Several studies have shown that there are few links between diet and ulcerative colitis. It was thought that unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices could cause colitis but medical experts now agree that this isn't the case.
However, diet is still relevant to colitis as it can help reduce flare-ups in those that have the condition. It's by no means a magic cure but it can make a difference.
The type of diet recommended for colitis sufferers is largely the same healthy, balanced diet that we should all be following. Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are preferable to fast food, fatty meats, and processed meals.
However, the one main difference between a colitis diet and a regular healthy diet is the consumption of fibre. People with ulcerative colitis should avoid too much insoluble fibre such as that found in wheat bran, wholemeal bread, cabbage, broccoli, and sweet corn. This type of fibre passes through the the digestive tract without being digested, and as a result can stick to to the wall of the colon when it's inflamed. Irritation can develop, thus making the symptoms of colitis significantly worse.
Soluble fibre, on the other hand, should form a key part of a colitis diet. This type of fibre is easily digested, and therefore helps produce regular bowel movements. Soluble fibre foods include fruits and vegetables without their peels, white rice and oat bran.
Fish oils are also believed to be beneficial for ulcerative colitis as they can help reduce inflammation. A diet comprising three of four portions of oil fish each week can substantially reduce the symptoms of colitis.
Dairy produces, particular those that are high in fat, should be avoided as much as possible if you have colitis. Too much lactose can build up in the colon,causing further irritation. Lactose free milk is a great alternative.
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