Diet Tips for Ulcerative Colitis

Wednesday 14 April 2021
Gastrointestinal Disorders
4 minute(s) read

Table of Contents


I. UC Symptoms

II. Avoid Whole Grains & Starches

III. Cook Your Fruits & Vegetables

IV. Try the Mediterranean Diet

V. Go Gluten-Free

VI. Continue Your Medication Routine


UC Symptoms 

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an unpleasant inflammatory bowel disease that can affect a person’s everyday life. No one wants to have a constant stomachache and worry about finding a restroom several times a day. Most people with UC have mild to moderate symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Rectal pain and rectal bleeding
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

UC can lead to life-threatening complications, so patients need to receive a proper treatment plan. Medrol (methylprednisolone), Lialda (mesalamine delayed-release), and Asacol (mesalamine) are medications used to improve symptoms. Canada Med Pharmacy offers discount ulcerative colitis medications that can be sent straight to your door. Along with these drugs, you also need to alter your diet habits for long-term UC management. Read on to learn some more about diet tips for ulcerative colitis. [1]

a woman holding her stomach

Avoid Whole Grains & Starches

UC often involves flare-ups mixed with remission periods. Certain foods are thought to trigger UC, especially fibrous foods. Whole grains and starches contain lots of fiber and can be more difficult for UC patients to digest. This is because flour is very fibrous and contains germ and bran. This may be confusing for some because whole grains are usually thought of as healthy options, but this is not the case for UC patients. You may want to avoid whole-grain versions of the following foods:

  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Macaroni
  • Bread
  • Noodles
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Wild rice 

If you are experiencing a flare-up, you may want to reach for low-fiber alternatives, including white bread and white rice. Enriched foods are more easily digestible because the fibrous endosperm, germ, and bran are removed. [2]

Cook Your Fruits & Vegetables

As seen above, fibrous materials can irritate UC and lead to ulcers in the stomach lining. Fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of fiber. Fruits and veggies are an essential part of a healthy diet, so it is difficult to avoid them altogether. You will want to avoid fruit that is raw, dried, or contains seeds that cannot be removed (berries). Luckily, you can still consume these foods if they are peeled, or if the flesh has been cooked until it is very soft. 

a woman cooking at a stove

When fruits and vegetables are cooked, the fiber breaks down and becomes easier for the intestines to process. It is okay to eat canned fruits or vegetables or pureed vegetable soups. When eating canned or prepackaged fruit, choose the type packed in water instead of sugary syrup. [2]

Try the Mediterranean Diet 

Nutritionists recommend the Mediterranean diet for many health conditions. This diet involves traditional Mediterranean foods, like fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. Of course, some of these foods may be triggers for UC patients, so you may need to tailor them to your treatment plan. This diet also focuses on fish and poultry and aims to limit the consumption of red meat and cured meats.

If your symptoms are more severe, you may want to try this diet during a period of remission to see how your body reacts. It is important to remember that having a stomach condition does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of nutritious foods. [3]

Go Gluten-Free

Doctors may have a hard time diagnosing the exact cause of your UC. For some, it may be an autoimmune reaction, but there are several reasons why you may begin to experience UC symptoms. Gluten intolerance often involves similar symptoms, so you may want to cut out gluten to see if it makes a difference during a flare-up. 

baked goods on a metal tray

Gluten is the protein that is found in certain wheat, barley, and rye products. It is a large protein that is difficult to digest, especially for those whose immune systems cannot deal with complex proteins. There is no connection between UC and gluten intolerance, but UC treatment's goal is to restrict certain foods to see which foods create adverse side effects. If you think your UC may be related to gluten products, quit gluten for a trial period to see if your symptoms improve. [3]

Continue Your Medication Routine 

Finding out which foods affect your UC is an integral part of an ulcerative colitis treatment plan. But for many people, medications are required alongside dietary changes for symptom management. If you want to change your diet, talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle. Taking Medrol (methylprednisolone), Lialda (mesalamine delayed-release), or Asacol (mesalamine) can help suppress symptoms and prevent further complications. Talk to your doctor about treating UC today.  [1]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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