Your diet is an important part of managing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  Avoid foods that aggravate or promote inflammation. Knowing what to feed your body, especially during a flare up, can be very helpful in easing symptoms and feeling your best.  There is no “IBD diet” that will prevent symptoms or cause the disease to disappear. 

 

You may find it helpful to keep a food journal and look for patterns in what you eat followed by how you feel. (downloadable on the site).

 

When you are thinking about what you should eat, be careful of foods that are high in fiber, contain salt, dairy, or are very spicy.

 

Fiber, which often can help with regularity, can sometimes cause pain and may block your intestines, especially if you are not use to fiber.  High fiber foods include whole wheat bread, brown rice, popcorn, almonds, potatoes with their skin, carrots, etc.

 

Salt should be limited if you are taking a corticosteroid.  Salt retains water and causes swelling, which is also a side effect of steroids, and can cause some discomfort.

 

Dairy could cause difficulties. Having a sensitivity to dairy could cause diarrhea and stomach cramps (among other symptoms), which could further aggravate IBD symptoms that already cause intestinal pain and frequent bowel movements.

 

Dairy are milk by-products such as cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, etc.  This means being cautious eating pizza and avoiding foods likes milkshakes, parfaits, and mac-n-cheese.  If eating a burger, ask for it to be without the cheese.  Ask for water instead of a shake.  Eat pizza with the sauce and toppings, without the cheese.

 

Be cautious of eating spicy foods (like chili, Mexican food, wasabi, hot wings, etc.) as they can irritate your gut and cause painful bowel movements.

 

Unfortunately, there is no pre-formulated diet plan that works for every IBD patient. Dietary guidelines must be developed based on your very specific needs. These will take into account whether you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the severity and location of your disease, and complications, if any.

 

Keep a food diary of what you eat and determine what makes you feel good and what irritates your gut.