Updated: Nov 14, 2020
November is Crohn’s and colitis awareness month! You may ask what is Crohn’s and colitis? They are two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These diseases are involved with inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and can affect many important bodily processes such as digesting food, absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste in a healthy way (3). So, let’s focus on nutrition and what is recommended when one has IBD. The key here is that IBD and nutrition is quite individualized. What works for one person may not work for another. Some common gastrointestinal symptoms one may experience when they consume food and beverages that upset their GIT are diarrhea, constipation, fatigue/low energy, abdominal pain, bloating and cramping (2).
There are some common trigger foods that can worsen one’s flare up or cause relapse. Those foods are corn/corn products, whole nuts, raw vegetables, spicy foods, oranges/orange juice, fried and fatty foods including high animal protein, sports drinks, sweetened beverages, alcohol and coffee (1). On the other hand, some foods that might be easier to digest are yogurt, white rice and bananas (1). It is important to seek these food eliminations with the guidance of your dietitian and to only avoid major food groups while in a flare up. Once in remission it is important to return to a more balanced diet.
There are a few different diets one can try to help with their IBD symptoms and inflammation. They are a Low FODMAP diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Specific Carbohydrate diet, a paleo diet and Crohn’s Disease Exclusion Diet (CDED) (2). You may be wondering how do you know which diet is best for you? Well, one would have to look at their symptoms and decide which diet would be best suited for them and their disease. From there you can experiment with the diet and start the process!
Some foods may work for you but not others. The key is to experiment and figure out a diet that works best for you to reach and maintain remission. But remember, find a diet that still allows you to enjoy what you eat!
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. 2019a. Eating and Drinking with IBD. https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/About-Crohn-s-Colitis/IBD-Journey/Diet-and-Nutrition-in-IBD/Eating-and-Drinking-with-IBD#trigger-and-safe-foods
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. 2019b. Types of Diets in IBD. https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/About-Crohn-s-Colitis/IBD-Journey/Diet-and-Nutrition-in-IBD/Types-of-Diets-in-IBD
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. 2019c. What are Crohn’s and Colitis? https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/About-Crohn-s-Colitis/What-are-Crohns-and-Colitis