Whilst there appears little connection between a poor quality diet and the diagnosis of colitis, diet does have a significant role to play during both periods of flare up and remission. Through careful awareness of the effects of diet on the bowel, a sufferer can still enjoy a varied diet for colitis whilst in remission and another for periods of attack that will not compound the symptoms.
It is often the case that as soon as people hear about the medical condition of colitis they immediately conclude that a sufferer's diet will have to change beyond recognition and that all fibre should be eliminated. They view fibre as the last food group that a sufferer should inflict on their ulcerated large colon. This common misunderstanding could not be further from reality as it should be recognised that there are actually two distinct types of fibre.
The two types of fibre have differing effects on someone diagnosed with colitis. Soluble fibre is in fact helpful for colitis and should be encouraged in its use as it is broken down and digested in the large colon. The result of this is the production of soft stools and has the benefit of not producing the type of particles that can adhere to the wall of the large colon and ultimately cause inflammation. Included in the variety of soluble fibre that a colitis sufferer can eat are fruits such as apples and pears plus root vegetables including potatoes and carrots. Just remember that they must all be peeled to avoid the problematic fibre in the skins. Oat bran can be eaten such as porridge plus the use of white rice in savoury dishes.
In complete contrast to this, insoluble fibre can have the unfortunate affect of inflaming colitis and thus steps should be taken to avoid it if possible. The difference is that this type of fibre passes through the entire digestive tract without being digested. The result of this is that there is a tendency for it to adhere to the wall of the large colon. This can have the effect of irritating it and thus increase the chance of aggravating the ulceration. This is particularly important to avoid during the period of a flare up. A high fibre diet is made up of insolubles and includes the peel of fruits and vegetables plus broccoli, cabbage and sweet corn. You should be aware that wheat bran which is found in wholemeal bread and several breakfast cereals should be avoided.
Another beneficial food group to include in a diet for colitis is fish oils especially from oily fish such as sardines. It is acknowledged that fish oil has a beneficial effect in reducing inflammation generally plus also it is a soluble foodstuff that easily passes through the bowel. It should be noted that eating actual fish rather than fish oil supplements will be far more beneficial to the colitis sufferer.
Plus also, another factor in a diet for colitis that should be examined is the amount of consumption of dairy products such as milk, cream and cheese. Whilst it is not essential to eliminate this food group from the diet, it is well advised to lower present consumption to reduce the chance of the build up of lactose in the colon, which unfortunately has the effect of encouraging the production of unhelpful bacteria that can result in inflammation.
It should be recognised that an effective diet for colitis does not necessarily suggest a heavily restricted choice. In fact, when in remission, the sufferer can enjoy a diet as close to normal as possible though this has to change when a flare up occurs. It is then that there has to be even more vigilance about what is eaten and the resultant effect it has on the bowel activity.