There's no diet for ulcerative colitis. What you eat doesn't cause or cure UC. But eating a diet rich in nutrients may help you spend more time in remission and live a healthier life.
Malnutrition caused by ulcerative colitis is rare because vitamins, minerals, and proteins are absorbed in the small intestine, which isn't typically affected by UC. Still, eating a well-balanced diet with UC can be tricky.
When you have UC, the right treatment can ease your symptoms and give you fewer flares over time. Many therapies can help, but your options depend on how the condition affects you.
Most people take medications called aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) that fight swelling and irritation, also called inflammation, in the gut. It helps to avoid certain foods that trigger flares as well. But if your condition is more severe or those standard treatments stop working, you may need stronger drugs or surgery.
Keep a food diary to help you figure out which foods cause problems for you and whether or not you're getting enough nutrients.
If you're losing weight because of your ulcerative colitis, try eating five or six small meals and snacks during the day instead of two or three large meals.
When you have chronic diarrhea, drink plenty of water or other fluids to stay hydrated.
A dietitian can come up with a diet that meets your calorie and nutrient needs. Before you take any dietary supplements, talk to your doctor or dietician.
Avoid High-Fiber Foods?
You don't necessarily have to say good-bye to foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables because you have UC. Besides its nutritional benefits, fiber soaks up excess water and can firm stools.
Even if a high-fiber food seems to aggravate your UC symptoms during a flare-up, it may not when the flare passes. The only way to know if a particular food is a problem for you is to remove it from your diet and then gradually start eating it again.
Aim for 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Steaming, baking, or stewing fruits and vegetables before eating them may be easier on your digestive tract than eating them raw.
If your doctor has recommended a low-fiber diet, you may not be getting enough nutrients common in high-fiber foods. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you should take a supplement.