Ulcerative colitis is when a chronic inflammation is present in the colon (large intestine), which is a part of our digestive system. This chronic inflammation causes ulcers or open sores to form. In most cases, people suffering from this condition do not display any symptoms, and even when warning signs do exist (such as fatigue, weight loss, loss of nutrients, joint pain), they will diminish on their own. Contrary to what most people believe, environmental factors contribute greatly to the development of this disease, not poor diet. But having said that, dietary modification can actually help lessen the effects caused by ulcerative colitis.
If you have ulcerative colitis, it is very important for you to modify your diet. Although there is no specific ulcerative colitis diet, many people find that avoiding or increasing the intake of certain foods can greatly reduce the symptoms.
People suffering from this condition should maintain a well balanced diet, preferably a balanced combination of complex carbohydrates, good fats, whole grains and protein. Soluble fiber is very helpful for this condition and is better than insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can be found in foods such as peeled apples, peeled potatoes, oat bran, and white rice; while insoluble fiber can be found in cabbage, wheat bran, sweet corn, and fruit and vegetable skins. You are advised to avoid insoluble fiber because it can't be digested by our body, and it will irritate the colon even more. Fish oils that come from sardines or any other oily fish will help you treat ulcerative colitis. The fatty acids contained in fish oils are believed to reduce inflammation in general. Do include more oily fish in your diet to help heal the ulcers in your colon. If you are a vegetarian, you can include dairy products or high protein plants in your diet. Soy products can be a good replacement for meat, fish, or poultry, and it gives the same benefits to the body.
As mentioned previously, poor diet is not the cause of ulcerative colitis. However, there are foods that may worsen inflammation or cause previously unseen symptoms to occur; these foods are often referred to as food triggers. The types of food that might be considered as food triggers vary among sufferers. One individual might be highly sensitive towards coffee or caffeine in general, while others are not. The most common foods which can cause further irritation are alcohol, carbonated beverages, popcorn, raw vegetables, nuts, pepper, or spicy foods in general.