What Diet Is Recommended for UC?
To help prevents flares and promote good gut health, follow this advice.
Arielle Leben M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a nutrition specialist at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at NYU Langone Health in New York City, share her recommendations for a gut-friendly diet if you have ulcerative colitis.
I like to present diet recommendations for ulcerative colitis in two parts. There is the first set of recommendations, which is the short-term diet. These recommendations are highly individualized and will depend on a lot of different factors, such as your current symptoms, the severity of the inflammation, whether you've had surgeries for ulcerative colitis, whether you've experienced weight loss or decrease in appetite. Often during this time, this is when we discuss modifications to fiber intake. Fiber from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meal sizes, and meal timing. This is where working with a registered dietitian can be really helpful to curate an individualized nutrition plan for you and be able to change that plan as symptoms change.
The second part of my diet recommendations that I like to go over are the long-term diets. Many diet modifications, such as starting a low-fiber diet or shifting to smaller, more frequent meals are temporary and they don't need to be continued long-term. As symptoms improve, as the ulcerative colitis gets under better control, there is no reason to restrict diet with the exception of known intolerances or allergies.
As the diet is able to expand and you're able to add more fiber and change the way you're eating. I do like to focus, though, on staying along with anti-inflammatory diet principles. This generally means trying to stay away from saturated fats, the more inflammatory types of fats that are commonly found in red meat, processed meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, etc. You want to stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and juices.
You want to focus on a variety of different fiber types, so various servings of fruits and vegetables. Focusing on healthy fats, the omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in fatty fish, in plant oils, in flax meal. There are some fortified foods such as eggs. And you want to focus mostly on eating real foods, understanding what it is that you're putting into your body. Trying to avoid thickeners, emulsifiers, dyes, artificial sweeteners, all of the non-food ingredients.