Understanding inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis can be difficult, especially knowing what foods to eat.  An ulcerative colitis flare can be exacerbated when eating inflammatory foods.  Likewise, one can easily become nutrient deficient if there is a lack of variety in the diet. Here we look into some recommended foods to eat when you have an ulcerative colitis flare.

Your nutrition affects your overall health and well-being. When you do not get the proper nutrients, you can experience ulcerative colitis complications like weight loss, malnutrition, and nutritional deficiencies. Before we dive into the foods that you should eat, here are a few tips that can help improve your health and reduce the frequency of flare ups.

  • Eat multiple small meals each day rather than eating three large meals. Eating four or more smaller meals a day prevents you from overeating, which can overwork your digestive system and increase inflammation in your body.
  • Drink lots of fluids – Choose pure filtered water or organic broths to ensure you are getting enough fluids. It is advisable to drink one ounce of fluids for every two pounds of weight. You can check to see if you are properly hydrated by taking a look at your urine; it should be pale yellow to clear.Alkaline Water
  • Drink slowly – Avoid gulping down your drinks quickly or using a straw. Sucking using a straw can make you ingest air, which can increase gas in your digestive system.
  • Food Journal – Keep a food journal to help you identify any foods that trigger a flare up. Food journals should include everything you eat or drink throughout the day as well as any symptoms you experience. Remember, it can take two to three days for symptoms to show up. Although it may take several months, a food journal can help you find your food triggers.

Foods to Eat With Ulcerative Colitis

The CDC estimates that approximately 3 million American adults suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis. If you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, it is advisable to avoid high fiber foods like raw fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds. Some easy to digest foods for combating a ulcerative colitis flare are-

  • Applesauce – During an ulcerative colitis flare, your gastrointestinal system is seriously inflamed and irritated. Choosing easy to digest soft foods provides your body with antioxidants to helps quell inflammation. Ideally choose organic, unsweetened applesauce since added sugar is known to increase inflammation throughout the body, including the digestive tract.
  • Cooked Vegetables – Cooked vegetables like spinach and carrots are packed with vitamin A and vitamin K. Vegetables should be thoroughly cooked to help break down any fiber that could irritate your gastrointestinal tract. You want to cook your vegetables until they can be mashed with a fork.

Probiotics Builds Your Defense Against Toxic Chemicals

  • Yogurt – Yogurt provides you with an easy to digest protein and probiotics. The most beneficial yogurts contain active and live cultures. Avoid sweetened yogurt as it can increase inflammation. Finally, avoid yogurt that contains chunks of fruit because it can be difficult to digest; instead, choose smooth, seedless yogurt flavors.
  • Salmon – Salmon is an excellent source of easily digestible protein. Salmon also contains essential omega 3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation in the GI tract.
  • Peanut Butter – Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats that individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis can enjoy. Just be cautious of added sugars in peanut butter and other nut butters. Organic peanut butter is a good option, just make sure that the only ingredient is peanuts.
  • Avocados – Avocados are high in omega 3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados also contain antioxidants like vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamin C. These antioxidants promote healing.
  • Eggs – Eggs contain numerous essential nutrients, including easy to digest protein. Furthermore, there are eggs available that have been fortified with omega 3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation.
  • Antioxidant rich cherry juiceFruit Juices and Smoothies – During an ulcerative colitis flare, it can be difficult to get the nutrients that your body needs. Fruit juices and smoothies allow you to get your nutrients in easy to digest meals. For example, carrots contain loads of vitamin A, spinach contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate, and pineapple contains bromelain and vitamin C. Juicing these fruits and vegetables and mixing them with chia seeds, almond milk and Greek yogurt provides you with a soothing, yet nutritious shake.
  • Fluids – Ulcerative colitis can cause diarrhea, which can cause you to lose fluid and become dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water along with natural sports drinks and fruit juices can help to rehydrate the body.

One of the hardest things to do if you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis is to ensure you are getting the appropriate amount of nutrients your body needs. This is challenging since many foods can increase inflammation and worsen your symptoms. Eating easy to digest, nutrient dense foods is the first step towards optimal health.

Developing meal plans, eating four to six smaller meals each day, and avoiding irritating, high fiber foods are key to improving your overall gut health. Many people find that following a low FODMAP diet or another form of an elimination diet can ease their symptoms. We understand it may be confusing and frustrating navigating through a digestive disorder. Our integrative nutritionist can help you figure out a ulcerative colitis diet with the most healing foods specifically to reduce the risk of a flare and relieve your ulcerative colitis symptoms.