Ulcerative colitis is painful, recurring, and stressful. If you’re suffering from this disease, you must follow a customized diet plan. By avoiding foods that can worsen the problem and consuming inflammation-fighting foods, you can manage the disease symptoms to a good extent. In this article, you will find out Ulcerative Colitis Diet foods you should eat and avoid, and how you can heal using natural remedies. But first, let me tell you a few vital facts regarding ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis Facts
- Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the inflammation and ulceration of the innermost lining of the colon and rectum.
- About 1.6 million Americans and 2.5 million Europeans are affected by this disease.
- The root cause of this inflammatory disease isn’t confirmed, but scientists have hypothesized that it may be caused due to the presence of pathogenic bacteria or virus in the gut or an immune system attack on normal gut bacteria.
- The most common symptoms are diarrhea, cramps, rectal bleeding, fever, loss of appetite, joint pain, liver disease, and eye problems.
- Ulcerative colitis can be diagnosed by blood tests, colonoscopy, and stool sample tests.
- It stays life long and may flare up from time to time.
- It can affect anyone at any age and may result in colon cancer if you have the disease for more than eight years.
- Medicinal treatments include steroids and medicines that help reduce inflammation, the overreaction of the immune system, and diarrhea.
- Sometimes, the affected part of the colon is removed to reduce the chance of developing colon cancer.
Now that we have got those facts straight, let me tell you which foods you must avoid.
Foods to Avoid with Ulcerative Colitis Diet
You are lucky if you are someone who hates eating broccoli. This high-fiber food, loaded with phytonutrients that help improve your health, is a huge no-no for you. That’s because broccoli takes longer to digest and can conjointly cause bloating. So, avoid consuming broccoli in any form, i.e., blanched, grilled, sauteed, boiled, or raw.
Like broccoli, legumes are also rich in fiber. Dietary fiber has several good qualities, but they are never good for you. Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and add bulk to stools, which might cause irritation to the colon lining, thereby resulting in aggravation of the inflammation. Say goodbye to lentils, bean sprouts, kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas, peas, etc. to help soothe the colon wall lining.
If you’re suffering from ulcerative colitis, bid good-bye to alcohol. Alcohol can highly irritate your colon lining and cause bloating, inflammation, and, in severe cases, rectal bleeding. So, toss your alcohol bottles into the bin and also stay away from drinking at social gatherings.
4. Aerated Drinks
The sugar-loaded and aerated drinks that quench your thirst will cause serious harm to your colon. The colon lining, which is already ulcerated, will get more irritated by the bubbles in the drink. Moreover, the aerated drinks are loaded with sugar and caffeine, which might make you feel bloated.
5. Tea and coffee
Tea and coffee both contain caffeine, which acts as a stimulant. Stimulants increase the transit time through the colon, thereby chafing the lining of the colon. So, it’s best to avoid tea and coffee if you’re suffering from ulcerative colitis.
For some of you, it’s bad news. Chocolate contains caffeine and sugar, both of which might extremely irritate the innermost lining of the colon. Sugar aggravates diarrhea, and caffeine, as mentioned before, will increase the transit time through the colon. Both these ingredients can worsen the symptoms. So, avoid eating chocolates.
7. Creamy And Greasy Food
Creamy and greasy foods containing lots of mayonnaise, butter, cream cheese, margarine, animal fat, etc. can irritate the inner lining of the colon. This can worsen the ulcers and may cause rectal bleeding. Avoid creamy pasta, macaroni and cheese, and creamy cheese containing foods to pacify your colon.
8. Mushroom And Corn
Mushroom and corn are both tough to digest. Most corn kernels are not chewed properly and may cause inflammation. Mushrooms are also not completely digested, therefore you must steer clear of them.
9. Whole Spices And Herbs
Spices are good but not the whole ones. do not add whole spices to your food because they will not get digested properly and may scrape the highly sensitive large intestinal walls. If you wish to add flavor and aroma to your food, you can chop or grind the herbs and spices and use them. You can also put the spices in a muslin cloth and place it in your food to transfer the aroma.
Prunes are extremely effective for those suffering from constipation since they reduce the transit time through the large intestine. They can be extremely dangerous for you because the fast-moving foods can scratch the colon walls, leading to inflammation and bleeding. Stay away from fresh and dried prunes and prune juice.
