Published: 10/01/2015 - Updated: 05/18/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Useful advice for controlling colitis. Ulcerative colitis often times can be one of those diseases that makes us feel impotent, yet with a few changes in your life style and your diet, you can control the symptoms and thereby avoid a crisis.
Dietary advice for controlling colitis
When talking about ulcerative colitis, there’s not much information about what causes it. But we have established that this is an autoimmune disease, and currently there is no definitive cure. However, it is a controllable disease, that can go “inactive”, if you will, for a prolonged period of time, even years.
Up until now, we still do not know for sure what causes colitis crises. However, we do know that some foods could worsen the situation and symptoms, which is why is is a good idea that you know them, to be able to avoid them.
You need to pay attention to the foods that you notice worsen your symptoms whenever you’re going to a colitis “outbreak”, which are generally the following foods:
Dairy: Especially if you are lactose intolerant. This can cause abdominal swelling, pain and gas.
Dietary fiber: although it is recommendable in the daily diet as a nutrient, you must consume it in moderation. Whenever you are experiencing colitis symptoms, try to avoid it. Consuming it could cause inflammation, pain and gas.
Legumes: beans, lentils, etc., are not recommended when experiencing pain.
Other foods: some beverages that contain caffeine should be avoided, as well as raw fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and others that could be problematic.
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More dietary advice: drink sufficient water throughout the day, as this will help you stay hydrated and will promote toxin elimination.
Eating your food in small portions is also a good idea. Avoid large meals, divide them into several portions throughout the day to help your digestion.
Lastly, include multivitamins. If you continually suffer from colitis, this situation could be interfering with your nutrient absorption. That’s why it is a good idea to consider multivitamins, to prevent any sort of deficiency.
Stress: an important factor
Stress is not what causes this inflammatory intestinal disease, but it has been shown to cause a worsening of symptoms. It has also been suggested that it could unleash a crisis (a period in which you experience active colitis symptoms).
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Although you can’t always avoid stress, you can counteract its effects. Bellow are a few pieces of advice to help you do so:
Exercise: exercise can alleviate daily stress. Even moderate exercise, like walking outdoors, can also help to normalize intestinal functions.
Biofeedback: Is a therapy that helps reduce muscular tension and also reduces cardiac frequency, relaxing the patient and helping him/her confront daily stress.
Do activities that you enjoy: Reed, listen to music, paint, or even take a hot water bath. these activities help us clear our minds and release daily stress.
Plant-based remedies to control colitis
Some plants are useful for treating and controlling colitis symptoms. However, you need to remember that these are supplementary to the rest of our advice, and it is not a definitive cure.
We recommend consuming these remedies under expert supervision as they can interact with medications that you are already taking.
Psyllium seed: a study showed that including psyllium in treatment of ulcerative colitis kept it in remission for quite a long time. However, more tests are still required to determine its efficacy. Other seeds that seem useful include linseed, or oat bran.
Turmeric: Studies have shown that turmeric can help reduce colitis symptoms, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Marshmallow tea: Has emollient properties, which helps reduce inflammation. We recommend drinking 3 cups a day to notice the benefits, however this is not recommended for individuals with diabetes.
Chamomile: is frequently studied to alleviate symptoms related to digestion, and also helps fight stress. We recommend drinking 3 cups a day.
Acupuncture to treat colitis
Acupuncture is a technique that belongs to Traditional Chinese Medicine, whereby needles are inserted into effective points to bring about a therapeutic effect. It can be used to treat intestinal inflammatory diseases. Some studies show that it alleviates symptoms, especially when used as a supplement to conventional treatments, not as a replacement.
It can also be useful for alleviating stress and pain related to colitis. Treatment is also personalized and helps maintain balance and health in general. You may need several sessions to see better results. And lastly, remember to see a professional that is certified in acupuncture.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 05/18/2018
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