The Colitis Diet
There have been no studies yet that prove certain types of food cause ulcerative colitis. But it’s been noted that some kinds of food can treat the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis while other types of food make the signs and symptoms worse and result in complications. In general, a low‐residue, low‐fiber diet is usually recommended for people with ulcerative colitis.
If you suspect you have the disease, keep a diary where you note down the symptoms and what food could have triggered them. If for example you have eaten plenty of fatty foods and later on the symptoms manifest themselves, you can fairly say the fatty foods had caused them, especially if this happens in such frequency that it can be dismissed as coincidence.
Bleeding and diarrhea, the two most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis, can drain the body, robbing it of fluids and nutrients. It is therefore important for a person who has the disease to include plenty of liquid in his diet to rehydrate the body and healthy food to allow it to regain lost nutrients.
Have Several Smaller Meals throughout the Day
Don’t skip meals. Some doctors advise people with ulcerative colitis to have small meals spread throughout the day than have the usual three large meals in the morning at noon and in the evening, especially during flare ups. Large meals can increase the pressure on the digestive tract and worsen the condition.
Fiber is healthy, but during flare‐ups, foods high in fiber content are not advised. This is to allow the bowel time to rest and keep the symptoms at a minimum. Lactose‐intolerant patient must avoid lactose‐rich foods. Limit your coffee and alcohol intake for obvious reasons.
Recipes for a Low‐Fiber, Low‐Residue Colitis Diet
It is mentioned earlier there’s been no study yet that says certain types of food can cause ulcerative colitis. But some food worsens the signs and symptoms of the disease and may help bring about complications. There are also types of food that can keep the signs and symptoms in check and minimizes the chances of complications. Thus, a person suffering from ulcerative colitis may be advised to keep a diet that will help his body cope with the disease, its signs and symptoms and its complications.
Like any IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), ulcerative colitis requires a diet that is low‐fiber and low‐residue, especially during periods of flareups. A low‐fiber, low‐residue diets is also advised as diet prior to surgery and before the surgery. This is meant to decrease the volume of the patient’s vowel and to give the intestine time to relax. A low residue, low‐fiber diet contains not more than ten grams of fiber every day.
Not All Low‐Fiber Foods Are Good For Ulcerative Colitis Patients
It is important to note, however, that while low‐residue and low‐fiber are commonly used interchangeably, they are not strictly the same. There are low‐fiber foods that can even worsen the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Coffee and dairy, for example, are low in fiber but they increase bowel activity, adding stress to the intestines. Some foods that are low in residue, on the other hand, are actually high in fiber content. This seemingly insignificant detail of a colitis diet should be discussed with the doctor or dietician.
It is not also advisable to stay on a colitis diet for a long period. But if your condition requires it, the doctor will advise you to take health and dietary supplement every day.
Grain Products in a Colitis Diet
Any recipe for an ulcerative colitis diet to be effective should any of the following grain products that are considered low‐residue: English muffins, cookies, plain cereals, buns, white bread that is refined, plain cereals, white rice and others that your doctor or dietician may recommend. Whole grains should not be in the list.
A colitis diet recipe may also include any of the following fruits and fruit products: banana, fruit juice (excluding prune juice), fruit cocktail, honeydew, peaches, melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, apricots, applesauce and other fruits recommended by your health care provider.
Vegetables and Vegetable Products
An ulcerative colitis recipe may also be made from vegetables and vegetable products. But despite the fact that vegetables are healthy foods, not all of them are recommended for people with ulcerative colitis.
The following can be in a vegetable colitis recipe: vegetable juices, vegetables that are tender and well‐cooked like beets, yellow beans, green beans, potatoes minus the skin, cucumber, lettuce, red peppers, green peppers, zucchini, squash, alfalfa, etc. A colitis diet recipe must avoid using vegetables belonging to the cruciferous group like cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, Brussels, kale, etc.
