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Dietary Guidelines for Ulcerative Colitis – Foods to Eat and Avoid


Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers in the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum. Though the disease isn’t considered fatal (or as serious as cancers), those who suffer from it know how uncomfortable and painful the bouts of ulcerative colitis can be. And the fact that the condition is incurable makes the situation even more frustrating for those suffering from it. However, it’s not all bad! Ulcerative colitis can be effectively managed with timely treatment.


Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis and Food

The treatment of ulcerative colitis involves controlling symptoms and preventing flare-ups, and your diet plays an important role in it. Research has shown that certain foods can provide symptomatic relief whereas others can make the symptoms worse. To help you keep your symptoms of ulcerative colitis under control, here we are listing the most important foods that you should eat and avoid along with some general dietary guidelines.

General Dietary Guidelines for Ulcerative Colitis

Here are the ten basic food rules people suffering from ulcerative colitis should follow, particularly when their disease is active:

1. Avoid Fatty Foods – They cause an increase in the chemical mediators that contribute to triggering and worsening the inflammatory response.

2. Do Not Eat Spicy Food – Spices can further irritate the colon.

3. Eat Easy to Digest Foods – Foods that are harder to digest can cause stomach pain and additional bloating.

4. Avoid Processed Foods – While they have a range of negative effects, research has shown that processed foods can also aggravate the symptoms of colitis by contributing to gut inflammation.[1]

5. Eat a Low-Fiber Diet– It helps reduce abdominal pain during flare-ups.

6. Limit the Intake Of Nuts and Seeds – While they are a great source of many healthy nutrients, they can irritate the digestive tract.

7. Be Cautious of Dairy Products – Dairy items are a good source of many nutrients. However, they can worsen diarrhea and gas and can also trigger cramps in many people. So, be careful while consuming dairy items and keep track of how you feel after eating them.

8. Maintain a Food Journal – To keep track of how you feel after eating certain food. This will help you identify your triggers and items that make you feel better. This eventually will help you and your doctor customize your diet plan.

9. Stay hydrated

10. Eat smaller, frequent meals, take smaller bites, and eat slowly.

What Foods to Eat for Ulcerative Colitis?

Here are some of the foods that have been found to help ease the symptoms of ulcerative colitis in many people:

· Lean meats and fish, particularly the ones rich in omega-3 fatty acids as they help reduce inflammation

· Strawberries, blueberries, melons, grapes, bananas and oranges

· Oatmeal

· Turmeric

· Non-cruciferous vegetables – make sure they are skinless, seedless and cooked since they can be harder to digest otherwise

· Refined grains

What Foods to Avoid If You Have Ulcerative Colitis?

While the food triggers of ulcerative colitis vary across patients, the following foods have been generally found to aggravate the symptoms in many patients during flare-ups, and hence should be avoided:

· Red meat

· Alcohol and caffeine

· Cruciferous vegetables and beans, as they can be harder to digest

· Raw vegetables

· Fruits and veggies with skin

· Whole grains

· Foods that are high in sugar

The Sum Up

Whole foods aren’t directly responsible for causing or triggering this inflammatory condition, certain food items can worsen the symptoms whereas some can help manage them, as ulcerative colitis is a condition of the digestive tract. Therefore, it is important to keep track of what you are eating and how it makes you feel, particularly during the episodes of flare.

The guidelines and suggestions given above are backed by research findings. However, they are not an alternative to expert advice. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor before making any significant dietary changes in order to avoid any negative effects.


Learn more about our currently enrolling clinical trials for Ulcerative Colitis.

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14232

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