Are there any diet tips for dealing with colitis?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
Shayna1 asked...

Are there any diet tips for dealing with colitis?


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

Good nutrition is important for all of us, however for those managing an inflammatory bowel condition (IBD) such as colitis it is even more so. A health body will respond better to any treatment that may be necessary.

What to eat and when depends upon the symptoms are having. If your symptoms are mild, a healthy diet along with regular check ups is advised. If symptoms are moderate there may be a need to make some dietary adjustments. The traditional American diet is based on highly processed foods, many of which may be irritating to the digestive tract and/or contain potential allergens which interfere with the healing process necessary during a flare of colitis. Recovery is aided by choosing easily digested and nutrient rich foods, identifying foods that are potential triggers, eliminating them from the diet, and addressing any underlying deficiencies due to malabsorption. During an active flare a low fiber diet is recommended, and an elimination diet (if you have not done this in the past) will help to identify triggers. It is advisable to work with an experienced physician or nutritionist practiced in these matters. Here are some general guidelines that may help:

  1. Identify and eliminate allergenic foods from the diet. A food journal to track what you eat and how you feel afterwards will help with this.
  2. Replace processed foods with a whole foods diet that emphasizes seafood, poultry, eggs, plant foods including beans, whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables,
  3. Avoid those foods that are known to be highly allergenic including dairy and wheat products and see if your symptoms improve.
  4. Shifts fats to include more monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocado, and nuts/nut butters.
  5. During remission consume a high fiber diet rich in dark green, and orange vegetables; 1-2 servings of fruit, cooked if raw is not well tolerated.
  6. Limit your intake of beverages that contain known irritants such as alcohol, caffeine and sorbitol. Increase your intake of water daily.