10 Foods to Eat & 10 Foods to Avoid with Crohn’s Disease

by Ella

Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Managing this chronic condition involves not only medical intervention but also careful attention to dietary choices. Understanding which foods to incorporate and which to avoid is crucial for maintaining digestive health and preventing flare-ups. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best foods to eat and those to avoid when living with Crohn’s disease.

Foods to Eat for Crohn’s Disease

1. Low-Fiber Foods:


For individuals with Crohn’s disease, a low-fiber diet is often recommended, especially during periods of inflammation. Opt for well-cooked or peeled fruits and vegetables, as these are easier to digest. Examples include bananas, melons, cooked carrots, and skinless potatoes. Cooked or canned fruits and vegetables may be gentler on the digestive system than raw ones.


2. Lean Proteins:


Incorporating lean protein sources is essential for individuals with Crohn’s disease. Choose easily digestible proteins such as poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu. These options provide necessary nutrients without adding excessive fat, which can be harder to digest.


3. White Grains:

Whole grains can be challenging for those with Crohn’s disease due to their high fiber content. Instead, opt for refined grains like white rice, white bread, and pasta made from refined flour. These options are gentler on the digestive system and can help provide energy without exacerbating symptoms.

4. Low-Fat Dairy:

Dairy products can be a good source of calcium and vitamin D, but individuals with Crohn’s disease may struggle with lactose intolerance. Choose low-fat or lactose-free dairy options such as yogurt, lactose-free milk, and hard cheeses. These alternatives are easier on the stomach while still providing essential nutrients.

5. Nut Butters and Seeds:

Nut butters, such as almond or peanut butter, can be a nutritious addition to the diet, offering healthy fats and protein. Seeds, when ground, can also be included in moderation. Chia seeds and flaxseeds, for example, provide omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Ensure proper chewing or choose seedless varieties to minimize digestive strain.

6. Well-Cooked Vegetables:

Vegetables are a crucial part of a balanced diet, even for those with Crohn’s disease. Opt for well-cooked, soft vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, and green beans. Steaming or sautéing can make them easier to digest. Removing seeds and skins from vegetables can further reduce the risk of irritation.

7. Fruits without Skin:

While fruits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, the skins can be challenging for individuals with Crohn’s disease to digest. Choose fruits without skins, such as peeled apples, pears, and seedless grapes. Applesauce and fruit juices can also be good alternatives.

8. Probiotic-Rich Foods:

Probiotics can promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, potentially reducing inflammation. Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt with live cultures, kefir, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi in your diet. However, introduce these foods gradually to monitor their impact on your digestive system.

9. Nutrient-Dense Soups:

Soups made from easily digestible ingredients can provide essential nutrients without straining the digestive system. Opt for broths, pureed vegetable soups, or bone broth. Avoid adding heavy cream or excessive spices that may trigger discomfort.

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and may benefit individuals with Crohn’s disease. Include sources of omega-3s, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts, in your diet. Consider consulting with a healthcare professional about omega-3 supplements.

Foods to Avoid with Crohn’s Disease

1. High-Fiber Foods:

High-fiber foods can exacerbate symptoms for those with Crohn’s disease. Limit the intake of whole grains, bran, nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables. While these foods are generally healthy, they can be challenging to digest during flare-ups.

2. Dairy Products (If Lactose Intolerant):

Individuals with Crohn’s disease may experience lactose intolerance due to inflammation in the intestines. If lactose intolerance is a concern, avoid or limit dairy products that contain lactose. Opt for lactose-free alternatives or take lactase supplements to aid digestion.

3. Spicy and High-Fat Foods:

Spicy foods and high-fat foods can irritate the digestive tract, leading to discomfort and potential flare-ups. Limit the intake of spicy dishes, fried foods, and high-fat meats. Instead, choose lean protein sources and use herbs and mild spices for flavor.

4. Caffeine and Carbonated Drinks:

Caffeine and carbonated beverages can stimulate the digestive system and contribute to gastrointestinal discomfort. Limit the consumption of coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks, as these can potentially worsen symptoms. Opt for herbal teas or water as hydrating alternatives.

5. High-Sugar Foods:

High-sugar foods and beverages can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and contribute to inflammation. Reduce the intake of sugary snacks, sodas, and desserts. Instead, choose natural sweeteners in moderation, such as honey or maple syrup.

6. Tough Meats:

Tough cuts of meat, especially those with gristle or connective tissue, can be difficult to digest. Opt for tender cuts of meat and choose cooking methods such as roasting, grilling, or slow cooking to make the meat more tender.

7. Raw Vegetables and Fruits with Skin:

Raw vegetables and fruits with skins can be harsh on the digestive system. Avoid salads with raw vegetables and choose well-cooked or peeled alternatives. Removing seeds and skins from fruits can also minimize the risk of irritation.

8. Alcohol:

Alcohol can irritate the digestive tract and contribute to inflammation. Limit or avoid alcohol consumption, especially during flare-ups. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and pay attention to how your body reacts.

9. Certain Legumes:

While legumes are a good source of protein and fiber, some individuals with Crohn’s disease may find them difficult to digest. Limit or avoid beans, lentils, and chickpeas, especially if they contribute to gas and bloating.

10. Processed Foods and Additives:

Processed foods often contain additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners that can exacerbate symptoms. Limit the consumption of processed and packaged foods, opting for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

See Also: 10 Foods to Avoid & 10 Foods to Eat After Colon Surgery


Living with Crohn’s disease requires a thoughtful and individualized approach to dietary choices. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for individuals with this condition, understanding which foods to include and which to avoid can play a significant role in managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. It is crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals, including a registered dietitian, to create a personalized nutrition plan that addresses the specific needs and challenges of living with Crohn’s disease. By making informed and mindful choices, individuals can navigate their dietary journey with greater confidence and work towards achieving a better quality of life.



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