Gluten is found in oats, wheat, flour, barley, rye, etc. and may worsen the ulcerative colitis in people who are gluten sensitive. So, if you’re gluten-sensitive, don’t consume foods that contain gluten. Be extra careful when you eat out because gluten can be present in sauces and may cause pain and diarrhea.
12. Seeds And nuts
Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats, but they’re also tough to digest. So, don’t consume whole seeds and nuts. You can grind them into a fine powder to make a paste to add to your food and get the healthy fats that your body needs.
13. Fatty Meats
If you’re suffering from ulcerative colitis, you must strictly avoid consuming fatty meats because they can cause chafing of the colon wall. Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, and chicken breast to get the protein.
Refined sugar is also a big no-no for you. It pulls in water and reduces the transit time of the food, thereby making you more prone to diarrhea and scraping of the colon wall. You can substitute refined sugar with jaggery.
15. Cabbage, Celery, And Brussels Sprouts
Avoid consuming cabbage, celery, and brussels sprouts because they’re high in fiber and potential colon lining irritants. Instead, have sweet potato, potato, carrots, and squash.
NOTE: Dairy is not mentioned in this list because many folks don’t get ulcerative colitis flare-ups while others do. So, consult with your doctor to find out if you can consume the dairy products.
It may look like you have run out of options to eat, but that’s not the case. Here is the list of foods that you can eat.
Foods to Eat with Ulcerative Colitis Diet
1. Fruit Juices
You can drink fruit juices, but make certain you strain them before drinking. Peel the skin and remove the pith before you juice the fruits. Avoid drinking smoothies. Don’t drink prune juice and papaya juice.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for you as they have anti-inflammatory properties. You can have salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseed oil, ground almond, ground flax seeds, ground peanut, and smooth nut paste.
There are a range of squashes you can consume – butternut squash, zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, and acorn squash. you can make a stew or blended soup with them for a mouthwatering and filling lunch or dinner.
4. White Rice
White rice has the lowest amounts of fiber and is, therefore, easy to digest. Have well-cooked white rice to reduce the inflammatory reaction in your colon.
5. Potato And Sweet Potato
Peeled potato and sweet potato go easy on your digestive system. You can grill or mash them to make a delicious dinner. you can have sweet potato if you are worried concerning weight gain.
Eggs are a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and omega-3-fatty acids. And the best thing regarding eggs is that they can be tolerated by folks suffering from ulcerative colitis. Make scrambled or boiled eggs for a delicious and satisfying breakfast.
Rich in healthy fats, this buttery and nutty fruit is good for you. It doesn’t irritate your colon and goes easy on your digestion. Make an avocado smoothie or add avocado to your salad or burritos.
8. Unsweetened Apple sauce
Prepare ulcerative colitis-friendly applesauce by peeling the apples and removing the seeds. Then, boil the apple to form applesauce but don’t add refined sugar. You can use a bit of jaggery. Unsweetened apple sauce will not cause any flare-ups.
9. Lean Meat
Lean meats like lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, and chicken breast are your best sources of protein. Protein is important for your body and should not be avoided. Have lean meats to avoid irritating the walls of your large intestine.
10. Flattened Rice
Flattened rice is a good substitute for breakfast cereals, quinoa, muesli, and oatmeal. Flattened rice is white rice that’s flattened into a flaky form. It can be consumed instantly by adding water, milk, or yogurt. Depending on whether or not you’re sensitive to dairy, you can have flattened rice either with dairy or soak it in water for a minute and then add avocado and peeled apples for a filling and soothing breakfast.
These were the list of foods you can consume if you’re suffering from ulcerative colitis.
Alternative Ways To Treat ulcerative colitis
The nicotine present in cigarettes can irritate the colon wall and the ulcers. So, you need to drop that habit now.
Practice and learn to take less stress. Opt for a walk, talk to your friends, spend quality time with your family, visit new places, learn new skills, etc. It will offer you and your brain the required rest.
Practice yoga to reduce colon inflammation. Yoga has even helped heal cancer. So, believe in the power of yoga and begin practicing it from today.
Unannounced flare-ups are very common and may cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Talk to an expert to get help to deal with your problem.
True, it is easier said than done, but hey, you can always begin today rather than tomorrow. Start following these tips and curb the worry and discomfort of rushing to the washroom again and again. Opt for regular medical check-ups, take your medicines, and follow an ulcerative colitis-friendly diet and lifestyle to lead a normal life again. Good luck!