8 Healthy Eating Tips for Crohn's Disease

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jane Soung on June 5, 2021
  • Optimize Your Nutrition
    Optimize Your Nutrition
    Eating well is especially important if you have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's. Poor nutrient absorption, decreased appetite, and bouts of diarrhea can make getting good nutrition seem challenging at times. Finding the right variety of foods from all food groups—and learning those to avoid—can help optimize your nutrition while minimizing symptoms.
  • Man carrying full shopping basket in grocery store
    Reduce Symptoms, Promote Healing
    You might be surprised to learn that there's no evidence that certain foods cause Crohn's disease. But once you've been diagnosed, paying special attention to what you eat can go a long way toward managing flare-ups, promoting healing, and reducing annoying digestive symptoms.
  • lose-up-of-three-white-red-rose-wine-glasses
    Avoid Certain Foods During Flare-Ups
    Crohn's flares are never fun. Steering clear of certain foods may make them a little easier on your system. Things such as bulky grains, high-fiber foods, hot spices, greasy or fried foods, alcohol, and milk products may increase diarrhea and cramping during a flare.
  • Mixed race woman eating salad
    Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
    Another way to battle the abdominal discomfort of flare-ups is to eat smaller meals more frequently. Think five small meals (fist-sized portions) every three to four hours instead of the traditional three large meals a day. Using smaller dishes and bowls may help you adjust to eating less.
  • Consider a Low-Fiber Diet
    Consider a Low-Fiber Diet
    This diet may be helpful for Crohn's patients who develop a stricture, or narrowing, in their small intestine. Easy-to-digest foods that slow down your bowel movements include everyday foods like cooked vegetables, fruits, white breads, and meats. The goal is to eat less than 10 to 15 grams of fiber each day.
  • Get Enough Fluids
    Get Enough Fluids
    Fluids are also important for optimal nutrition. Dehydration from chronic diarrhea can have serious effects on kidney function and create a feeling of weakness. Aim to drink one-half ounce for every pound of body weight each day. So if you weigh 140 pounds, try to drink at least 70 ounces a day.
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    Consider Vitamins and Supplements
    If you're not getting enough calories, vitamins, and minerals, your doctor may suggest a supplement based on the extent and location of your disease. Supplements can range from vitamins, such as B-12 and D, to high-calorie liquids. It's best to take vitamin supplements only on your doctor's advice.
  • Be Flexible
    Be Flexible
    There's no magic eating plan that works for everyone with Crohn's. Your diet should be tailored just for you. While eating patterns will likely change as your disease changes, consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet can go a long way in making the most of living with your disease.
8 Healthy Eating Tips for Crohn's Disease

About The Author

  1. Crohn’s Disease. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. February 2006. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/crohns/Crohns.pdf
  2. About Crohn's Disease. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/info/about/crohns
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  7. Corticosteroids. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Last updated: January 16, 2009. http://www.ccfa.org/info/treatment/corticosteroids
  8. Immunomodulators. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. January 16, 2009. http://www.ccfa.org/info/treatment/immunomodulators
  9. Types of Medications. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/info/treatment/medications
  10. Facts About Crohn’s Disease. FDA. May 2, 2008. http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/crohnsdisease050208.html
  11. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. American Gastroenterological Association. April 2008. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease
  12. Low-Residue Fiber Diet. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. U.S. National Library of Medicine. November 11, 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000200.htm
  13. Just Enough for You: About Food Portions. Weight-Control Information Network. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. June 2009. http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/just_enough.htm
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 5
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