Dietary Management of Colitis

Eat Plenty Of

  • Dietary Management of ColitisFruit and cooked green leafy vegetables for soluble fibre

  • Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel for vitamin D

  • Foods rich in beta carotene

  • Liver for vitamin A, unless pregnant


  • Bran, nuts, seeds and sweetcorn

  • Dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese, cream)

Soluble fibre found in fruits, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, and dried beans helps to lower cholesterol and prevent such diseases as colon cancer and diabetes.

Although diet cannot cure colitis- adjustments to the diet may help to reduce some of the symptoms to a more tolerable level. For example, a diet rich in soluble Fibre, is recommended for people who have colitis, although foods high in insoluble fibre, such as bran, nuts, seeds and sweet corn, are probably best avoided. The fibre may further irritate the colon, stimulate bowel contractions and so increase the likelihood of diarrhoea.

Colitis is an inflammatory disease of the colon or rectum. It affects about four to six people in 100 000, and is slightly more common in women than in men. The onset of ulcerative colitis peaks between the ages of 20 and 25 years. The prognosis for sufferers depends on the severity and duration of the active disease: when the disease is active, it produces swelling, bleeding and ulceration of the lining of the colon and causes pain and urgent diarrhoea. Although some 60 percent of sufferers have only a mild form of the disease, at least 30 percent will require surgical removal of part or all of the colon within the first three years. And as many as 97 percent of people who develop uncreative colitis will have at least one relapse over a ten-year period.

Dietary Management of ColitisAdequate nutrition is very important in colitis, especially if you are recovering from a flare-up or are reducing your intake of food in order to lessen diarrhoea. Care should therefore be taken to include adequate protein, calories, vitamins A, C, D, B12 and folate, calcium, iron and zinc. This means eating as wide a variety of foods as possible without exacerbating the inflammation. Eat liver once a week for extra vitamin A (except when pregnant) and orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables for beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Fresh or canned salmon, sardines and mackerel provide vitamin D. Liver, fish, pork and eggs are all good sources of B12; dark green leafy vegetables supply folate and  fruit, contain soluble fibre; cheese and yoghurt are good sources of calcium; and zinc is found in seafood, especially oysters.


Dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese, cream) must be avoided. In case, you just cannot live without these products, you can eat them but in reasonable quantities. Going overboard eating Dairy products may complicate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.


Active Colitis (Flare-up stage) is the time when your stool samples have traces of blood. And this is the time, you need to be extra careful with the food items that you intake. This is the time that you say “No” to cabbage family vegetables, onions, tomato seeds, mushrooms. All these are high-fiber content food items and when consumed, pass through the digestive tract without them being digested completely. This means that these food items adhere to the wall of the colon when it is inflamed which also causes colon irritation.


Anaemia  is a fairly common problem with ulcerative colitis, as there is often bleeding from the area of inflammation. It is important, therefore, to eat plenty of dietary iron. The most available form of iron is in red meat, especially liver. To help the body to absorb iron from vegetables, meals should contain a good source of vitamin C such as fresh orange juice.


All that you need to do is to ensure that you put these tips into practice is to adhere to them in your colitis diet plan. While simple colitis is nowhere near a life threatening disorder, its ulcerative form is more serious and needs to be managed by being given the attention of a proper diet.

Dated 09 March 2015


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