Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. This article illustrates the different diet plans to ease ulcerative colitis symptoms.
A person with ulcerative colitis is advised to follow a diet to manage the symptoms. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that causes bowel inflammation, leading to digestion issues. A modified diet helps to ease the symptoms.
Although there is no specific diet that plays a role in causing ulcerative colitis, some changes in the diet can help ease the condition.
Eat Small Meals:
Splitting up meals can help to control the symptoms. Eating five or six meals a day rather than three main meals aids in easing the symptoms.
Drink Plenty of Fluids:
A person with ulcerative colitis is more likely to lose a lot of fluid through diarrhea, and water is the best source to keep well hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided as these can make diarrhea even worse. As fizzy drinks also cause flatulence, it is better to avoid them.
Take Food Supplements:
As enough vitamins and minerals are not obtained through diet, it is advisable to take food supplements as per the gastroenterologist’s recommendations.
Maintain Food Diary:
Tracking and maintaining a food diary also helps in monitoring which foods can be taken and evaluating the tolerance level to foods that suit well and what makes the symptom worse.
By keeping a record, it is easy to identify the foods that cause the problem and eliminate them from the diet.
In case of trying new food, try one food a day because it is easy to spot foods that can cause problems.
Though stress is not responsible for causing ulcerative colitis, managing stress levels can result in reducing the symptoms. The following steps are helpful in reducing stress;
Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercise are good ways to relax.
Exercising regularly is one of the best-proven methods to reduce stress and boost mood.
Living with this condition can be more frustrating and isolating; talking with friends and family members can help to alleviate stress.
Patients with ulcerative colitis have found that constantly sticking to a certain diet can help in limiting flare-ups and prolong remission. There are some common diets followed for these patients which can decrease inflammation and help them be symptom-free for a longer period.
The term FODMAP refers to the fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
These are different types of carbohydrates (sugars) that are absorbed minimally by the small intestine and may cause digestion problems.
The FODMAP diet is specially indicated for people with medical conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The low FODMAP diet refers to a short-term diet plan in which so many foods are restricted and eliminated. It helps in relieving the digestive symptoms and increases the levels of intestinal bacteria in people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It is followed as a three-step elimination process which includes-
Avoid eating certain foods (high FODMAP foods).
Gradually reintroduce those foods to check the food causing problems.
Identify the food causing the symptoms and avoid them or take them with limitations.
The foods that can be taken in a low FODMAP diet include:
Grains such as rice, quinoa, and oats.
Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and pineapple.
Some Vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, and eggplant.
Eggs and meat.
Low-Residue Diet or Low-Fiber Diet:
During flare-ups, temporarily adopting a low-residue diet or low-fiber diet can help in improving symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
The foods that can be taken as a part of a low-residue diet include:
White rice, refined pasta, and noodles.
Refined breakfast cereals such as cornflakes.
Lean meat and fish.
Fruit juices with no pulp.
Canned fruits and apple sauce, not including pineapple.
Raw lettuce, cucumber, onion, and zucchini.
Milk, cottage cheese, pudding, or yogurt.
Smooth peanut and nut butter.
Raw and ripe bananas, melon, cantaloupe, plums, peaches, and apricots.
Cooked spinach, pumpkin, seedless yellow squash, eggplant, carrot, potatoes, and green beans.
Plain cakes, cookies, and pies.
Butter, margarine, smooth sauces.
Mayonnaise, whipped creams.
Eating During Flare-UPS:
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis during flare-ups include:
Urgent bowel movements.
It is important to be aware of foods that need to be limited during flare-ups and foods that help to provide nutrition without making symptoms worse.
Foods Recommended to Eat:
Low fiber fruits like bananas, cooked fruits, and honeydew melon.
Cooked vegetables like potatoes, asparagus, and cucumber.
Lean protein sources like lean pork, chicken, tofu, and eggs.
Refined grains like white rice, white pasta, oatmeal, and bread.
Omega-3 fatty acids mainly found in fish.
Sugar-free or unsweetened apple sauce.
Homemade protein shakes.
Foods That Trigger Symptoms:
Fruits with seeds and skin.
Fatty and fried food items.
Food with excess sugar or non-absorbable sugar.
Carbonated beverages, including soda.
Some foods that are helpful in feeling good and hydrated during the remission phase include:
Fiber-rich foods like nuts, beans, and oats.
Protein-rich food, including lean meats, eggs, and fish.
Healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, and seed butter.
Vitamin D supplements.
Whole wheat bread, brown rice, and pasta.
Whole fruits and vegetables.
Specific Carbohydrates Diet:
This was developed particularly to treat celiac diseases but also promoted to heal gastrointestinal issues. In this, the intestines cannot digest or use certain sugars and grains very well. Hence eating food with these ingredients allows bacteria in the gut to multiply too quickly, which causes excess mucus production. This, in turn, results in a cycle of intestinal damage that produces ulcerative colitis symptoms.
The foods that are included in the specific carbohydrate diet include-
Milk and other milk products that are low in sugar tolerance.
Nuts and nut flours.
Most fruits and vegetables.
Meat and eggs.
Butter and oils.
The foods that are limited or to be restricted in this diet include-
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rice. The report suggests that cutting out gluten helps in improving the symptoms.
The foods that can be taken in this diet include-
Eggs, fish, poultry, and meat.
Fruits and vegetables.
Most low-fat dairy products.
Grains like quinoa, buckwheat, corn, flax, and Amaranth.
Beans, seeds, and legumes.
Foods to limit or avoid:
Wheat, rye, barley, and oats.
Processed products like beer, cake, pasta, bread, and gravies are made with these grains.
The Mediterranean diet helps to bring down inflammation in general. It is often recommended by health officials over a specific carbohydrate diet because of its health benefits and nutrition.
The foods that can be taken in this diet :
Vegetables and legumes.
Nuts and seeds.
Fish, poultry, eggs.
Olive oil and other healthy fats.
This diet does not restrict any food, but it includes red meat only in limited amounts.
Some ulcerative colitis diets can shorten or lessen the symptoms for a shorter period, while others may provide longer periods of relief. Creating an ulcerative colitis diet plan is not the same all the time and for all individuals; they are modified and curated depending upon the individual needs, restrictions, and symptoms. Ensuring the right diet balance is always mandatory to ease the symptoms.
Last reviewed at:
30 Jun 2022 - 6 min read
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