Foods to Avoid with an Inflamed Colon

When you’ve got an inflamed colon, you want to do your absolute best to avoid foods that will irritate your system. Whatever the cause, you want to eat easily digestible foods that will limit bowel movements to promote healing. However, it can hard to know what can make your colon worse off. Even some foods that are considered as “healthy” might exacerbate the problem. Let’s break it down.

 

First, remember to consult with your doctor about any dietary changes.

Foods to Avoid

Raw veggies and fruit: Certain types or parts of fruit and vegetables can upset your colon, causing intestinal distress. The fiber, a type of carb your body does not digest, is what makes these foods hard on someone with an inflamed colon. In addition to raw veggies and fruits, stay away from cooked kale, peas, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions and corn. Pineapple, figs, berries and certain dried fruit should be avoided.
Whole grains: Also a source of fiber, whole grains should be eliminated. No whole wheat bread or pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley or even popcorn.
Certain proteins: Tough meats, nuts and beans should be eliminated. The nuts and beans are sources of fiber and meats that are tough are also hard for your body to digest. Meat is fine if prepared the right way, so broil or braise your lean meat, fish or poultry to make them tender and softer.
Some drinks: While it’s pretty important to drink lots of fluids with an inflamed colon, avoid beverages that are carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic. You should also eliminate prune juice, fatty drinks and sugary drinks. Depending on your tolerance, however, a little bit of these types of beverages might be okay for your system.

 

It’s still important to eat a variety of things to fulfill daily nutritional requirements. From the list to avoid above, you may think it’d be hard to do. However, there are many foods out there that promote colon health. It’s all about finding foods that will work with your body, and consuming them in safe amounts. Here are some great foods to eat to promote a healthy colon:

 

Omega 3 fatty acids: These nutrients are naturally found in fish, and can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Beverages: Drinking more water can help keep you hydrated and feeling better. Sports drinks with electrolytes can be beneficial too. However, watch the sugar content. If a drink is too sugary, you can always mix one part water with one part sports drink.
Probiotics: Full of healthy bacteria, probiotics promote a healthy gut. Yogurt and hard cheeses are full of them, and these two foods are low in lactose. However, if you’re lactose-intolerant you might have to find another method of consuming probiotics, like a supplement.
Soft or processed produce: Not all veggies and fruit are hard for your body to digest. In limited quantities, steamed vegetables like broccoli, spinach and carrots are mild enough for your colon. Canned fruits and vegetables can also be gentle on your colon. The acidic base in the canned vegetables helps to diminish the insoluble fiber content. Canned peaches, pears, applesauce, green beans, etc. are all great alternatives to fresh produce. You can also experiment with a small amount of fruit and see how they affect your colon, avoiding the seeds and skins.

 

When your colon is inflamed, it can be hard to find the right foods to eat and which ones to avoid. Everybody is different, and some people may be more sensitive to certain foods than others. Consider the list above as your guide to eating with an inflamed colon and always remember to talk with your doctor about your diet.

 
Siamak Tabib, M.D. at Gastroenterology & Hepatology Clinic offer innovative treatments to improve patients’ quality of life. Located in Los Angeles, Dr. Tabib strives to provide the highest quality care to his patients with his state-of-the-art technology.

Living with Reflux

While it is normal to experience some Gastro-esophageal Reflux (GER), Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is something that needs to be addressed. GER is normal and occurs during and immediately after meals in infants, children, and adults. It is when the contents of the stomach wash up from the stomach into the esophagus and possibly even into the throat. This is why knowing the proper acid reflux diet is so important.

 

Acid reflux can be a painful condition and over time, it could be harmful to the esophagus and possible lead to esophageal cancer.

What is Actually Happening?

Acid reflux occurs when the esophageal sphincter, the circular muscle that closes off the esophagus from the stomach, loosens too easily and does not maintain its tone. This will allow gastric acid to flow back into the esophagus which can cause difficulty swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, hoarseness, and the feeling that there is a lump in your throat.

Acid Reflux Causes & Trigger Foods

Contrary to popular belief, it is not acidic and spicy foods that are the culprits for reflux. Because people have different tolerance levels for certain foods, acid and spice may exacerbate the condition for some but for the most part, they are not to blame.

 

There are fewer than 12 substances that have been scientifically proven to trigger GERD. Mint and anything containing mint oil, chocolate, deep-fried foods, coffee, and alcohol are among the foods that should be avoided if you suffer from GERD.

 

Chocolate and mint cause a chemical reaction that will cause the lower esophageal sphincter to loosen and this will trigger reflux. Foods that are greasy or high in saturated fat will slow down digestion which can also cause heartburn. Deep-fried foods are very hard to digest so they are the most likely to cause an issue with reflux.
Though spicy meals are not a cause of reflux, if you are experiencing reflux eating spicy food is not recommended during a reflux attack. Because the esophagus is irritated, the spicy food will burn on the way down.

Get Lots of Fiber

There is not a comprehensive list of foods you should or should not eat but if you experience reflux, including extra fiber in your acid reflux diet can help. Fiber aids in digestion so eat fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber as well as nuts and whole grains.

Ginger and Fennel

Ginger and fennel are also great for your acid reflux diet digestion. Research has shown that the ginger speeds up the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Ginger can be eaten in a variety of forms – fresh, dried, candied, or pickled. Fennel, thought to relieve bloating, is a high-fiber vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Food Preparation

Remember that food high in fat can contribute to the problem. Instead of frying food consider roasting, grilling, or poaching. If you do want to fry some things, use extra-virgin olive oil rather than butter or margarine.

Be Cautious with Dairy

Goat’s milk contains less fat and is easier to digest than cow’s milk. Take this into consideration when consuming milk or cheese in your acid reflux diet. If you love your cow’s milk dairy products, try to consume the reduced-fat and fat-free options.

Eat and Italian Diet

Italian’s seem to experience GERD far less than anyone else. The incidence is only 14.8% compared to 38% in most of northern Europe and 42% in the United States. Italians tend to eat smaller portions which means they will have less food in their stomach. Too much food in the stomach at one time can trigger an attack.

 

Italians coat their pasta lightly with sauce as opposed to piling it on and they also begin most meals with a serving of vegetable (there’s that fiber they need). For dessert, they will eat fresh fruit and after that they will enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood. Research shows that a slow walk after a meal will aid digestion.

 

For more information on GERD and how to deal with your acid reflux diet, you can contact the office of Siamak Tabib, M.D. who is a gastroenterologist and hepatolgist.