Although there’s no one single diet that can help prevent the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, there are certain foods that can aggravate the problem, including high-fat, fried and spicy foods; processed foods; and high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Certain beverages can also exacerbate Crohn’s disease symptoms and should be avoided. To determine which foods and drinks may be causing you problems, including gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea, experts suggest keeping a food diary to record what you’re eating and drinking and how they affect you. If you discover that certain foods and drinks are causing your symptoms to worsen, try eliminating them from your diet. Seeking the help of a registered dietician to help you plan meals that will give you the most nutrients without causing symptoms, can also be beneficial.

5 Drinks to Avoid

According to the American Dietetic Association, drinking plenty of fluids-about eight cups each day-during active bouts of Crohn’s disease can help prevent dehydration. However, not all fluids are good for you. Stick to water when you can. Drinking herbal teas or fruit juices are also good choices. Here are five drinks to avoid:

1. Alcohol-Alcoholic drinks, including mixed drinks, beer and wine, contain caffeine, which can stimulate the intestines and make diarrhea worse.

2. Carbonated beverages-Carbonated colas, fruit juices and sports drinks can produce painful gas.

3. Caffeinated coffee and tea-Caffeine aggravates Crohn’s disease symptoms, especially diarrhea.

4. Milk products-Many people with inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas after drinking milk products. The reason may be due to lactose intolerance, the inability of the body to digest milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. If you’re lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor, he or she may recommend enzymes, such as Lactaid, to help breakdown lactose.

5. Sweetened beverages-Fruit juices, soft drinks or other beverages made with sugar or corn syrup should be avoided because they can make diarrhea worse.

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, an estimated one million Americans suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two related inflammatory bowel diseases. And while Crohn’s disease can occur in people of all ages, it primarily strikes between the ages of 15 and 35.

In addition to diet, engaging in mild physical exercises and breathing exercises to reduce stress may also help limit Crohn’s disease symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what stress reduction plan is best for you.