How should I begin to find the right diet for my ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (or, inflammatory bowel disease) is a difficult condition to live with. Curing it is impossible: You can only hope to manage it to the best of your ability. Doctors advise eating foods that help to calm down your symptoms, so you should pay attention to what you eat and simultaneously avoid "bad" foods that aggravate your ulcerative colitis.
- Poor digestion
- Limited absorption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals
- Loss of the urge to eat
- Unintentional weight loss
- More significant nutritional needs due to the disease
Because of this, you must eat a diet that helps manage your ulcerative colitis and contains many nutrients. No one diet works for everyone that has this condition. The best way to figure out what works for you is by keeping a food journal.
To do this, you should write down what you eat every day. Then, write down all of your symptoms and their severity. From this, you will be able to tell which foods trigger or worsen your ulcerative colitis.
Be sure to never eliminate a whole food group at once, as this can often lead to a lessening of vital nutrients. Additionally, try to only add in types of food one at a time so that you can understand their impact on your body.
Your doctor may also suggest you go on an elimination diet. This is a diet in which you will systematically stop eating certain foods to try and understand which foods trigger your ulcerative colitis. These diets should only be done under medical supervision.
What foods should I not eat if I have ulcerative colitis?
Again, each person who has ulcerative colitis will need to find their personalized diet. However, here are some of the most common types of foods that trigger ulcerative colitis:
Raw Green Vegetables
Green or cruciferous vegetables contain a large amount of fiber, especially when they are raw. If you have ulcerative colitis, you should try to stick to fully cooked, skinless, and non-cruciferous vegetables.
Some examples of cruciferous vegetables are:
- Collard Greens
- Bok choy
Lactose is the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Often, it can exacerbate your ulcerative colitis symptoms through abdominal pain and diarrhea. Not all people react to all dairy products in the same way, though, so be sure to monitor your dairy usage and see which dairy products might affect you in that way.
- Sugar-free gum
- Ice cream
- Certain fruits
- Specific fruit juices
Both alcohol and caffeine can shift anyone’s GI tract, regardless of whether or not they have ulcerative colitis. This is especially true when you are having an ulcerative colitis flare-up. Caffeine specifically can trigger diarrhea.
Typically, whole grains are a type of food you eat when you need more fiber. If you have ulcerative colitis, the incredible amount of fiber in whole grains can trigger symptoms. Examples of whole wheat are:
- Brown rice
Eating foods with certain types of fats has been linked with triggering and developing ulcerative colitis. This is due to how an acid called linoleic acid changes during your digestive process. Once it fully changes, it causes inflammation that starts to trigger your ulcerative colitis.
Foods that have these sorts of fats are:
- Red meat
- Corn oil
- Sunflower oils
- Fried food
- Greasy food
What foods often help with ulcerative colitis?
Alternatively, some of the foods that are commonly known to be a part of a diet that works with ulcerative colitis are:
- White bread
- Refined wheat breakfast cereals
- White rice
- Refined pasta and noodles
- Cooked vegetables
- Lean meat and fish
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Cleveland Clinic: "What Not to Eat If You Have Crohn's Disease."
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation: "What Should I Eat?"
Digestive Health Services: "The Worst Foods For Those With Ulcerative Colitis."
GI Society: "Role of Fats in ulcerative Colitis."
Mayo Clinic: "Whole grains: Hearty options for a healthy diet."
National Cancer Institute: "Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention."
NHS: "Living with Ulcerative colitis."
UCSF Health: "Nutrition Tips for Inflammatory Bowel Disease."
University Hospitals: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diet."
Top What Foods Trigger Ulcerative Colitis Related Articles
Can Ulcerative Colitis Be Cured With Surgery?Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the colon (the large bowel) characterized by frequent bloody diarrhea (10 to 30 episodes) throughout the day. Medicines can only reduce the intensity of its symptoms and surgery is the only option to cure it.
Can Ulcerative Colitis Be Healed?Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. While there's no known ulcerative colitis cure, treatment can help you manage your symptoms and let you lead a full life.
Crohn's Disease vs. Ulcerative Colitis (UC)Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that cause inflammation of part of or the entire digestive tract (GI). Crohn's affects the entire GI tract (from the mouth to the anus), while ulcerative colitis or ulcerative colitis only affects the large and small intestine and ilium. Researchers do not know the exact cause of either disease. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease also have a family member with the disease. Researchers believe that certain factors may play a role in causing UC. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis both have similar symptoms and signs, for example, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, episodic and/or persistent diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, joint pain and soreness, eye redness, or pain. Symptoms unique to Crohn’s disease include anemia and skin changes. Symptoms of unique to ulcerative colitis include, certain rashes, an urgency to defecate (have a bowel movement). Doctors diagnose both diseases with similar tests and procedures. While there is no cure for either disease, doctors and other health care professionals can help you treat disease flares, and manage your Crohn's or ulcerative colitis with medication, diet, nutritional supplements, and/or surgery.
How Do I Know if My Ulcerative Colitis Is Flaring?Ulcerative colitis happens when irritation and open sores appear in the large intestine. You know ulcerative colitis is flaring if you experience bloody stools, nausea and vomiting, frequent bowel movements and other symptoms.
How Long Does an Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Up Last?An ulcerative colitis flare-up can last a few days or a few weeks and then be followed by a remission that lasts for months or even years. How long a flare-up lasts depends on the severity of the disease, triggers and medication compliance.
Is Ulcerative Colitis an Autoimmune Disease?Ulcerative colitis (UC) is considered to be an autoimmune disease. With autoimmune disorders, your immune system goes awry and attacks your own body instead of defending it from infections and illnesses.
Is Ulcerative Colitis Curable?Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the inner lining of the large intestine (large bowel or colon) leading to erosion and ulcers. It is also associated with various manifestations outside of the colon, such as inflammation of the eyes, joints, skin, and lungs. Ulcerative colitis is a lifelong illness with no specific cause or cure. Patients have repeated cycles of flare-ups and disappearance of the disease.
Ulcerative Colitis QuizWhat is ulcerative colitis and what risks are associated with suffering over the long term? Take this Ulcerative Colitis Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful digestive disorder.
Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan
An ulcerative colitis diet plan can help a person with the disease avoid foods and drinks that trigger flares. There also are foods that can soothe ulcerative colitis symptoms during a flare. Types of ulcerative colitis plans include
- a high-calorie diet,
- a lactose-free diet,
- a low-fat diet,
- a low-fiber diet (low-residue diet), or
- a low-salt diet.
Self-management of ulcerative colitis using healthy lifestyle habits and a nutrient rich diet can be effective in management of the disease. Learn what foods to avoid that aggravate, and what foods help symptoms of the disease and increase bowel inflammation.
Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and is slightly different than Crohn's disease. Learn the causes, symptoms, diet, and treatment options associated with ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis SurgeryUlcerative colitis surgery is performed on approximately 25% to 40% of people with the disease. There are various types of ulcerative colitis. Complications of the surgery include pouch failure, intestinal blockage from adhesions, inflammation of the pouch, and more watery and frequent bowel movements.