Best Diet for Colitis Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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If you have colitis, the foods you eat—and the way you eat them--can help you stay comfortable and help your intestinal tract heal. It’s smart to avoid foods that can trigger diarrhea or make it worse, such as fake fats like Olestra; low- or no-calorie sweeteners like sorbitol and mannitol; caffeine and chocolate. One in five people with colitis is lactose-intolerant, meaning their bodies cannot digest the sugar in milk called lactase. Skipping milk or using types with predigested lactase can help. In one study, foods rich in sulfur or in sulfite additives increased risk for a colitis relapse. These include red meat, beer, wine and condiments.Fast Facts:
- Snack on yogurt with live, active cultures or take a probiotic supplement. Good bacteria can ease damaging inflammation in your digestive tract.
- Drink plenty of water—a half-ounce for every pound you weigh, daily. Heavy, frequent diarrhea can lead to dehydration when you have colitis.
- If eating a full meal triggers abdominal cramps, try eating several smaller meals each day instead of three large ones.
- Go slow with fiber. Soluble fiber can help soothe inflammation by nurturing beneficial bacteria. But too much fiber can trigger diarrhea.
- Having a relapse? Follow a bowel-calming low-residue diet: Clear liquids, white bread, soft vegetables. Ask a dietitian for more details.
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