Ulcerative colitis is a type of chronic inflammatory disease that affects the colon and rectum and is accompanied by ulcers in the former organ. It is characterized by periods of flare-ups in symptoms like appetite loss, intense abdominal pain and discomfort, and diarrhea. The symptoms are not consistent throughout and it is believed that they can be managed or mismanaged by food. Here is a list of best and worst foods for ulcerative colitis (UC), which, along with a little experimentation, can help you come up with your own perfect meal plan:
- In: low fiber fruits; Out: high fiber fruits
While fruits are generally considered healthy, they can land you in trouble if you are living with UC, especially when you are experiencing a flare in your symptoms. Most fruits have a high amount of insoluble fibers which can lead to the condition worsening. Thankfully, bananas are low in fiber and are easily digestible. You can easily consume this fruit without adding to your troubles and replenish your body of the lost vitamins and minerals. Other low-fiber fruits you can consume include cantaloupes and honeydew melons.
- In: Salmon and Tuna; Out: Red Meat
Most patients with UC are advised to stay away from fatty foods as they can cause abdominal discomfort and pain. In order to have your fill of protein and stay safe from gas, it is better to stick to lean meat options. However, salmon and tuna, too, are highly recommended as the best foods for UC. These fishes are rich in omega-3, which is known to help the condition. Eggs, fish high in omega-3, and lean cuts of meats are safe sources of protein and fat and are also known to help with UC symptoms.
- In: Yogurt; Out: Lactose
Consumption of dairy and dairy products is known to be a common cause of abdominal gas, which can lead to the intensification of UC symptoms. It also leads to pain and bloating of the stomach in people who are lactose intolerant. The only exception to this is yogurt. Since yogurt is a fermented product with an abundant supply of “good” bacteria for the gut, it comes highly recommended. The amount of lactose in it is little to none; it is easily digestible, and works well in UC patients. Hence, while all dairy products land on the ‘avoid’ side of best and worst foods for UC, yogurt is the only one you should continue to consume.
- In: Fluids; Out: Alcohol, Caffeine, and Soda
The sulfates contained in alcohol or other packaged beverages, combined with the tonnes of sugar in them, are a certain way to experience flared symptoms. The carbonation and caffeine in sodas are no good either; they can cause just as much damage as the other two, if not more. As diarrhea is already a major symptom of UC, it is only smart to avoid all sugar-rich packaged beverages in favor of drinks like water or tomato juice. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut also prove to be on the good side of best and worst foods for UC.