following diets.

Diets That Might Help Reduce Symptoms Of Crohn’s Disease

Not fads but scientifically proven diets can help in reducing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease (2). Here’s a list:

Along with a good, IBD-compatible diet, taking a few supplements can also help. Here’s the list.

Dietary Supplements For Crohn’s Disease

  • Multivitamin
  • Iron (if you have anemia)
  • Calcium and vitamin D for your bones
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamins A, E, and K
  • Zinc

Make sure to consult your doctor before taking any of the supplements mentioned above.

Before coming to a close, here are a few tips to prevent flare-ups. Take a look.

Tips To Prevent Flare-Ups

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  • Quit smoking.
  • Make sure that you cook your veggies completely before consuming them.
  • Fish oil and flaxseed oil can help in reducing flare-ups. Talk to your doctor before consuming them.
  • Have small, frequent meals.
  • Drink water.
  • Try to limit your refined sugar intake.
  • Limit oil and spices.
  • Avoid adding too much salt to your food.
  • Consume gluten-free products if you are gluten sensitive.
  • Seek regular nutritional counseling.
  • If this disease is affecting your mental health, talk to a psychiatrist.
  • Stay active by doing some physical activity.

Crohn’s disease is disabling and painful. But being on a diet to help improve the condition will support you live a more pain-free, independent life. Take care!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are bananas good for Crohn’s?

They can be suitable, but talk to your doctor before consuming them.

Can milk cause Crohn’s disease?

Milk itself cannot cause Crohn’s disease. However, it is best to avoid dairy if you have Crohn’s disease and/or are lactose intolerant.

Can “elimination diets” cure Crohn’s disease?

Elimination diets have been found to help alleviate symptoms for people with Crohn’s disease. Try it under the supervision of your doctor or a nutritional counselor.

Can a liquid diet help me control Crohn’s disease symptoms?

A liquid diet might help. But consult your doctor to ensure that you are meeting your nutritional requirements. If you do eat solid food, make sure that your food is cooked properly. If you are drinking fruit juice, you can strain it to remove all the fiber that might irritate the stomach wall.

2 sources

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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