Ulcerative colitis is a severe inflammatory bowel disease that affects your large intestine. Irritation, inflammation, and painful sores appear in the colon and rectum. Ulcerative Colitis does not have a cure. This disease can wear you out, but the good news is that symptoms can be brought under control, and the duration of remissions increased with some changes to your diet. Every individual affected by ulcerative colitis reacts differently, so keeping track of what foods exasperate your symptoms is crucial. Here are some general diet tips for ulcerative colitis that might be helpful for you.
Eat small meals
Instead of following three meals a day routine, when you are an ulcerative colitis patient, it is best to divide your meal portions into smaller sizes and eat them in tinier bites. You could maybe start your day with breakfast and have something to eat every 3 hours after that. It will not overwhelm your digestive system and instead will provide your nutrient absorption, and provide energy steadily throughout the day.
Be aware that cooked foods are better than raw ones.
The incidence of infection and indigestion from raw foods is high. Cooked food is better tolerated even by sensitive stomachs. So, either use the right amount of water to prepare your food, so you do not wash down nutrient-rich left-over water down the kitchen drain or add the excess water in your soups. Also, whenever possible, peel the skin of fruits and vegetables you are consuming.
Maintain a food diary
Make a note of all the foods you eat and how much you have at each meal. Journaling will make it easy for you to identify which foods soothe the body, and which ones intensify symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Maintaining a food diary will help you and your health care provider decide on a diet that is most suitable to manage your condition better.
Limit certain foods
- Alcohol, carbonated beverages, and caffeine are gastric irritants known to exacerbate ulcerative colitis symptoms. They worsen the rate of occurrence of gas and diarrhea.
- Dairy products like milk and cheese, popcorn, beans, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, corn, mushrooms, and leafy greens, could cause bloating, gas, increase bowel movements and abdominal pain. It is because they are difficult for your system to digest and can also worsen diarrhea. So limit their intake. You can use lactose-free alternatives like soy or almond milk instead of regular milk.
- Although whole grains and nuts are a good source of many vitamins and minerals essential for your body, when you have ulcerative colitis, it is best to avoid them. When not chewed well, the high fiber content in nuts can be a digestive irritant.
- Processed foods with a long shelf life are unhealthy for everyone, but especially for people fallen prey to colitis. It is because certain additives, artificial sweeteners, and emulsifiers added to these pre-packaged foods (that enable them to be edible for a longer time) can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Spicy foods tend to irritate an already sensitive large intestine. So avoid hot, fiery foods and stick to bland ones if you are experiencing ulcerative colitis symptoms.
- Fatty, sulfate-heavy meats might not be digested well by your intestines and could trigger gas and diarrhea. It is best to avoid meat.