Ulcerative Colitis is an idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease in which chronic inflammation develops in the large intestine. Usually, only the inner surface layer of the colon and rectum is affected and the main symptoms are diarrhea with mucus or blood, as well as abdominal pain.
Some changes in the patient’s daily eating habits can be effective in managing the symptoms of the disease and reducing exacerbations.
Include vitamins, minerals and protein in your diet
Ulcerative Colitis, especially during periods of exacerbation, can significantly reduce the absorption of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Therefore, a balanced nutrition contributes greatly to the promotion of the proper function of the body in patients with Ulcerative Colitis. It is recommended to eat foods rich in protein. Good sources of protein include chicken, turkey and fish.
Increase your intake of iron and Vitamins D, C and A D, C και A
Include iron-rich foods in your daily routine to avoid the risk of anemia, especially in cases of blood in the stool. In fact, the combination of eating foods with increased content of Vitamin C is recommended, in order to enhance the absorption of iron. Furthermore, it is very important to eat foods rich in Vitamins D and A to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Eat eggs and foods rich in Ω3 fatty acids
Egg consumption is recommended for patients with Ulcerative Colitis, as it is a food that contains a variety of nutrients, while it is also considered digestible. Also, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish) have anti-inflammatory operation and promote proper gastrointestinal function.
Reduce the amount of fiber
Absorption of fiber from the intestine cannot take place, resulting in possible swelling and intestinal spasms. Therefore, foods high in fiber (wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, legumes) are recommended to be consumed in moderation.
Limit the consumption of dairy products
Dairy products are sometimes responsible for causing bloating, diarrhea and flatulence, especially if someone is lactose intolerant. Instead, it is advisable to consume low-fat yogurt, which contain probiotics, “friendly” bacteria that promote digestion.
Avoid fatty foods
Some high-fat foods, such as butter, heavy cream, and mayonnaise, may induce diarrhea. In particular, it is recommended to reduce the consumption of red meat, as it cannot be easily metabolized, resulting in worsening of the symptoms of the disease, especially in phases of exacerbation.
Reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages
It is recommended to limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine, as they intensify the stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract and may increase the occurrence of diarrhea. The gastrointestinal tract is also irritated by the consumption of carbonates.
Avoid fried, spicy, processed foods and low-fat sweets
Consumption of fried and spicy foods is contraindicated for those suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, because they intensify the irritation of the colon (lower part of the intestine). It is also recommended to avoid the consumption of yeast products, processed foods and simple carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, cookies, etc.). In fact, the consumption of light sweets is not recommended, because they usually contain servitol, a substance that leads to diarrhea.
Eat small and frequent meals and get enough hydration
It is recommended to divide the food into more and smaller meals, usually 5-6 times a day, so that the stomach does not remain empty for many hours. In addition, patients with Ulcerative Colitis are at increased risk of dehydration due to diarrhea. Therefore, it is necessary to consume 10-12 glasses per day, especially during periods of exacerbation, in order to compensate for water loss.
The role of Functional Medicine in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
Functional nutrition is a nutritional approach based on the individualization of problems. Based on the individual genetic background, test scores, lifestyle and above all the biodiversity of each, a fully personalized diet plan is provided. Additional factors are evaluated, such as the health of the intestinal microbiome, the quality of sleep, the hormonal complexity of the body, as well as stress.
The normal process of digestion can be affected, due to stress, resulting in the secretion of more acids from the stomach. In fact, stress contributes to the acceleration or deceleration of the passage through the intestinal tract and may lead to changes in the intestinal tissue. Thus, a Nutritionist who follows the Functional Nutrition approach can help eliminate stress by suggesting the inclusion of various foods or nutritional supplements in the daily diet.
To achieve all this, specialized diagnostic tests at a molecular level are performed, which detect the real causes of the disease, investigating the hormonal and metabolic state of the body. A genetic test can be also performed, which analyzes 384 genetic variants, in order to better understand the human body and how to provide the nutrients it really needs.
Based on the diagnostic findings, individualized treatment protocols are formulated, which may include micronutrients and hormonal rehabilitation with Natural (Bioidentical) hormones, in order to restore the body’s hormonal balance and correct any deficiencies. In addition to diet, a physical exercise program is provided, under medical supervision, with the aim of normalizing intestinal function.
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