🌟 Now accepting insurance! Get started



5 things you can do to reduce your risk for Crohn's and colitis flares

5 things you can do to reduce your risk for Crohn's and colitis flares

Updated on
November 12, 2023
Medical reviewer
Medically reviewed by
Brittany Rogers, MS, RDN
hand with heart icon
Written by
Romanwell Dietitians

While it’s not always possible to prevent a Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis flare, implementing certain diet and lifestyle changes may help reduce your likelihood of experiencing symptoms.

In this post, we share five evidence-based ways you can reduce your risk for future flares. 

1. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables

Research suggests that Crohn’s disease patients who continued to consume lots of fruits and vegetables were actually 40% less likely to flare compared to those who consumed less fruits and vegetables.

Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables has also been associated with lower disease activity in people with ulcerative colitis.

You may need to adjust the type, texture, and amount of fruits/vegetables in your diet to improve tolerance.

Your IBD registered dietitian can help you to sustainably incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet without triggering symptoms.


2. Increase the variety of protein options throughout the week

Research suggests that ulcerative colitis patients who eat red meat (pork, beef, lamb, etc.), or processed meats (bacon, lunch meat, hot dogs, etc) on a daily basis were 5 times more likely to flare than those who had it once a week or less.

Instead of focusing on restricting red and processed meat from your diet, try adding in a greater variety of protein options such as fatty fish, tofu, nut butters, plain non-fat greek yogurt, lean chicken breast, eggs, etc.

3. Practice mindfulness-based activities regularly

One study found that patients taught mindfulness-based interventions in 8 sessions, had significantly lower fecal calprotectin and C-reactive protein levels 6 months after the intervention.

4. Try gut-directed hypnotherapy

Research suggests that gut-directed hypnotherapy may prolong periods of remission in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and decrease the likelihood of flares.

5. Take your medications as prescribed

Research suggests that those who don’t adhere to their medications are 2.8 to 5.0 times more likely to flare than those who take their medications regularly.

If you’re unsure whether a medication is working for you, or are experiencing side effects from your medication, talk to your doctor before making any changes.


We can help you reduce your symptoms without a restrictive diet
Pay as little as $0 per appointment with insurance
brittany rogers rd


  1. Brotherton CS, Martin CA, Long MD, Kappelman MD, Sandler RS. Avoidance of Fiber Is Associated With Greater Risk of Crohn's Disease Flare in a 6-Month Period. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Aug;14(8):1130-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.12.029. Epub 2015 Dec 31. PMID: 26748217; PMCID: PMC4930425.
  2. Magee EA, Edmond LM, Tasker SM, Kong SC, Curno R, Cummings JH. Associations between diet and disease activity in ulcerative colitis patients using a novel method of data analysis. Nutr J. 2005 Feb 10;4:7. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-4-7. PMID: 15705205; PMCID: PMC549081.
  3. 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.
  4. González-Moret R, Cebolla A, Cortés X, Baños RM, Navarrete J, de la Rubia JE, Lisón JF, Soria JM. The effect of a mindfulness-based therapy on different biomarkers among patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a randomised controlled trial. Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 8;10(1):6071. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63168-4. PMID: 32269278; PMCID: PMC7142151.
  5. Keefer L, Taft TH, Kiebles JL, Martinovich Z, Barrett TA, Palsson OS. Gut-directed hypnotherapy significantly augments clinical remission in quiescent ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Oct;38(7):761-71. doi: 10.1111/apt.12449. Epub 2013 Aug 19. PMID: 23957526; PMCID: PMC4271841.
  6. Szigethy E. Hypnotherapy for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Across the Lifespan. Am J Clin Hypn. 2015 Jul;58(1):81-99. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2015.1040112. PMID: 26046718.
  7. Chan W, Chen A, Tiao D, Selinger C, Leong R. Medication adherence in inflammatory bowel disease. Intest Res. 2017 Oct;15(4):434-445. doi: 10.5217/ir.2017.15.4.434. Epub 2017 Oct 23. PMID: 29142511; PMCID: PMC5683974.

Download our Flare Fighter Recipe Book

IBD friendly recipe book - Romanwell

Free Recipe Book for IBD

  • Flare-friendly recipes that tend to be well tolerated by most
  • Quick, simple, and delicious meals
  • Ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert
  • Written by the IBD dietitians at Romanwell

Download our free IBD Starter Kit

IBD starter kit Romanwell

An essential self-advocacy guide for IBD

  • Essential vocabulary to know
  • Who should be on your IBD care team & questions to ask them
  • Nutrition-related labs & how to request them
  • When to ask for a referral and to whom

Work with an IBD dietitian

Schedule a call to start working with a Romanwell IBD dietitian today

Get started

Sign up for our newsletter

Ready to get started?

Schedule a call to start working with one of our IBD dietitians today

Get started