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Ulcerative Colitis and your Diet

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 30 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Ulcerative Colitis Diet Food Health

Approximately 1 in 100 people are affected by ulcerative colitis in the UK. The disease affects men and women equally and can develop at any age, but most commonly affects adults aged 20-40. It is not an infectious illness. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is characterized by free radical stress and colon cancer proneness. Ulcerative colitis typically begins gradually, with abdominal pain and diarrhoea that is sometimes bloody. In more severe cases, diarrhoea is very severe and frequent. Fever, loss of appetite and weight loss occur. Often the symptoms tend to come and go, and there may be long periods without any symptoms at all. Usually, however, they recur. The cause of ulcerative colitis is not fully understood. Ulcerative colitis can be hereditary. Up to 20 percent of sufferers have at least one family member with the same disorder. There may also be contributory environmental factors involved.

Nutritional and Supplemental Therapy

Pancreatin is a digestive enzyme that is used to supplement loss of or low digestive enzymes. Its function is to break down fat and carbohydrates. Pancreatic enzymes are not standardized, and contain a variety of enzymes, including trypsin, chymotrypsin, lipase, amylase, colipase, and ribonuclease.

There are more than 400 different types of microorganism living in the human GI tract; some of them are beneficial to gastrointestinal health, while others are the cause of infection and disease. Maintaining a healthy balance of these bacteria can be impossible if you have suffered from prolonged illness, do not eat regularly or have recently taken a course of antibiotics (which kill the beneficial bacteria as well as the offending ones.Probiotics are supplements containing live sources of beneficial bacteria, they can help to recolonise the gastrointestinal tract and promote good health and prevent the development of pathogens.
Fish Oil -Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, contained in fish oil ease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, though the exact method of action is not fully understood.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K is used for the body to regulate blood clotting. A deficiency in vitamin K can result in bruising or, in rare cases, bleeding. Vitamin K is unusual because it is actually made inside the body. The "good" bacteria in the large intestine actually synthesize vitamin K for use by the body. About 80% of vitamin K needed is made in this way. The other 20% must come from food sources. If the "good" bacteria in the intestine is wiped out by antibiotics or affected by diarrhoea, vitamin K production may be decreased.

Dietary fibre is found in many plant foods, such as fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains, and is essential to good health. Insoluble fibre found in such foods as fruit pulp, vegetable peels and skins, and grain brans adds bulk to stools and hastens the movement of food through the digestive tract, helping to prevent constipation and diarrhoea. Soluble fibre found in fruits, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, and dried beans helps to lower cholesterol and prevent such diseases as colon cancer and diabetes.

A high fibre diet may be helpful in the prevention of colitis. However, during active cases of colitis, fibre should be avoided due to its harshness in the intestinal tract. Juice from green leafy vegetables is a better alternative. After healing occurs, soluble fibres can be reintroduced into the diet. Keywords-ulcerative colitis, diet, food, health, disease, eating, nutritional support, preventionApproximately 1 in 100 people are affected by ulcerative colitis in the UK. The disease affects men and women equally and can develop at any age, but most commonly affects adults aged 20-40. It is not an infectious illness.

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