The foods you can eat when you're doing well with your Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and the foods you eat when your intestine is sore and you are having nausea, diarrhea or bleeding can be very different.

When you are well, studies show that eating more fiber helps to keep you in remission, but you'll want to eat a low fiber diet when you are having diarrhea, blood or nausea because the fiber may irritate your system.

There are other foods everyone with IBD should limit or avoid most or all of the time. And there are others that may affect you in particular.

Foods to Limit or Avoid

Emulsifiers are what keeps the oily parts of foods mixed with the rest of the food.  Some research suggests that many of these chemicals, found in processed foods can damage the intestine.  

Maltodextrin comes from starch and is often added to improve the texture and sweetness of foods or to make them last longer. Some research has found that maltodextrin can change the balance of bacteria in the intestine (microbiome) and it may allow harmful ones to grow.  

Salt retains water. For those on steroids, in particular, salty foods can cause fluid retention and with it, extra weight gain and high blood pressure.

  • Corn and Popcorn

The thick skins on corn and popcorn kernels don't digest well. They seem to bother and cause cramping for many.  

  • Nuts, peanuts and seeds  

Nuts and seeds are difficult to digest, especially during a flare. Nut butters are an exception since the peanut, almond, cashew and sunflower butter are already broken down and easier to digest

Alcohol in quantity—more than a few drinks, can cause cramping and diarrhea. They are dehydrating and are often accompanied by salty foods, nuts or popcorn

Foods That May Bother You

Many of those with IBD also have a problem digesting lactose (lactose intolerance). So they should avoid dairy products and cheeses or products made from goats milk.

Spicy foods can trigger cramping and diarrhea for those who have an irritable bowel (IBS) along with their IBD, especially during a flare.

  • Greasy Foods

Greasy and fried foods have fats that can trigger irritable bowel (IBS) symptoms of cramping and diarrhea for some IBD patients

  • Gassy (Cruciferous) Vegetables

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and onions can cause bloating, cramping and gas.

  • Raw Fruits and Vegetables

These healthy foods can become troublesome during a flare, trying to get through a narrowed or irritated area. 

Gluten is a particular problem for those patients who have both IBD and Celiac disease. Yes, that double whammy does happen, but you may not know it—so testing should be done <<link-N4K celiac  testing>>. There are also some people who have problems with whole grain or high fiber breads because of the fiber; and some who have an allergy to wheat or a sensitivity to grain products that contain gluten.  

You May Have A Particular Trigger not listed. Every case of IBD is different so it is important to get to know your disease. Keep a symptom diary and note when you have pain, diarrhea, blood, bloating or other problems and then write down what you ate beforehand and how much. Also think about any emotional factors that were going on. Then look at your notes when you've had several episodes to see if there's a pattern and review it with your doctor or a dietitian. They may see something you don't. It might be eating not fully ripe bananas in the morning or certain spices, oils or food groups that seem to trigger your symptoms. Then try avoiding those foods or ingredients to see it that makes a difference.

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