Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis
A healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone, but when you’re experiencing a symptom flare-up your food choices may need to be a little different than what you normally eat. There is no one diet that is best for those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, but below you will find some ideas for managing your flare.
- Eat small, “fist-sized” meals or snacks every 3-4 hours
- Stay away from greasy or fried food
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere
- Drink a lot of fluids – aim for at least eight cups of water per day
- Limit foods with insoluble fiber (nuts, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables, fruit with skins, and wheat bran)
- When you don’t have symptoms, include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Start new foods slowly and in small amounts.
Trigger foods are different from person to person, but common triggers include:
- Common food allergens (eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish)
- Insoluble fiber (nuts, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables, fruit with skins, and wheat bran)
- Lactose (milk sugar)
- Fatty foods
- Gluten (primarily found in foods made with wheat, rye, and barley)
- Sugar alcohols (often found in products labeled as “sugar free”, “no sugar added”, or “diet”)
- FODMAPS (Naturally occurring sugars that are hard for your body to break down)
Another promising area of research related to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is the use of probiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are used or taken for potential health benefits. Even though bacteria and other microorganisms are usually thought of as harmful “germs,” our bodies need certain microorganisms to function properly. For example, there are large amounts of bacteria in our digestive system that help us break down food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and make important vitamins.
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Probiotics can be found in certain fermented foods, like yogurt, or drinks, like kefir and kombucha. You can also take supplements that contain probiotics. For more specific information on which probiotic supplement to choose, check out the US Probiotics Guide.