Crohn's Disease and Diet

Foods do not cause Crohn’s disease and no special diet has been proven effective. Don’t get sucked in by “Dr. Google” However, certain foods may cause flare-ups in Crohn’s disease symptoms. Some common symptom-provoking foods are dairy, high fiber grains, alcohol and hot spices.

Research has been unsuccessful at determining what specific foods are the culprit for everyone with this condition. Bottom line: there’s no one diet to alleviate Crohn’s disease. Yet, important steps in treatment for Crohn’s include keeping a detailed food diary, avoiding foods that cause symptoms and consulting with a registered dietitian experienced in digestive health. There are no supplements or probiotics that will “cure” or even treat IBD. The gut symptoms are a result of the disease NOT the cause. However good diet CAN help you feel better

Nutrient deficiency is common concern since inflammation from this condition interferes with nutrient absorption. As a result, people with Crohn’s disease need a nutrient-rich diet with adequate calories, protein and healthy fats.

Steroid medications often prescribed for Crohn’s disease can increase osteoporosis risk, so sufficient calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K are needed for bone health. Long-term steroid use can also cause deficiencies in vitamin C, vitamin B12, folic acid, zinc and selenium. (not to mention fry your adrenals and give you a “moon Face”


  • If you have Crohn’s disease, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can work with you to develop a personalized eating plan.
  • Eat small meals or snack every 3 to 4 hours. Stay hydrated. Drink small amounts of water throughout the day.
  • During periods when you don’t have symptoms, include whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables in your eating plan. Start new foods one at a time, in small amounts.
  • When you have symptoms, such as diarrhea or abdominal pain, follow the recommended food list provided by your registered dietitian. Foods to avoid may include high fiber foods, raw and gas-producing vegetables, most raw fruits and beverages with caffeine.
  • Your physician and registered dietitian may recommend foods with added probiotics and prebiotics, (sauerkraut, yogurt etc) as well as dietary supplements such as iron, calcium, vitamin D, folate, zinc and vitamin B12 to prevent or treat deficiencies.