Diet and nutrition

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet may help you to reduce the symptoms of Crohn's disease, replace any lost nutrients and promote the healing process. However, you should always check with your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your diet.

  • A healthy diet should include a variety of foods from all food groups. Meat, fish, poultry and dairy products provide protein. Fruit and vegetables provide valuable vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as carbohydratesA group of compounds that are an important energy source, including sugars and starch. that are also found in bread, cereals and starches. Foods that are high in fatOne of the three main food constituents (with carbohydrate and protein), and the main form in which energy is stored in the body. may cause digestive problems such as gas and diarrhoeaWhen bowel evacuation happens more often than usual, or where the faeces are abnormally liquid.
  • You may need to use dietary supplements of vitamins and minerals
  • If you are lactose intolerant, you should restrict your intake of milk and other lactose-containing foods or use special products that have been formulated for people who are lactose intolerant
  • When you have a flare-upTerm to describe an episode when the symptoms of a condition worsen., bland, soft foods cause less discomfort than spicy or high-fibre foods
  • Small, frequent meals are recommended
  • If you have obstructive symptoms due to a stricture causing partial blockage of the intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus., you may be advised to have a low-residue diet which avoids much of the fibrous, non-digestible foods.

In children or teenagers with Crohn's disease, frequent contact with a dietitianA specialist in food and nutrition. can be especially useful. This is often recommended by doctors as a way of allowing younger patients to have some say in the day-to-day management of their disease and problems.

Read about the Nutrition in IBD.