Crohn's Disease Diet: What to Eat During a Flare-Up
For those with Crohn’s disease, diet restrictions and monitoring are a part of daily life. Within the GI Alliance, we understand the importance of keeping your digestive system healthy and happy to keep symptoms at bay. No matter how cautious, Crohn’s disease patients will still face digestive “flare-ups” from time to time. When these flare-ups happen, it can be challenging to decide which foods are still suitable to eat. While everyone is different, here is a list of mild foods to start with that will help soothe your intestinal inflammation, while still providing your body with all the nutrients it needs.
- Low-fiber Cereal. High-fiber foods simply worsen your intestinal irritation. However, fortified low-fiber cereals are gentle on your body and still provide you with critical nutrients. Aim for cereals with 1 gram or less of fiber per serving.
- Yogurt. This tasty treat is chock-full of probiotics that provide you with multiple health benefits. Research suggests that certain probiotics found in yogurt help remedy Crohn’s symptoms, and yogurt will give you a nice calcium boost too. Look for yogurts that contain “live and active cultures,” as not all yogurts contain probiotics.
- Fatty Fish. Fish that contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are your best bet when it comes to digestive relief. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that will help calm your stomach, while the fish itself provides you with high levels of protein.
- Bananas. Bananas are significantly lower in fiber than other fruits like apples, so stick to these during flare-ups. You may also try canned or cooked skinless and seedless fruit, which will likely be easier to digest than a high-fiber alternative.
- Potatoes. These starchy veggies can be a lifesaver during a Crohn’s flare-up. Just be sure you avoid potato skins, as they are high in fiber and may cause digestive distress. Bake or roast white or sweet potatoes and scoop out the middle for a simple, delicious meal that won’t leave you feeling under the weather.
- Water. Though it’s not technically a food, water is an integral part of a healthy diet. A low-fiber diet may require you to drink more water than usual to keep your digestive tract running smoothly. Furthermore, sufferers of chronic diarrhea should monitor their water intake to prevent dehydration.
- High-calorie Liquids. Fortified beverages provide a necessary nutritional boost and give your bowels some rest during a Crohn’s flare-up. Your doctor may even suggest implementing a liquid diet during your flare and then easing back into eating solid foods.
- Vitamin Supplements. There is a high possibility that your body isn't absorbing all of the vitamins it needs through food alone. Over 50% of people with Crohn’s disease have some degree of vitamin D deficiency, so your gastroenterologist may recommend taking a supplement. Additionally, consider a B-12 supplement, as many Crohn’s patients are unable to properly absorb it through their diet.