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.