Squash & Nut Butter
Vegetables in general and squash, in particular, are a wonderful option for ulcerative colitis patients. Although, it is important to note that the fiber in squash can cause excess gas, which may lead to more digestive complications in some patients. Otherwise, it’s a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which can undo some of the inflammatory damage done by ulcerative colitis. If you have trouble digesting grains, you can even turn squash into a vegetable pasta.
Other vegetables that may be well-tolerated with ulcerative colitis include well-cooked cauliflower, carrots, string beans, pumpkin, eggplant, or sweet potatoes.
Nuts and seeds seem to be a controversial choice when it comes to an ulcerative colitis diet. Some experts suggest staying far from away from them, arguing that they don’t digest easily—due to their high fiber content and coarse texture. However, they’re a great source of protein, healthy fats, and a variety of other nutrients. So, choose nut butters to reduce your risk of digestive troubles. Peanut butter is the obvious choice, but almond, cashew, and hazelnut butters are becoming more popular as well. Always check labels before making a choice—some varieties add lots of extra sugar, which can be difficult to digest for ulcerative colitis patients.
Salmon & Yogurt
Some ulcerative colitis patients have found omega-3 fatty acids to be beneficial—particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which fights inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body.
A pilot study in 2011 found that the fish oil in salmon was a beneficial source of EPA for ulcerative colitis patients. Salmon is a tastier alternative to fish oil supplements, and it comes with a variety of other nutrients and health benefits. This is particularly important for ulcerative colitis patients, who often have issues with malnutrition due to their digestive problems.
Foods with probiotics help control the destructive bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. While probiotics can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt may be particularly beneficial for ulcerative colitis patients—assuming you aren’t lactose intolerant.
Unfortunately, the sugars some yogurt brands contain aren’t necessarily a benefit. So, always check the label before making a purchase—the less sugar you can find, the better. Unflavored yogurt that specifically states it contains “live, active cultures” on the label is the best choice.
Lean Meat & Eggs
Protein can be especially important for fighting inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis. However, choosing meats with a high-fat content can be rough on your digestive tract. When fat isn’t being absorbed properly, as with ulcerative colitis, it tends to lead to unusual and potentially dangerous bowel movements.
Instead, choose lean meats, like turkey, chicken, and even high-quality, low-fat cuts of beef. These options can provide you with the protein your body, and your bowels, need, without the unnecessary, fatty side effects.
Eggs are another protein option that often looks promising in ulcerative colitis diet studies. What’s more, not only are eggs a great source of protein, they’re also a good choice for B vitamins, selenium, and folic acid. When you’re struggling to keep a balanced diet, choosing fortified eggs can provide a healthy option for omega-3 fatty acids.
Low-Fiber Grains & Avocado
The aim for ulcerative colitis diets is to reduce “residue” in the digestive tract, which can aggravate the colon—a particularly bad source of residue is high-fiber food. Unfortunately, because of their other health benefits, high-fiber foods are virtually everywhere.
Luckily, with some research, you can avoid the pitfalls of too much fiber. There are low-fiber alternatives out there for numerous high-fiber products, like oatmeal. Instant oatmeal, in particular, can be a good choice for ulcerative colitis patients.
Your goal in choosing crackers, bread, pasta, and other carbohydrates is to look for things with a serving size containing less than a half a gram of fiber. However, be sure to supplement your diet with a variety of other foods, as low-fiber products are usually devoid of other important nutrients as well.
Avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Since ulcerative colitis puts you at such a risk for malnutrition, including this savory fruit in your diet is one of the best decisions you can make. While it’s delicious when eaten on its own, you can also use avocado to make healthy substitutions in your meals. For example, mashing one up and using it as an alternative to low-nutrient mayo on sandwiches.
However, you should eat avocado in moderation. Despite its many health benefits, it’s an incredibly high-fat food, which can cause digestive troubles for ulcerative colitis patients. Limit your intake to a few times a week in order to maximize your health benefits and minimize your risk of problems.
Featured Image: depositphotos/Syda_ProductionsPosted on May 5, 2023