Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Bowel Disease: Changing Your Diet
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
are types of
inflammatory bowel disease. They cause inflammation
and sores (ulcers) in the
digestive tract. This can lead to symptoms such as
diarrhea, belly pain, loss of appetite, fever, bloody stools, and weight loss.
Often symptoms are worse after eating.
If you have an
inflammatory bowel disease, it may be hard to get important nutrients such as
vitamins, minerals, and protein. Your intestines may not be able to take all
the nutrients from the food you eat. You may lose nutrients through diarrhea.
This can lead to problems such as anemia or low levels of vitamins, such as
vitamin B12 and
To control their symptoms,
some people eat only bland foods, like pasta, and they avoid fruits and
vegetables. But you need to eat a variety of foods to get the nutrients you
need for good health. This topic can help you learn more about how to eat
so you can manage your symptoms but still get the nutrition you need.
No one diet is right for everyone with an inflammatory bowel disease.
Foods that bother one person may not bother another. Your diet has to be
tailored for you. But the following basic ideas can help you feel better and
get the nutrition you need.
For many people, common
problem foods include:
Find out your problem foods by keeping a food diary.
As soon as you know what foods make your symptoms worse, your doctor or
dietitian can help you plan a diet that avoids problem foods but gives you
plenty of nutrients and enough calories to keep you at a healthy weight.
To make a food diary, get a small notebook and keep it with you. Make
notes after each meal or snack.
If you notice certain foods make your symptoms worse, talk
to your doctor about these foods at your next visit.
During a flare-up, avoid
or reduce foods that make symptoms worse. But instead of cutting out a whole
group of high-nutrient foods, try replacing them with healthy choices.
Your body may not be able to absorb all the nutrients
it needs from the food you eat. To stay as healthy as you can:
Other Works Consulted
Decher N, Krenitsky JS (2012). Medical nutrition therapy for lower gastrointestinal tract disorders. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 610–644. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.