Thursday, August 22, 2013

Colitis Diet Foods

Colitis is a disease that causes inflammation in the intestines and other areas of the body. A person with colitis can have frequent flare ups that involve gastrointestinal distress, cramping, body aches, exhaustion and diarrhea with bleeding that can be overpowering. Colitis patients have a real struggle trying to find foods that are beneficial to their systems. The over active immune system of the colitis patient and daily bouts of diarrhea coupled with blood loss during an active flare up drain the body of major nutritional needs, such as iron and vitamin B-12.


    There is no set diet for a person that lives with colitis. Individual colitis patients struggle with specific foods. Each person with colitis finds that certain foods trigger cramps and diarrhea. These triggers can even change, meal by meal. Diets that claim to be structured for colitis patients may very well work for some people, but not all.


    It is important for people with colitis to meet their basic nutritional needs. It is good to eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours during waking hours. Do not be surprised if you wake up hungry during the night, especially after a day with an over active bowel. Drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day is essential because colitis can be a very dehydrating condition.
    In general a person in good health should have 25 grams of fiber a day. Colitis patients should consume 20 grams of refined fiber a day. During a flare up, it is good to eat 2 grams of fiber per serving of low fiber foods. Refined fiber foods include white breads, white rice and white pastas.
    Basic nutritional needs include low fat dairy products with calcium and vitamin D, lean meat and proteins. Eat poultry, fish, canned fruit and cooked vegetables as tolerated. When the body is not involved in an active flare up, add tomatoes, oranges, cooked greens, potassium rich bananas, soy beans and grapefruit into your diet. Some individuals with colitis find that acidic fruits and juices cause them discomfort, so start with a segment or two of an orange with a meal to see if you can tolerate it. You may need to supplement with vitamin C tablets.
    A colitis patient should try to bring good bacteria into the intestinal system with yogurts, buttermilk, acidophilus and the flavored liquid yogurt like drink, kefir.
    It is wise for a colitis patient to keep a food diary. Record daily intake of foods and try to pinpoint which ones cause symptoms. This is also helpful when you have a check up with your gastroenterologist. Make notations when you have symptoms, bouts of diarrhea, number of movements and if blood was present.


    A colitis patient must actively figure out what foods affect them. Certain foods are going to cause pain and symptoms. Milk products can cause cramping and diarrhea within minutes for some patients, while others are able to tolerate dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, apples, potato skins, dried fruit, nuts and beans can be sources or triggers for painful symptoms. In general the peelings are the trigger as roughage or fiber can cause gas.
    Caffeine can increase loss of fluids in your system and should be avoided. A colitis patient should also avoid high fiber whole wheat breads, cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Beets should be omitted from the diet during a flare up. They can cause stools to be red, which masks any blood that could show up.
    It is advisable to have foods with high iron content in your diet when you can tolerate them. It is another factor to record in the food diary. Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol, as they are known to cause diarrhea in people who do not have colitis and could cause further complications for a colitis sufferer.


    In colitis patients, the bowel evacuates foods before much of the nutritional value can be absorbed into the system. There are times that the active episodes will leave you feeling drained and cold. Hot drinks and white toast can help gain some strength and warmth until you are able to eat more substantive foods. There is a possibility of weight loss with flare ups. You may also experience an unending appetite when you are on prednisone so you must also be careful with food intake.


    The person with colitis may need supplements. Your doctor may prescribe iron tablets and vitamin B-12 shots to help. B-12 deficiency and leaves patients susceptible to falls and serious injury.
    You may need to seek out the professional advice of a nutritionist that works with colitis and people with Crohn's disease. The American Dietetic Association has a link at their website where you can search for a nutritionist within your area code. Make sure the individual you choose is familiar with the condition and has worked with colitis patients.


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