Crohn’s disease affects everyone differently — and that means that there are no hard-and-fast rules about what foods to eat or avoid. The most important part of figuring out your Crohn’s diet is evaluating your own experience with certain foods. Start by tracking meals in a food diary to identify foods that trigger your Crohn’s symptoms, then start eliminating the foods you can’t tolerate.
Next, find nutrient-rich foods that you can digest easily. The key is to aim for a well-balanced diet that promotes optimal health. Looking for suggestions? Try these 10 easy-to-digest options.
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, which may help reduce diarrhea by absorbing water in the gut and delaying the emptying of the intestines, says Keren Gilbert, RD, founder and president of Decision Nutrition, PLLC.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, can actually irritate the intestine. Found in some vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains, it is more difficult to digest because it goes through the body faster.
“Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation,” Gilbert says. This fatty fish also contains potassium, which helps your body maintain fluid balance when you have a flare, she adds. Salmon is also easy to make and can be prepared in a variety of ways — broiled, poached, grilled, or baked. Just be mindful when adding sauces that may contain ingredients that are harder to digest, such as sugar or certain spices.
Another good source of potassium? Potatoes. Mashed potatoes may be an easy food to introduce after a flare, according to the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. You can also try baking or boiling potatoes, but make sure you avoid the skins, which are more difficult to digest because they contain insoluble fiber. Try pairing skinless potatoes with salmon to make a good meal.
Avocados are filled with healthy fat, B vitamins, and vitamin E, Gilbert says. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, but they are generally easier to digest than many other sources of fiber.
Cut the fruit lengthwise and twist the two halves apart. Cut into slices and peel off the skin before adding a few slices to white bread or crackers.