Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan: Best And Worst Foods
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
The inflammation in the digestive tract, especially this inflammation affects the colon (large intestine) and causes ulcers on the lining of the large intestine which is called Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
It is a complex kind of condition because this problem comes when our immune system makes a mistake or we call it a problem caused by an overactive immune. It is surprising but true. In most of the cases immune fights for our health, but UC is mostly caused by our immune because it considers good gut bacteria, cells which line our large intestine and food as intruders or trespassers. So white blood cells (WBC) which fight for our lining of the colon, start attacking it.
We are going to discuss Diet plans for UC here
Diet can help a person with UC in managing symptoms only. But we need to know one thing that everybody has its own system. One food that can give benefits to one person can show some wrong effects on another person. This same theory also works when we want to make a diet plan for an ulcerative colitis patient. Due to which one diet plan can’t help each and every patient of ulcerative colitis. Hence we will discuss different diet plans which can help in Ulcerative Colitis. But which diet plan will suit you, can be guided by a doctor.
Best diet plans which are suggested in ulcerative colitis condition are as follows
- Low Fiber/Residue diet
- Paleolithic/Caveman diet
- Low-FODMAP or specific carbohydrate diet
- No gluten or gluten-free diet
- Low-fat diet
1. Low Fiber/Residue diet
The main reason for referring this diet plan is to reduce the frequency of bowel movement and cut down on the amount of stool in the intestine. Because when the whole food is digested, the only thing left behind in Intestine is fiber.
Foods referred to in this diet plan
- White bread in spite of whole wheat
- Pasta which has less fiber
- Juices with no pulp
- Limited dairy products like only milk and yoghurt can be consumed
- Cooked vegetables in spite of raw vegetables
- Ripe bananas, peaches, apricots and watermelon
- Some leafy vegetables like cooked spinach can be taken if the patient does not have a UC flare.
The foods mentioned above are recommended in this diet plan, but again if patients find any kind of problem with any of these items, he/she has to stop taking that. Some patients can feel relief in symptoms with a salad of cucumbers.
Foods to avoid in this diet plan are as follows
- Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, popcorns
- Foods or beverages containing alcohol, caffeine and cocoa
- Raw vegetables are already mentioned above
- If this diet plan is followed for the long term it may lead to the deficiency of folic acid
- Hence it is recommended to consult a doctor/physician for supplements.
2. Paleolithic /Caveman diet
This diet plan is given with a logic that our digestion system is not made for today’s grain-based diet.
Foods advised in this diet plan are
- Fruits, almost every vegetable, nuts, honey, chicken and eggs
Foods suggested to avoid in this diet are
- Cereal grains, potatoes, dairy, soda, refined sugar
This diet can lead to the deficiency of vitamin D and some other nutrients. Also, there is no evidence that this diet plan can provide relief to the symptoms or is beneficial in ulcerative colitis.
3. Low-FODMAP or Specific Carbohydrate Diet
FODMAP are also carbohydrates. Digestion system works a lot to digest carbohydrates. The main reason for following this diet plan is to cut down gut bacteria present in complex carbohydrates.
Foods which can be consumed are
- Most of the fruits and vegetables
- Milk and other dairy products
- Nuts and nut flour
Foods not to be taken
- Potatoes, legumes, processed meat, grains, soy, corn syrup, table sugar, chocolate.
4. No Gluten or Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten is a large and difficult to digest protein found in grains like wheat. It is also found in barley and rye. Sometimes ulcerative colitis patients find that cutting out gluten from their diet helps in improvement of their symptoms.
Foods which are gluten-free are
- Vegetables and fruits
- Beans and seeds
- Fish, poultry and eggs
- Low-fat dairy products
- Corn, buckwheat and flex
Foods to avoid with gluten are
- Above mentioned grains and other products made from those grains (wheat, rye, barley)
- Processed products like beer
5. Low-Fat Diet
This diet is advised with a reason to reduce the load on intestine because Ulcerative colitis can interfere in fat absorption. If the patient is having ulcerative colitis flare, this diet is often recommended.
Foods like cheese, butter, clarified butter and oils which have more fats are advised to avoid in this diet plan. But still, the patient needs some quantity of good fats.
There is no clear evidence that a particular diet plan can help in managing symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Every person with UC needs to get help from a doctor/physician in making a diet plan. It will take some days but it is very important to follow a diet plan with suited foods. After all, foods have a major role in controlling symptoms along with medication.
Now we have a list of bad foods which are found causing disorder in ulcerative colitis patients and need to be strictly avoided. Also, this list is going to help most of the patients in making their diet plan.
- Seeds (can result in diarrhea)
- Spicy foods (UC patients already experiencing flare may face worse symptoms)
- Raw fruits and vegetables (high in fiber)
- Refined sugar (may cause diarrhea)
- Popcorns (high in fiber)
- Nuts and crunchy nut butter (may cause diarrhea)
- Meats (Fatty meats can trigger UC symptoms)
- Foods having sulfate (like red meat)
- Foods with high fiber (Grains mention above)
- Dried peas and beans (high in fiber)
- Dried fruits (high in fiber)
- Dairy products if a patient is lactose intolerant
- Carbonated drinks/soft drinks (can irritate the digestive tract, can cause acidity)
- Alcohol (can stimulate the colon, results in diarrhea)
- Caffeine (is a stimulant, causes diarrhea)
These foods need to be removed from diet as these may cause deficiency of nutrients in our body. To balance that deficiency, doctors can give some supplements along with medication.