Diet & nutrition

Everyone needs to have a well-balanced diet for good health, vigour and healing. People with Crohn’s and colitis in particular must eat well in order to avoid problems such as malnutrition and dehydration. See our booklet called, “Food for Thought” for detailed information and tips, and check Canada’s Food Guide for more information on a well­-balanced diet.

There is no special diet for those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  Because everyone is different, (different tolerances, different likes and dislikes, different locations for their disease in the GI tract), nutritional approaches must be customized to fit YOU. 

There are, however, some general tips that you might find helpful. When you are in remission, you can best help yourself by eating a well-balanced diet. There is no need to avoid any particular kind of food or to follow a restrictive diet. However, there are certain foods that people find harder to digest, such as foods containing insoluble fibre, seeds and nuts, and raw fruits and veggies. 

During a flare-up, you may want to modify your diet to avoid aggravating an already sensitive gut. There are certain things that you can to do help you through an acute episode:

  • Identify trigger foods and eliminate them from your diet
  • Identify safe foods that cause the least irritation
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
  • Try lactose-free products, as many Crohn’s and colitis sufferers appear to be lactose intolerant
  • Reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners if they aggravate your gut
  • Avoid drinking a lot of fluid during a meal; try to wait until you are finished eating
  • Reduce fat intake as it might be hard to digest

To learn more about how diet and nutrition affect Crohn’s and colitis, check out our booklet “Food For Thought”.

Find out more about Probiotics and prebiotics. 

There are nutritional therapies that can help ensure you get adequate nutrients – find out more under treatments.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 150 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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