Healthy eating and being active
- Diet tips for people with ulcerative colitis
Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet is a good idea for anyone, but it can be especially important for those with ulcerative colitis (UC). People with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as UC can be at a greater risk for malnourishment. A nutritious diet can help prevent nutritional deficiencies.
For children, who are still growing, this is especially important. Your doctor may decide supplements of certain vitamins and minerals may be necessary for them to take.
You should also keep a close eye on your child’s weight and growth. Any weight loss or slowing of growth rate should be reported to the doctor.
- Avoiding "trigger foods"
While there is no evidence that a specific food or drink will cause a flare, many people with ulcerative colitis (UC) notice an increase in symptoms if they eat or drink certain things. Not every person with UC has the same "trigger foods," so discovering which foods you can or cannot eat may require a bit of trial and error.
The following is a list of common trigger foods, as well as options that may be better for people with UC. Using a food diary may make it easier for you to track your meals and discover if you have any trigger foods.
Possible trigger foods:
- Certain high-fiber foods, such as fiber-rich bread and nuts
- High-fat foods
- Greasy foods
- Spicy foods
- Raw fruits and vegetables (especially ones with skins)
- Dairy products
Foods less likely to cause a flare:
- Fruit juices
- Applesauce and bananas
- Bland, soft foods
- Plain cereals, white rice, and refined pastas
- Fully cooked vegetables and potatoes without skin
- Low-fat or lean protein sources, such as lean meats and fish
Ultimately, there isn’t one diet that works for everyone with UC. To find the best diet to help manage your UC, work with your doctor, a nutritionist, or another healthcare provider to create the meal plan that is right for you.
- The importance of staying active
Exercising and staying active are good ideas for most people, and that is the same for people with UC. An appropriate exercise plan will not only help you stay in shape but may also offer other health benefits.
Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. The following are guidelines you can use as you begin your routine:
- Find your comfort zone: If you're uncomfortable at a gym or your symptoms aren’t controlled, consider activities you can do at home, such as using a treadmill, an exercise video, or exercises that use your own body weight as resistance.
- Start slowly, and then build up gradually: When beginning to exercise, it may take up to a month or more to get to the point where you can start to increase your exercise level.
- Consider low-impact activities: People on long-term steroid medication may have some added risk as the medication may lower bone mass. High-impact aerobics or running may put too much stress on fragile bones, causing stress fractures or breaks. If you've been on steroids, try low-impact activities such as walking, biking, or swimming.