What is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet for IBD?

The IBD-AID was derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and modified with current research on the human microbiome. Research has shown that IBD patients have an imbalance of gut bacteria, which contribute to bowel inflammation.  This diet helps to restore balance between helpful and harmful bacteria while promoting good nutrition. The IBD-AID has three phases to treat flares and progress to the ultimate goal of maintaining remission.  Pay attention to each phase every day to obtain the best results. 

You may be surprised at how many delicious recipes & meals can be prepared from these foods!  To understand why you should choose these foods, it is important to understand the components of the IBD-AID diet. Click here to see the food list for IBD Diet.

There are 4 basic parts to the diet that need to be included on a daily basis:

1) Prebiotics

Foods that feed and maintain the good intestinal bacteria. Choose foods that contain prebiotics – these are types of fiber (inulin, beta-glucans) that feed the good bacteria.  Good sources - bananas, blueberries, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, spinach, oats, chia, & flax meal.

2) Probiotics

These are fermented foods that have live bacteria within them. Choose fermented foods that contain probiotics – these are beneficial bacteria.  Good sources - yogurt, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and honey.  All of these must have live and active bacterial cultures.  


Probiotic Foods Prebiotic Foods
Plain Yogurt Steel-cut Oats
Aged Cheese Bananas
Fermented veggies Ground Flax seed, chia, hemp seed
Kefir Garlic
Miso Onions
Microalgae Chicory root
Pickles Artichokes
Raw honey Leeks
Fermented Cabbage Asparagus


Fruits, including avocado Omega-3 rich eggs
Vegetables Farmer cheese (Dry curd cottage cheese), aged cheeses like cheddar
Yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, raw honey Chicken, turkey (skinless)
Oats Lean beef & other lean meats
Nuts & nut butters Finfish, shellfish
Flours from nuts & legumes Legumes – beans, peas, & lentils, tofu
Seeds – flax, hemp, chia, sunflower Oils – olive, canola, coconut
Milks from soy, almond, oat, hemp, & oconut Herbs & spices


3) Good Balanced Nutrition

IBD-AID emphasizes the importance of soluble fiber, which helps increase beneficial short chain fatty acids as well as making a gel-like substance to enhance stool consistency and slow gut motility.  This means decreased inflammation, more formed and regular bowel movements.  Because we recognize the importance of soluble fiber (which is a prebiotic), we promote steel-cut oats on the diet.

Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables. These foods are rich in micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. You may need to puree and cook these, for better absorption.  These are nutrient dense and essential for healing and anti-inflammatory response.

Lean proteins and healthy fats.  (beans, nuts, olive oil, avocado, ground flaxseed, fish, soy)

Avoid Trans fats (store-bought baked goods, anything containing “partially hydrogenated oil”) processed foods and fast food.

Water – as part of nourishing yourself, remember to drink plenty of water every day!  This will help you to more easily tolerate the beneficial fiber in this diet, and will also help to replace fluid losses you may have. Try to have at least 48 fluid ounces (six 8-oz servings) per day, of simple beverages such as water and tea. 

4) Avoidance of Certain Foods

The IBD-AID diet emphasizes avoidance of certain foods that may be disturbing the normal gut flora. Foods that contain lactose, wheat, refined sugar, and corn are avoided in all phases of the diet. Avoidance can starve out the bad bacteria.

Texture - If you need to, choose ground foods and blend or puree your foods.  You may need to avoid intact fiber, such as found in seeds & stems.  This will depend upon your symptoms, and how you find you do with certain foods.    Pureeing foods may improve your absorption and tolerance of nutrients in the foods.

Together, the foods in this diet decrease bowel inflammation, aid in the repair of the gut, and help to restore balance to the immune system. 

What foods should I avoid? 

  • Trans fats (store-bought baked goods, anything containing “partially hydrogenated oil”)
  • All foods with refined sugar
  • Grains, except for oats
  • Fast food or processed food
  • Milk & fresh cheeses (aged cheese is ok)

Can I drink alcohol, coffee, and/or tea on this diet?

If you do not drink alcohol, there is no reason to change. If you do, we recommend limiting your intake to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 for men, preferably wine. Beer is not allowed due to its grain content. Coffee and tea are allowed in moderation, but please use non-dairy milk and allowed sweeteners, such as raw honey.

The foods included in this diet have been chosen with the goals of improving your gastrointestinal symptoms and contributing to your health and well-being.