Finding the right foods to eat with colitis is an all-important first step in controlling this condition. Colitis is inflammation of the colon, an essential portion of the large bowel. It manifests in loose or diarrheic feces containing mucus or blood. It is generally the consequence of infection; however, it can be caused by allergic reactions to certain foods in your diet. Also, the overuse of antibiotics and laxatives can play a role in this condition.
A gentle colitis diet plan that is easy on the colon can contribute significantly to its cure. Therefore, the right foods to eat with colitis are also helpful in diarrhea and other stomach ailments. Wheat bran can cause colitis in constipated individuals who use it excessively as a laxative.
Top Foods to Eat With Colitis
1. VEGETABLES: The best foods to eat during colitis flare-ups are vegetables, including the green leafy kind, which are generally well accepted by the digestive system in colitis cases, and there is no reason for not eating them. It is preferable to eat them cooked. However, certain tender vegetables may be eaten raw in a salad. The soluble fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that vegetables provide help restore the colon’s mucosa.
2. ZUCCHINI: People with this condition always ask, “What food should I eat with colitis?” Well, one of the solutions to that problem is zucchini. This food is soothing to the intestine and the rest of the digestive tract. The benefits of this food are well tolerated in all types of colitis, including ulcerative colitis. Zucchini is an excellent addition to any Crohn’s and colitis diet, thanks to its mucilage content responsible for its soothing properties. This food is also beneficial in indigestion, gastritis, and irritable bowel cases.
3. IRON: Colitis usually results in anemia due to a lack of iron. Molasses, sesame, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of this mineral and are well tolerated in colitis cases. Pharmacological iron supplements, on the other hand, may irritate the intestine and aggravate the condition.
4. VITAMIN A: Vitamin A is essential to the cells’ health and forms the mucosa that lines the body’s hollow organs, such as the intestine.
Foods to Avoid With Colitis
2. REFINED BAKED GOODS: Refined baked goods made with white flour and sugar can worsen the condition by aggravating colitis symptoms; therefore, these foods should be avoided.
3. MILK: Milk worsens this condition’s symptoms because of the lactose it contains, which is well-digested by some people. Consumption of milk can lead to irritation and dysbacteriosis of the colon.
4. COFFEE: The essences that give coffee its aroma, which is also present in decaffeinated coffee, are exceptionally irritating to the intestinal mucosa. All coffee must be eliminated in cases of colitis.
Frequently Asked Question
What’s the difference between flares and remission?
Flares represent periods when your colitis symptoms actively worsen. They may involve increased rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, urgency, and fatigue. Remission is the goal of treatment, characterized by minimal or no symptoms, and indicates the disease is well-controlled.
I’m struggling with medication side effects. Are there alternatives?
Yes! Discuss your side effects openly with your gastroenterologist. It may be possible to adjust the dose, switch to a different medication within the same class, or explore a completely different category of drugs (e.g., switching from a biologic to an immunomodulator).
How does colitis impact my risk of colon cancer?
Long-standing, extensive colitis (especially ulcerative colitis) does increase colon cancer risk. This is why regular colonoscopies with closer surveillance intervals are crucial. Your doctor will personalize a screening plan based on your specific risk factors.
I’ve heard about the role of diet. What foods should I avoid?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all diet for colitis. The best approach is keeping a food diary during flares to identify triggers. Common culprits include dairy, high-fiber foods, fatty or greasy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Try working with a licensed dietitian specializing in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Is there a connection between stress and colitis symptoms?
While stress doesn’t directly cause colitis, it can exacerbate flares. Mind-body therapies like yoga, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy may be incredibly helpful in managing stress levels and minimizing their impact on your disease.
How realistic is the possibility of surgery?
For the majority of people with colitis, surgery is not inevitable. Successful management with medication is possible for many. However, sometimes complications like toxic megacolon, uncontrollable bleeding, or pre-cancerous changes (dysplasia) necessitate surgical intervention.
I’m considering getting pregnant. What do I need to know about colitis and pregnancy?
The good news is that most women with colitis have healthy pregnancies. It’s essential to plan your pregnancy with your gastroenterologist in advance to ensure your disease is in remission before conception. Close monitoring will be needed throughout your pregnancy.
DISCLAIMER: All content on this website is presented solely for educational and informational objectives. You should not rely on the information provided as a replacement for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified medical expert. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any preexisting medical concerns, you should talk to your doctor before using any herbal or natural medicines.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 159, 214, 311. Print. [foods to eat with colitis]
- Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/
- Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK): https://www.niddk.nih.gov/
- The American Journal of Gastroenterology: https://journals.lww.com/ajg/pages/default.aspx
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: https://academic.oup.com/ibdjournal
Last update on 2024-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API