Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. People who suffer from it can experience bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or an inability to move the bowels. While the inflammation of the intestine is not necessarily caused by the foods a person eats, some people may have a worsening of symptoms after eating dairy products or foods that commonly cause gas. The best diet for colitis may be one that avoids too much fiber, dairy, and alcohol, and that includes plenty of protein, refined grains, and healthy fats. An effective meal plan may require that a person trade in three larger meals for five or six small ones each day.
When coming up with the best diet for colitis, a person should record everything he consumes and note any symptoms he experienced after eating a certain food so that he can avoid it in future. Some people may find that it's best to avoid dairy products. Lactose in milk and other dairy products can make symptoms flare up. In some cases, taking lactase may help calm the condition.
Some people also benefit from restricting their fiber intake. Fiber can be beneficial for some colitis sufferers but can also trigger symptoms in others. A person with colitis may want to experiment with the amount and type of fiber he eats. For instance, if eating raw vegetables makes a person's colitis worse, he may want to avoid them. He should try peeling vegetables and fruits before eating them and gently cooking them.
Whole grains, such as wheat bread and brown rice, should also be avoided on a restricted fiber diet. Other foods to avoid include nuts and beans. A person on a low fiber diet can eat meat, but should avoid tough, gristly cuts.
Some people find that soda and alcohol trigger colitis symptoms and have to eliminate those beverages from their diets. In place of soda and alcohol, a person should make sure to drink plenty of water to keep his symptoms under control. Some patients may be placed on a clear liquid only diet after a serious flare up or surgery. Those patients should consume only clear liquids such as broth, decaffeinated tea, and light colored, non-citrus juice.
When making changes to his diet, a person should consult a nutritionist to make sure he is still getting the nutrients his body needs to function properly. Some people may need to take a multivitamin to make up for the amount of food they have cut from their diets. Calcium supplements may be required by people who have cut dairy from their lives.