Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. This disease affects the innermost lining of your large intestine and rectum. At times, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating. The symptoms can be disruptive to your daily routine and can cause embarrassment at times. Here are some tips on how to manage ulcerative colitis flare-ups.
- Avoid dairy and animal fats.
While no evidence supports the notion that diet directly causes ulcerative colitis, certain foods can aggravate the symptoms. Some common foods that can cause issues are dairy products. Milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and other such foods can increase diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas. If these are some of the staples in your life, cut them out immediately. Animal fats also strain the digestive system and can increase flare-ups.
- Consume colitis-friendly foods.
Aim for foods that are good for your body and condition. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fantastic for your heart and colon. Salmon, albacore tuna, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and ground flaxseed are good options. Avocados are also a great choice due to the monounsaturated fat. Avocados are a great alternative for mayo. Lean meats can be an option for protein. A lot of saturated fat can cause issues in the digestive tract, so choosing lean cuts of meat can decrease flare-ups. Skinless poultry, pork or beef top loin, sirloin and roasts are perfect low-fat choices.
- Moderate your fiber intake.
While high amounts of fiber are great for some people and can provide an excellent source of nutrition, they can be bad for people that suffer from ulcerative colitis. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can make your symptoms worse, causing cause pain, cramping, gas, and diarrhea. Eating nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn may also aggravate your colon. Skip these foods when possible. When it isn’t possible, steam, bake, roast, or grill your favorite produce.
- Eat smaller meals.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day gives your digestive system a break from larger meals. Eating a well-portioned, healthy, and balanced meal is better than eating a large meal three times a day. Aiming for five to six smaller meals a day can improve or possibly even eliminate symptoms.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
Drinking plenty of liquids is essential for your body to function. While drinking some juice is acceptable, the best thing for you to drink with ulcerative colitis is water. Drinking eight glasses of water is plenty of liquids and will decrease symptom appearance. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks. These can decrease the amount of liquid in your body and cause you to become dehydrated, which can cause worsen ulcerative colitis symptoms. If you must drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks, consider drinking 8 ounces of water per every 8 ounces of caffeine or alcohol you consume.
- Exercise regularly.
Stress can cause symptoms to ulcerative colitis flare-ups. Participating in regular physical exercise can reduce tension and relieve stress. Frequent activity also keeps your bowels functioning normally. Mild exercises like walking 10 to 15 minutes a day can make a difference. Biking, walking, yoga, and swimming are all excellent choices. If you're unsure of what exercises are best, speak to your doctor and create an exercise plan.