Foods That Aggravate Your Crohn's

If you have Crohn's disease, you've probably found that certain foods aggravate your digestive system and may even trigger a flare-up. Medical experts suggest you keep a food diary for a while to identify your trigger foods so you can eliminate, or reduce, them in your diet.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all Crohn's diet, there are common foods that tend to cause problems for Crohn's sufferers. Here are a few.

High-fat, fried and spicy foods. Most fast food and many prepared dishes are fried and high in fat. They can cause diarrhea and other abdominal distress.

Processed foods. During processing to convert raw ingredients into food products, manufacturers strip foods of most of their natural nutrients. These nutritionally deficient foods can increase the growth of intestinal microflora associated with inflammation. This is particularly dangerous for Crohn's patients, who are already at increased risk for malnutrition. Avoid processed foods that contain hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and artificial sweeteners, flavoring or coloring.

Gas-producing foods. Gas-producing foods such as vegetables in the cabbage family-broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts-dried peas and lentils, onions, chives and peppers are packed with vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. However, they tend to aggravate Crohn's disease. You should probably avoid them.

High-fiber foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole, unprocessed grains are high in fiber and should be part of a healthy diet. However, when you are in the midst of a Crohn's flare up, they can cause diarrhea, pain and gas. Reduce or eliminate high-fiber foods until your symptoms are under control.

Lactose-containing foods. Milk, cheese and other dairy foods contain lactose. About 70 percent of the population does not have enough lactase, an enzyme your body needs to absorb and digest lactose (milk sugar). You can find dairy products that are lactose-free or you can take enzyme tablets to help you digest foods containing lactose.

Sweetened or caffeinated beverages. Coffee and soda are high in sugar or caffeine and aggravate Crohn's disease. Choose plain water, herbal teas or fruit juices.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners.  Avoid foods that contain sugar and artificial sweeteners such as Sorbitol and instead choose foods naturally sweetened with honey or grain-based sweeteners.

Other foods. Other foods that may cause problems in Crohn's patients included products with yeast, margarine, alcohol, barley, rye, wheat artichokes, grape skins and seeds raw foods, cold foods, peanuts, corn and soybeans.

Many aspects of Crohn's disease are out of your control. However, you can control what you eat. Avoid foods that trigger symptoms.