Ulcerative colitis is the inflammation of the large intestine’s lining and the rectum. It is a long-term condition that causes diarrhea, stomach pain, and loose bowel movement. During flare-ups, a patient may need to go to the bathroom for a number two to six times a day, and there could be blood, mucus, or pus.
There are several ways to prevent symptoms from disrupting regular daily activities. Medications are available, and the patient can undergo surgery to deal with this condition. Moreover, a proper diet can accompany ulcerative colitis treatment.
Mindful eating can go a long way.
Since ulcerative colitis affects the digestive tract, the food the patient eats may cause some aggravation and problems to their condition. The common symptoms of this condition can cause a patient to lose energy as the body does not absorb the maximum number of vitamins and nutrients from the food.
What to take
- A low-fiber or low-residue diet will help lessen the need to empty one’s bowel since it reduces stool bulk in the large intestine. People on this diet can eat white bread, white rice, bananas, fish, poultry, etc.
- Food that contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid, is a “good fat” that aids in the prevention of a flare-up or inflammation. A popular source of this is fish oil.
- Probiotics are also recommended for people with this condition as it helps relieve inflammation. Yogurt is a good source for these healthy bacteria.
What to avoid
- Caffeine triggers the bowel movement since it is a stimulant, making the patient’s visit to the bathroom more frequent. The two most common sources of caffeine are coffee and soda.
- Alcohol negatively affects the protective molecule in the digestive system and “increase[s] bowel permeability.”Alcohol may also interfere with medications, leading to further complications and a decrease in the effectivity of medicines.
- Spicy food increases stomach acid, which can cause inflammation and pain in the digestive tract. According to research, 41% of people who took spicy food reported to have aggravated the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Other dietary advice that could help
There are a few different ways to manage the symptoms of this disease. While being mindful of what a patient eats is significant, other dietary practices can contribute to preventing inflammations.
- Smaller, more frequent meals can alleviate the stress on the digestive system. Taking 5-6 small meals throughout the day will ease digestion and avoid stomach pains.
- Hydration is essential for everyone, but patients with ulcerative colitis are prone to dehydration due to diarrhea and their frequent bowel movement. Water would be the best source of fluids as it does not contain chemicals and additives.
Ulcerative colitis may be a long-term condition, but there are ways to keep it manageable. Medications, paired with a healthy, balanced, and mindful diet, can avoid the aggravation of the affected areas. By having a low-fiber or low-residue diet and eating sources of EPA and probiotics, a patient can lessen the effects of this condition so that they can proceed to live a healthier life.