Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a bowel disease that causes painful ulcers in the digestive tract. Because this condition affects the large intestine, attention is directed towards the foods one eats. A few foods soothe this condition, while a few others feed the sores and intensify colitis symptoms.
There is no single diet that helps cure this intestinal condition, but eliminating some food items helps assuage symptoms and manage the situation better. Trial and error is the only way to identify the triggers. This article lists the worst foods that generally affect people experiencing this autoimmune disease.
High fiber foods
It is common knowledge that fibrous foods help in the right functioning of the digestive system. But in the case of ulcerative colitis patients, fibrous foods could increase bowel movements, and exacerbate painful sores in the colon and rectum. So fiber-rich foods must be avoided to decrease the number of visits to the bathroom. Also, these foods might escalate abdominal pain and bloating (because of gas), conditions that already exist in patients with this chronic condition.
Alcohol causes symptoms that are almost identical to ulcerative colitis in some people. Hence, consuming it would add fuel to the fire and make the condition more intense. The effects of beer and wine especially are detrimental to people suffering from ulcerative colitis because these beverages contain sulfates. Bacteria that live in the intestinal tract ferment this chemical into hydrogen sulfide. The fermentation process causes abdominal pain, gas, and excessive bowel movement. In patients with UC, the damage is double-fold. That is, all these are already present as symptoms of this chronic condition, and they become worse. Moreover, alcohol consumption could also cause a recurrence of the condition if a person is in remission.
By nature, spicy foods have the proclivity to cause diarrhea in some people. And, when a person suffering from ulcerative colitis eats hot foods, loose bowels become more frequent. Chilies, peppers, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cloves, or horseradish could improve the taste of the foods one eats. However, they aggravate skin irritation and cause a burning sensation in the already sensitive skin of the colon and rectum. Spicy foods increase the production of stomach acid, so the blisters that already exist become more painful.
A kind of sugar alcohol that is naturally produced by plants, sorbitol is found primarily in fruits. Apricots, apples, cherries, peaches, plums, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberries all contain sorbitol. Additionally, bakery products, frozen desserts, sugar-free gum, candies, and chocolates contain artificially created sorbitol. Apart from the fruits, the other foods are anyway unhealthy, so avoiding them is the best possible thing to do. While sorbitol does not add extra calories, it certainly damages the intestine. Dramatic, unexplained weight loss, stomach cramping and pain, and bowel problems could be because of the excessive use of this artificial sweetener.