Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Diet Plan

Medically Reviewed on 4/11/2023

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

A Man with IBD Condition
The two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term that includes a group of diseases that cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI, digestive) tract. The two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease include:

In Crohn's disease, the inflammation appears in patches anywhere in the GI tract from the mouth to the anus. In ulcerative colitis, there is chronic inflammation and sores (ulcers) that are continuous along the small intestine and colon.

What is the best diet for inflammatory bowel disease?

There is no special diet that is recommended for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but some people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis manage symptoms with dietary changes and a low-residue or low-fiber diet that includes:

  • Eating smaller and more frequent meals
  • Taking vitamins and other nutritional supplements
  • Avoiding problem or trigger foods such as fatty and fried foods, meats, spicy foods, dairy, and fiber-rich foods because they often trigger symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and cramping.

People with Crohn’s disease may have difficulty tolerating dairy products because of intolerance to milk (lactose intolerance). They also are more prone to nutritional deficiencies because of the lack of nutrient absorption in the intestine.

If you have IBD, discuss any dietary changes with your doctor, registered dietitian, nutritionist, or another healthcare professional.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment See Slideshow

What foods to avoid with IBD?

Some people with inflammatory bowel disease, for example, Crohn's ulcerative colitis, find that certain foods or products trigger flares, which worsens the disease.

Examples of foods to avoid if you have IBD include:

What foods to eat with IBD?

People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis often find it difficult to get their daily nutritional needs because of their disease. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements can help provide some of the necessary nutritional needs to people with IBD.

A low-residue diet can relieve flare-ups. Include foods that are soft and bland, for example:

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Oatmeal
  • Lean poultry or fish, plain
  • Eggs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Canned fruit
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • White bread
  • Diluted juices
  • Plain cereals

Talk with a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or other health care professional about your specific dietary needs if you have inflammatory bowel disease.

Medically Reviewed on 4/11/2023

Arnold Wald, MD. "Pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome." UpToDate. Updated: Aug 11, 2016.

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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 2017. 10 August 2017

Peppercorn, MD, Mark A and Adam S Cheifetz, MD. Definition, epidemiology, and risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease." UpToDate. Updated: Aug 22, 2017.
<> " Inflammatory bowel disease." Updated: Apr 18, 2017.