Colitis is an uncomfortable and often painful condition, which describes inflammation of the colon. It can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis), but there are other triggers including infection, a virus and allergic reactions. The condition can be difficult for sufferers to live with.
The good news is there are ways of managing colitis, and diet is one of them. Here, we will look at the best diet for colitis sufferers.
How can diet help to control colitis?
During the digestive process, the colon absorbs excess fluids. However, colitis interferes with this process, meaning some excess fluids are left over. This can result in diarrhoea, alongside other unpleasant side effects. Your diet can help to ease the symptoms of diarrhoea and other colitis symptoms.
Unlike those with Crohn’s disease, colitis sufferers don’t need to worry too much about malnutrition. This is because the condition doesn’t affect the digestion of your food within the small intestine. However, it is still important to eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. So, what type of foods should you be eating if you suffer with colitis?
Monitor your fibre consumption
Fibre is typically recommended to treat a number of conditions. However, in colitis too much fibre can actually cause the condition to worsen. If your diet is too high in fibre, you may start to get more cramping and contractions.
It is recommended a low-fibre diet is followed. This means sufferers should limit their wholegrain and raw fruits and vegetable intake. There aren’t any specific daily intake recommendations to follow. Instead, patients should experiment with their daily fibre levels until they find what works for them.
When you have a bowel disease, staying hydrated becomes increasingly important. This is because frequent diarrhoea is common, leading to fluid loss. If you don’t drink enough water, it can affect the kidney function and lead to a feeling of weakness. So, make sure you are staying hydrated and replenishing any fluid lost through bouts of diarrhoea.
Things to consider
As well as sticking to a low-fibre diet and staying hydrated, there are a few other things to consider. Limiting the foods which cause you gas is also a good step to take. This includes things like sugary drinks and limiting your alcohol intake.
Research has shown that probiotic rich yoghurts can be great for digestive health. Consuming a probiotic each day could help to keep unpleasant side effects under control. To help ease inflammation, you can also increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This is found in foods such as oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds.
There is also evidence to suggest that limiting, or cutting out dairy products, can help ease the symptoms of colitis. Try switching to non-dairy equivalents for reduced gas and bloating.
Overall, diet can play a large role in the treatment of colitis. While it won’t eliminate the condition, the right diet will help to make the symptoms more bearable and improve the sufferer’s quality of life.
If you think you may have symptoms of colitis, contact Alan Woodward for a consultation.