• Allison Fahrenbach

10 Foods to Eat and 10 to Avoid If You Have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)


What you eat can help alleviate or worsen your IBD symptoms

10 Foods to AVOID if You Have IBD

Common symptoms triggered by the following foods include gas, bloating, discomfort, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.


1. Dairy – Dairy foods can cause bloating and gas, which can aggravate symptoms of IBD. It’s also not uncommon to have IBD and to be lactose intolerant.

2. Nuts – Nuts are hard to digest and can irritate the lining of your intestines. Substitute creamy nut butters instead like almond butter or peanut butter.

3. Seeds – Strawberries and raspberries, or breads with seeds, can create problems. Seeds act almost like sandpaper in your intestines. They also don’t get digested fully and can cause diarrhea.

4. Popcorn – Corn is one of the hardest of all grains to digest because of its high fiber content. Popcorn, in particular, often has hulls and shells that aren’t completely digested and can rub against the intestines further exacerbating digestive issues.

5. Raw fruits and vegetables – In their raw form, fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, and cellulose (the walls of plants) which can be difficult to digest. The best thing to do is lightly cook vegetables, or puree them. With fruit look for pureed fruit or mashed fruit (like mashed banana for instance). Some people can tolerate raw fruits with their skins removed.

6. Carbonated beverages–The carbonation can add extra, unwanted gas to your digestive system due to the pockets of air that build up.

7. Coffee, chocolate and caffeinated drinks – Caffeine stimulates the intestines and can worsen diarrhea. Typically SMALL amounts are fine, but watch overall caffeine consumption

8. Spicy foods – Too much spice or food that is spicy hot can sometimes cause discomfort.

9. Greasy and fatty foods –The fat in these foods is often not fully absorbed in the small intestine, leading to cramping or loose stools. This can often mean having to watch and/or reduce OVERALL fat intake as well- even from "healthy fats".

10. Alcohol – Consuming alcohol can wreck havoc in your digestive system. I ALWAYS recommend a client with IBS/IBD eliminate alochol consumption completely if possible. In addition to causing digestive issues it can dry you out and prevent proper rehydration, which can ALSO worsen symptoms and cause constipation. Alcohol also sometimes interferes with medications being taken for Crohn’s or Colitis.


10 Foods to EAT if You Have IBD The goal with a diet for IBD is to reduce inflammation and re-establish healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. Here are some of the foods that can help.

1. Potatoes (white and sweet, skins removed), white rice and pasta – Smooth bland foods like these tend to be easier on our digestive systems.

2. Oatmeal – Oatmeal has soluble fiber which absorbs water and passes more slowly through your digestive tract. That makes it gentler on your digestive system.

3. Almond milk – Made from almonds, this type of milk is safe for those who are lactose intolerant. It also is fortified to contain as much calcium as regular milk.

4. Eggs or egg whites – These are easily digested proteins.

5. Pureed vegetable soups – Because the vegetables are cooked and pureed, they are easier to digest. However, if possible, avoid vegetables known to produce excess gas, particularly anything cruciferous such as brussel sprouts or broccoli and legumes like beans.

6. Salmon & white fish – Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which help to battle inflammation. And fish, in general is a very easily digestible lean source of protein. Fish flesh breaks down inside the body differently than mammal flesh which is requires a great deal more of digestive effort.

7. Bananas and papayas – These soft tropical fruits are easy to digest and high in nutrients.

8. Poultry – Chicken and turkey are high protein foods that are easy to digest.

9. Avocado – The soluble fiber in an avocado is digestion-friendly.

10. Butter lettuce – This type of lettuce is more tender and digestible than other darker salad greens. If you want a salad, choose butter lettuce or a combination of butter and iceberg which has a high water content and low fiber content.


Whenever you are attempting to heal the digestive system, or pinpoint food triggers, I suggest you keep a food journal to track correlation between negative digestive symptoms and foods consumed. Eating small meals or snacks every three to four hours instead of three big meals a day can also help minimize symptoms. Then, follow a diet that avoids foods that are difficult to digest for people with IBD, just remember that severe elimination diets, while useful for digestive healing are NOT meant to be followed indefinitely. When you begin to pinpoint your triggers and symptoms diminish, you should begin to SLOWLY re-introduce foods, one at a time in small amounts to assess tolerance. For help with an IBD diet, or for guidance on how you can use nutrition to help heal your digestive distress: Allisonmoyer@live.com

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