Ulcerative Colitis is disease of the intestine; a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome, that causes open sores or ulcers to form on the inside of the large intestine or the colon. It is an ongoing condition with periods of being asymptomatic and period when there are exacerbated symptoms noted. Apart from treatment to send the condition into remission, an appropriate ulcerative colitis diet is of great importance.
When the problem is in remission and is asymptomatic the diet for this need not be largely different from a normal diet. However there are many things that can ease or exacerbate symptoms and so these general ulcerative colitis diet pointer should be kept in mind.
There are certain food that are best avoided as part of the ulcerative colitis diet:
- Dairy and dairy products should not form part of a diet since they can increase pain and diarrhea during a flare up. Although cheese, yoghurt and milk are good sources of protein and calcium so you may want to consider taking a supplement to improve tolerance.
- Greasy and fried items as well as those that are very rich and spicy. Creamy, buttery items and also tomato based gravies and sauces should be avoided
- Caffeine (not just from coffee but also from sweetened and fizzy beverages), carbonated water, beer and alcohol, should not be part of an ulcerative colitis diet since these are known irritants of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Processed and highly refined foods, those that contain lots of preservatives, items that are high in sugar and artificial sweeteners should not form part of the diet since these can increase inflammation.
It is also important to follow certain other rules with regard to an ulcerative colitis diet – eat smaller, more frequent meals so that they are easier to digest.
As to what should be included in an ulcerative colitis diet, keep the following in mind:
- Some people may tolerate small amounts of dairy such as milk (in tea etc), yoghurt, cheese and butter pretty well in which case there may not be any real need to exclude these from the diet because these are good sources of protein, calcium and other nutrients.
- Drink plenty of water, since this is seen to keep the system hydrated and prevent constipation.
- Items that are high protein, such as eggs, fish and meat should be included in the ulcerative colitis diet since these could actually help reduce the acuity of symptoms. This is particularly important if you have a low fat diet to avoid exacerbating the symptoms; since protein will compensate for that exclusion.
- Pre-biotics such as psyllium and other items having live cultures (probiotics) can also help to heal ulcers.
- Some research has been able to demonstrate that flaxseed and fish oil can be beneficial when included in one’s ulcerative colitis diet. Certain other supplements such as those containing Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharide are also beneficial if included in an Ulcerative Colitis Diet.