Foods that are sources of protein may be in a colitis diet recipe provided they are well‐cooked. Meat should be tender. Fish and eggs are OK, but lentils and beans must be avoided. Seeds, nuts and foods with seeds must be generally avoided.
|FOOD GROUP||FOODS TO INCLUDE||FOODS TO AVOID|
|MILK||Fat free, reduced fat, whole milk; Lactaid milk;Buttermilk, yogurt without restricted fruit and nuts;non-fat dry milk solids (reconstituted), milkshakes||If you have an intolerance to lactose you may need to limit dairy to small portions with meals and/or use lactose reduced products.|
|MEAT, FISH, POULTRY, EGGS, CHEESE, MEAT ALTERNATES||Tender, lean, beef, lamb, liver, poultry, veal, pork, ham(if tolerated); smooth peanut butter; fish; cottage cheese, mild flavored cheeses; eggs; tofu.||Fried meats, sausage, spicy cold cuts, frankfurters;crunchy peanut butter; excessive cheese products;fried eggs; dried beans.|
|BREADS & CEREALS||Bread made with refined flour; melba toast; refined hot cereals including instant oatmeal, farina, and grits; dry refined cereals including puffed rice, cornflakes, rice Krispies, special k ; refined crackers such as saltines; rice cakes; bagels; pancakes, waffles; tortillas made from refined white flour.||Bread made with bran, seeds, coarse whole wheat or cracked wheat; whole grain cereals such as shredded wheat, bran flakes, granola; raw bran; old fashion oatmeal; whole grain crackers; graham crackers; buckwheat pancakes; bulgar.|
|POTATO & STARCHES||White or sweet potato prepared without skin or frying; white rice; refined brown rice; spaghetti; noodles; macaroni; pasta; couscous.||Potato skins, fried potatoes, potato chips; coarse grain
brown and wild rice; whole grain pasta.
|VEGETABLES||Strained vegetable juice; well cooked fresh or canned vegetables such as asparagus tips, beets, green beans, carrots, acorn squash without seeds, pureed spinach, and tomato sauce; lettuce if tolerated.||Raw or partially cooked (steamed) vegetables; vegetables with seeds; sauerkraut; dried beans; cooked peas; winter squash; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage; onions; cauliflower; baked beans; and corn|
|FRUITS||Strained fruit juice; citrus fruit sections without membrane; stewed or canned fruit without skin or seeds; ripe banana; soft cantaloupe or honey dew melon.||All raw fruits (except banana) ; dried fruits and raisins; prunes (fresh or stewed); unstrained fruit juice, canned pineapple, fresh and frozen berries.|
|FATS||Margarine, oils, butter, cream, shortening, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese||Do not consume excess amounts, especially saturated fat, for overall health|
|SWEETS & DESSERTS||Hard candy, jelly, honey, syrup; refined cakes, pies, doughnuts; cookies; pudding; sherbet; custard; ice cream; gelatin with allowed fruit; chocolate in small amounts.||Those made with nuts, coconut, seeds, skins; jams,marmalades and preserves; fried pastries (no doughnuts).|
|BEVERAGES||Tea, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, carbonated beverages, fruit beverages, allowed vegetables, noodles, rice or refined flour||Alcohol|
|SOUPS||Bouillon, broth, or creamed soups made with allowed vegetables, noodles, rice or refined flour||Highly seasoned soups, bean soups|
|MISCELLANEOUS||Salt and mild seasonings as tolerated; finely ground pepper;cocoa powder.||Whole seed spices and herbs; popcorn; whole grain snacks; nuts; seeds; strong flavored spices or herbs not tolerated; olives, pickles|
Dining Out (the low fiber way)
Your low fiber diet guidelines can easily be followed when dining out. Read the menu carefully and ask questions about how foods are prepared and what accompaniments are served with the various items you are considering. Request that any foods you need to avoid be eliminated from your plate; they are easier to resist if they’re not there.
What Your Low-Residue Recipe Would Look Like
The daily low-residue recipe recommendation of your doctor may look more or less similar to the following:
For breakfast, you will have half a cup of cereal, with less than a gram of fiber every serving; milk or fruit juice that has pulp of about eight ounces in quantity. You will snack on 2 slices of refined, low-fiber white bread with jelly and honey, and vegetable juice of not more than eight ounces.
For lunch, you will have six to eight ounces of fruit juice excluding pulp, 3 ounces of broiled fish, and half a cup of white rice. You will have an afternoon snack of half-cup of yogurt and eight ounces of vegetable or fruit juice.
