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Food & Nutrition|Issues & Conditions

Crohn’s Disease: What Should I Eat?

Navigating Crohn’s disease can be tough, especially when it comes to your diet. Certain foods that you may eat between flare-ups could be the worst for managing symptoms when you do experience them. We’re here to help you navigate it all.

What should I eat between Crohn’s disease flare-ups?

Let’s be clear: There’s no one way to prevent Crohn’s disease. However, if you have been diagnosed with this IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder), there are ways to minimize and manage the extent of your flare-ups when you’re not dealing with them—mainly by making sure your diet keeps you nourished with the necessary nutrients so flare-ups aren’t as tough on your body. 

One thing to keep in mind: When you have Crohn’s disease, it’s helpful to introduce new foods to your diet slowly, and to stay hydrated with water, broth, tomato juice, and rehydration drinks. 

Here are some of the nutrients you should eat to reduce the risk of a Crohn’s disease flare-up (unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise):

  • Protein from lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, or tofu
  • Fiber from oat bran, beans, barley, nuts, whole grains, fiber supplements, or fruits and veggies (remove the skins or peels if you find that your body isn’t a fan)
  • Calcium from collard greens, kefir, or milk (lactose-free, if needed)
  • Probiotics from yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, or tempeh

One thing to keep in mind: When you have Crohn’s disease, it’s helpful to introduce new foods to your diet slowly, and to stay hydrated with water, broth, tomato juice, and rehydration drinks. 

What food should I avoid during a Crohn’s disease flare-up?

Here’s where things get tricky. Some of the foods we named above can worsen flare-ups as they’re happening. That’s why timing is important when you’re navigating your diet with Crohn’s disease. 

These are foods that you should avoid during a Crohn’s disease flare-up:

  • Soda
  • Sweets
  • Caffeinated food and beverages (that includes coffee and chocolate—sorry)
  • High-fiber foods
  • Fried foods
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Raw vegetables and fruits
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
Timing is important when you’re navigating your diet with Crohn’s disease. 

What food should I eat during a Crohn’s disease flare-up?

Foods you should eat during a Crohn’s disease flare-up are low in fiber, fat, and—unfortunately, in some cases—flavor. No one wants bland food but, hey, if it prevents you from feeling worse, it’s a worthy sacrifice! 

Here are some foods you can eat during a Crohn’s disease flare-up:

  • Steamed or broiled fish
  • Potatoes without the skin
  • Bananas
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Cooked eggs or egg substitutes
  • White bread 
  • White rice
  • Applesauce
  • Peanut butter (not the crunchy kind)
  • Refined pasta

Want to learn more about Crohn’s disease? Check out our quick explainer here.

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