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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Bowel Disease: Changing Your Diet
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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 folic acid.
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.
Current as of:
February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineArvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology
Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology
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