For dinner, you will have fruit juice or vegetable in the same amount, and water, a cup of soup that is broth based, 3 ounces of chicken (broiled), and a half-cup or one cup of low-fiber pasta.
Milk, Yogurt, Soup for Snacks
A person suffering from ulcerative colitis will need plenty of liquid because bleeding in the intestines and diarrhea can drain the liquid and nutrients from his body. The old mother’s advice of eight glass of water a day holds true with ulcerative colitis sufferers.
Milk and yogurt are good low in fiber too, so they can be included in a colitis diet recipe. Milk is an alternative “food” if you food-based meals or snacks don’t attract you at the moment. Milk is nice when cold, but you it has to be warmed up if it’s winter. For yogurt, you can choose the fruity, smooth ones or plain. It is OK to add some jelly-type jam, some honey, or banana and ripe apricot slices for added flavor.
For soup that can also serve as meal, vegetables cooked in water can replenish the nutrients drained out from your body due to ulcerative colitis. The best vegetables for this are spinach, yellow squash, carrots and pumpkin. Aside from its nutritional benefits, these types of vegetable soups are tasty too. Be sure to remove the pips and skin of these vegetables when making them into soup. To make it even thicker, cream may be added into the mix.
Recipes for ulcerative colitis patients may not always be food all the time. Liquid diet recipes are sometimes advised especially for those who have just undergone an ulcerative colitis surgery. There’s the clear liquid diet, the full liquid diet, and lactose-free diet.
Clear Liquid Diet
For post-surgery cases, the doctor may recommend a clear liquid diet. A patient fresh operation of an abdominal condition, like ulcerative colitis, will usually have a clear liquid diet for his first “meal.” The reason for this is to ease the gastrointestinal system so it can process food once more. After a prescribed period of clear liquid diet, the person will be allowed to switch to another type of diet, such as bland food diet, a soft food diet or a full liquid diet.
A full liquid diet is a step back to a solid food diet. A full liquid diet is different from a clear liquid diet in that a full liquid diet contains milk products. Lactose-intolerant patient will have to be given alternative source milk nutrients, like soy.
Lactose intolerance worsens the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, like diarrhea, abdominal aches, and gas, which are the same symptoms found in other IBDs. A lactose-free diet will have to be supplemented by other sources of calcium.
Restricted Fiber Diet Recipes
Some circumstances require a restricted fiber diet to ease the condition. This is true during flare-ups. This is also the final type of diet recommended after surgery, following the liquid diets. This diet prepares the intestines for the next type of diet, which is the unrestricted diet. A restricted diet recipe will have to be high in fiber content, like vegetable and grains.
Results to be Expected from a Colitis Diet
A colitis diet recipe relieves the symptoms and signs, like pain in the abdominal area, diarrhea, bleeding, etc. The digestive system is also eased because a colitis diet reduces the size and the number of a patient’s stools.
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Important Facts to Remember
- Eating a low-fiber diet will limit your bowel movements and help ease diarrhea or other symptoms of abdominal conditions, such as abdominal pain. Once your digestive system has returned to normal, you can slowly reintroduce fiber into your diet.
- For ulcerative colitis, it is important to include adequate fiber & fluids in your diet to prevent constipation. Consider a soluble fiber supplement.
- Fiber should only be avoided during the acute phase of this disease (flare-up)
- Your physician or dietitian will help you determine the appropriate diet to follow.
- Be careful to increase your fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of fluids. Consult with a dietitian to help you make this transition.
- The goal of medical nutrition therapy for the treatment of ulcerative colitis is to manage the disease. It is not intended to cure or prevent the disease.
If you don’t follow the low-fiber diet as prescribed by your doctor, you risk irritating or obstructing your digestive tract. Once the inflammation and infection are eliminated, the patient is advised to return gradually to a high-fiber diet. This is to normalize once again the flow of food through the intestines and to prevent constipation. If there’s limited source of fiber in the patient’s diet at this point, the doctor may recommend a daily fiber supplement.
Final Word of Advice
Tips and recommendations found in the Internet, in cookbooks, and heard from people around you should not be taken as official endorsement of any recipe for ulcerative colitis diet. Although they give you an idea of the best recipes are for your condition, they should be treated as such, ideas. To be safe, you still need the official recommendation of your doctor, a dietician or a health provider that has followed your condition from the start.