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Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's and Diet

Let's Talk About Crohn's Disease and Diet

Ironically, although you can’t exactly eat your way out of Crohn’s, you can actually help yourself feel better with a few easy adjustments to your diet. Here’s how.

    Our Pro PanelCrohn's Disease Diet

    We went to some of the nation’s top Crohn’s disease experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Stacy Cavagnaro, M.S., R.D., C.N.S.C. head shot.

    Stacy Cavagnaro, M.S., R.D.Advanced Practice Dietitian and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

    Cleveland Clinic
    Cleveland, OH
    Jami Kinnucan, M.D.

    Jami Kinnucan, M.D.Gastroenterologist, IBD Specialist, and Assistant Professor of Medicine

    University of Michigan School of Medicine
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Neilanjan Nandi

    Neilanjan Nandi, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Drexel University School of Medicine
    Philadelphia
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    Frequently Asked QuestionsCrohn's Disease Diet

    Is alcohol off-limits with Crohn’s disease?

    Some people are able to enjoy moderate amounts of alcohol, while others find it aggravates their symptoms. It’s also possible that you may be able to handle, say, wine, but not beer or cocktails. One thing’s for sure: You definitely don’t want to experiment with alcohol during a flare. Save the occasional drink for when you’re in remission.

    Should I take probiotics?

    In theory, probiotics should be helpful because they improve the balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract. But research is lacking for Crohn’s disease. Rather than spending a lot on probiotic supplements, experts advise eating foods that contain them such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut.

    Can I drink a dietary supplement during a flare?

    Yes, high-calorie, nutrient-packed drinks such as Ensure and Boost can be helpful, but always check with your doctor or dietitian first about which ones and how often you should have them. These beverages can give the intestines a much-needed rest from breaking down whole foods as well as provide the extra nutrition you need.

    Should I try a special IBD diet?

    That depends on several factors, including whether or not you have nutritional deficiencies. Some of the diets are pretty restrictive, so it may not be smart to eliminate certain food groups. They can also be challenging to follow. Your doctor and dietitian can help you decide what’s right for your current circumstances.

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood is a award-winning freelance writer and former magazine editor specializing in health, nutrition, wellness, and parenting.