It is not thought that any particular food causes Ulcerative Colitis, but many sufferers find that a change in diet can help them manage their symptoms during a flare up. These will vary from patient to patient so while there are some good Ulcerative Colitis diet ideas, it is likely to be a process of trial and error for each individual to find what works best for them.
An Ulcerative Colitis diet tends to be one which is low residue or low fibre. As this will reduce the frequency and amount of stools which are passed, it may ease the symptoms. White or refined versions of cereals are the best options such as white bread, non-wholegrain breakfast cereals, white rice and refined pasta. Lean meat, fish and eggs are valuable sources of protein which should be fine to eat. Avoid raw vegetables and ensure that the peel, seeds and stalks are removed from cooked vegetables. It is a good idea to avoid dried fruit, nuts, beans or anything else high in fibre. Fatty food and alcohol too may increase the severity of the flare up.
There is some research to suggest that omega-3 fatty acid may ease the symptoms. Oily fish is a good source of this. Probiotic yogurt with gut healthy bacteria may also help reduce the inflammation in the colon.
As well as the type of food eaten, it may help to change dietary habits while on an Ulcerative Colitis diet. Rather than eating three meals a day, it may help to eat five or six smaller meals. With diarrhoea being a common symptom of Ulcerative Colitis, it is easy to become dehydrated during a flare up, so it may be necessary to increase water intake.
As an effective Ulcerative Colitis diet will vary from person to person, it is worth keeping a food diary to monitor how different foods affect the symptoms. Before making significant dietary changes it is worth discussing them with a doctor to ensure the diet contains enough nutrients. If getting insufficient nutrients the doctor may recommend supplements such as folic acid, vitamin B12 and calcium.