Skip to content

    Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ulcerative Colitis: Find Your Trigger Foods

    Which foods cause problems for your ulcerative colitis (UC)? The answer is different for everyone.

    To figure out what makes you feel worse, do some detective work. For several weeks, keep a diary of what you eat and when you have flares. Then look for patterns. Avoid things that seem to cause cramps or a trip to the bathroom. See if your symptoms get better or go away.

    Recommended Related to Ulcerative Colitis

    7 Tips for Exercise Success With a GI Disorder

    She’s always been active, but when Megan Starshak began having gastrointestinal issues as a teenager, it put a serious cramp in her exercise routine. “I was running in Florida on spring break in high school, and all of a sudden, I had to go to the bathroom -- badly,” says Starshak, who's now in her early 30s and works in marketing in Milwaukee. “We found a bathroom, and by the end of the run, I had to go again... just as badly!” At first she thought she’d caught a bug, but the problem continued,...

    Read the 7 Tips for Exercise Success With a GI Disorder article > >

    Talk to your doctor about what you notice. Your goal should be to eat as many types of healthy food as you can, so your diet is as balanced as possible.

    Problem Foods

    Many people with UC have trouble with the same items. You may want to cut these out for a while and see if your symptoms ease up:

    • High-fiber fare like bran, nuts, seeds, and popcorn
    • Fatty, greasy items and sauces
    • Dairy products
    • Alcohol

    Better Choices

    Just because a food is on your problem list doesn't mean you have to give it up. You have choices.

    Try a switch from full-fat to low-fat dairy. Or tweak your cooking method -- bake or broil meats instead of frying them. Bake or stew vegetables rather than eating them raw or lightly cooked.

    You can also swap out items in the main food groups.

    Grains

    Common problem foods:

    • Whole-grain breads, bagels, rolls, crackers, cereals, and pasta
    • Brown or wild rice

    Better choices:

    • Products made from white or refined flour
    • White rice

    Vegetables and Fruits

    Common problem foods:

    • Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
    • Leafy greens, including mustard, turnip, and collard greens, and spinach
    • Most raw fruits
    • Raisins and other dried fruits
    • Canned cherries and berries

    Better choices:

    • Well-cooked vegetables without seeds
    • Ripe bananas, peeled apples, and melons
    • Soft, canned fruits without added sugar

    Meat and Protein

    Common problem foods:

    • Fried meats, such as sausage and bacon
    • Luncheon meats, like bologna and salami
    • Hot dogs
    • Dried beans, peas, and nuts

    Better choices:

    • Tender, well-cooked meats and poultry
    • Fish
    • Eggs

    Milk Products

    Common problem foods:

    • Whole milk
    • Half and half
    • Sour cream

    Better choices:

    • Buttermilk
    • Evaporated milk
    • Low-fat or skim milk
    • Powdered milk

    Today on WebMD

    basket of vegetables
    Article
    IBD Overview Slideshow
    Slideshow
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
    Slideshow
    what is ibs
    Article
     

    Supplements UC
    Video
    Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
    Tool
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet Yogurt
    Article
     

    Ulcerative Colitis Surgery
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Medications
    Article
     
    Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
    Article
    Picture Of The Intestines
    Image Collection