Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes irritation and ulcers in the lining of the colon. Ulcerative colitis symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and stomach pain. These symptoms can also occur with Crohn’s disease, which is another inflammatory bowel disease that is characterized by inflammation that can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. Avoiding the foods in this brief list can help ease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease:
1. Coffee or caffeine
Dehydration and stress hormones aggravate issues in the digestive system. Caffeine in coffee or other beverages usually results in more frequent urination, which may lead to dehydration. Dehydration is especially common with people who have diarrhea, a foremost symptom of IBD. Caffeine also raises stress hormones in the body, which makes blood turn away from the stomach. This redirection of blood flow can get in the way of proper digestion, which aggravates stomach pain and bloating even more.
2. Butter or margarine
Butter and margarine usually have lactose and a high amount of fat. Butter and margarine often contain lactose, which can worsen IBD symptoms. In addition, the fat in these foods can result in intestinal discomfort and irritation. This is because people with IBD often cannot fully absorb fat in the small intestine. However, each person’s body and condition is different. So you may want to experiment with how much and what types of margarine affect you.
Whole kernels are difficult to digest. Since the kernels tend to remain nearly intact as they go through the digestive system, consuming them results in stomach irritation and diarrhea for IBD patients. When the seed coating of the kernels passes through, it can also cause gas and pain. Because of this, eating foods like popcorn is generally not recommended during a flare-up. Cornmeal and grits, however, can usually be eaten since it is already broken up and easily digestible.
4. Dairy products
Lactose is hard on the digestive tract for some. Many IBD patients experience an increase in IBD symptoms when they consume milk products. This includes foods such as cheese, yogurt, cream and whey. This may be because some IBD patients cannot properly break down lactose, especially during a flare-up. But this is not the case with every patient, so it is recommended that you keep a food diary to see how these foods affect you and go from there.
5. Carbonated beverages
Sugar and carbonation often exacerbate IBD. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that carbonated drinks generated inflammation in the gut microbiome, and that avoiding those drinks resulted in a reduction of inflammation. Since consuming high levels of carbonation can cause bloating and discomfort, many people with IBD choose to abstain from carbonated drinks such as soda and sparkling water. Sugary sodas in particular can cause irritation in the digestive tract.