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5 types of foods to eat frequently when you have crohn's or colitis

5 types of foods to eat frequently when you have crohn's or colitis

Updated on
May 22, 2023
Medical reviewer
Medically reviewed by
Brittany Rogers, MS, RDN
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Written by
Romanwell Dietitians

What foods should you try to consume regularly when you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or microscopic colitis?

In this article, we share 5 types of foods that should be part of a well-rounded anti-inflammatory diet for IBD.

Keep in mind that during active disease (when you have inflammation), you may need to adjust the texture of certain foods to improve tolerance.

Fruits & vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory foods you’ll want to include in your diet.

Diet guidelines recommend people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis consume the same, if not more, fruits and vegetables than the general population.

If certain fruits and vegetables trigger your symptoms, you may need to adjust the texture by peeling, pureeing, or cooking them to improve tolerance. If you have stricturing Crohn’s disease, talk to your doctor and IBD dietitian to find out how to consume fruits and vegetables safely.

Resistant starches

Resistant starches are starchy foods that are cooked then cooled prior to eating them. Examples include leftover rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and oats.

The fiber in resistant starches becomes fuel for good gut bacteria and ultimately fuel for colon cells which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut. Try to include these foods in your diet regularly.

And don’t worry, you don’t need to eat them cold! You can absolutely reheat them prior to eating. 

Pulses

Pulses include beans, lentils, and peas (such as chickpeas and black eyed peas). Just like resistant starches, they confer an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Despite this benefit, pulses are commonly reported to be a trigger food for people with Crohn’s and colitis and may cause symptoms if you’re not used to eating them regularly.

If pulses cause symptoms for you, try modifying the texture by cooking or pureeing them, or start with a smaller portion size. Once your body gets used to consuming these foods, you can increase the portion size over time. 

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, and plant-based foods such as flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts.

To improve tolerance to walnuts, try a smooth, simple ingredient walnut butter, or make your own! If you want to add chia seeds into your diet, start with a small portion and slowly increase from there. 

Fermented foods

Fermented foods may play a role in increasing microbiome diversity and decreasing certain markers of inflammation.ď‚Ž Examples of fermented foods that may be better tolerated include plain nonfat yogurt or plain nonfat kefir.

Key Takeaway

Five types of foods to eat regularly when you have Crohn’s or colitis include fruits and vegetables, resistant starches, pulses, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and fermented foods.

These foods are thought to confer an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut and promote the growth of good gut bacteria. If any of these foods trigger your symptoms, try modifying the texture or portion size to improve tolerance.

Get Support

If you need help integrating these foods into your diet without triggering symptoms, we can help! 

‍Reach out to learn how our IBD nutrition counseling programs can help you reduce your symptoms and expand your diet to include the foods you love.

No matter what type of IBD you have or if you're in a flare or in remission, it's possible to eat a broad and enjoyable diet without triggering your symptoms. Find out how today.

References

  1. Levine A, Rhodes JM, Lindsay JO, Abreu MT, Kamm MA, Gibson PR, Gasche C, Silverberg MS, Mahadevan U, Boneh RS, Wine E, Damas OM, Syme G, Trakman GL, Yao CK, Stockhamer S, Hammami MB, Garces LC, Rogler G, Koutroubakis IE, Ananthakrishnan AN, McKeever L, Lewis JD. Dietary Guidance From the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 May;18(6):1381-1392. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2020.01.046. Epub 2020 Feb 15. PMID: 32068150.
  2. Wastyk HC, Fragiadakis GK, Perelman D, Dahan D, Merrill BD, Yu FB, Topf M, Gonzalez CG, Van Treuren W, Han S, Robinson JL, Elias JE, Sonnenburg ED, Gardner CD, Sonnenburg JL. Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status. Cell. 2021 Aug 5;184(16):4137-4153.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.06.019. Epub 2021 Jul 12. PMID: 34256014; PMCID: PMC9020749.

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