Seven Nutrition Tips for Ulcerative Colitis Patients
UC is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive tract and hinders the absorption of nutrients into the body. For this reason, it is important to eat a diet high in many vitamins and minerals and to pay careful attention to which foods cause UC flares.
Variety in your diet: The temptation for people with UC and other bowel diseases is to eat a bland diet--which is often low in nutritional value. Instead, one should strive for a varied diet high in vitamins and minerals, while paying attention to which foods cause flares.
Keep a food journal: Because not all foods will cause the same issue in any two people, it is important to keep track of which foods create problems for you. The easiest way to do that is to keep a food journal. The journal can be as simple as writing down everything you eat and noting any adverse side effects. The journal is a good thing to take to doctor appointments as well.
Eat well, eat often: UC also hinders the body's ability to absorb calories, resulting in low body weight and malnutrition. Patients should strive to eat high-calorie and high-protein diets. Many people will eat three meals a day, plus two or three healthy snacks to stay nourished.
Supplements: While it is always preferable to get essential vitamins and minerals from food, some people may not be able to tolerate foods that are high in a particular nutrient. If nutrient gaps exist, it may be necessary to add supplements. Many people with UC need to add vitamin B12 and iron to their diets.
Common foods to avoid: While each person's particular food sensitivities will differ, there are a few foods that are more likely to cause problems for people with UC. These foods include: high-fiber foods (whole grains and raw fruits or veggies), dairy products, high-fat foods, caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
Stay hydrated: It is important for all people to stay hydrated, but especially those who suffer from UC or any other inflammatory bowel disease. This will help avoid dehydration, kidney problems, gallstones and a myriad of other issues aggravated by UC.
Pay attention to food sensitivities: As you get to know your condition and how you need to eat, keep in mind that food sensitivities can change. A food journal will be very useful in helping you and your doctor discern which foods cause you problems and under what circumstances.