8 Foods to Avoid with Ulcerative Colitis

1 of
  • Ulcerative Colitis: An Immune-System Disease?

    Ulcerative Colitis: An Immune-System Disease?

    Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the colon and rectum. When a person has UC, sores called ulcers develop inside the colon. Symptoms of the disease include abdominal pain, blood or pus in diarrhea, nausea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and weight loss.

    Ulcerative colitis is one of two main inflammatory bowel diseases. The other is Crohn’s disease. Researchers don’t know for sure what causes UC, but they think it may be caused by a misdirected immune reaction.  

    Click through this slideshow to learn which foods to avoid with ulcerative colitis.

  • Whole Grain Bread, Cereals, and Pastas

    Whole Grain Bread, Cereals, and Pastas

    Foods that contain lots of fiber tend to be difficult for people with UC to digest. You should avoid eating breads, cereals, pastas, noodles, and macaroni made from any whole grain flour (flour in which the germ and bran have not been removed).

    Instead, opt for white breads and pastas made from enriched white flour (flour is “enriched” when nutrients lost during the germ and bran removal process are replaced). Cereals like puffed rice, corn flakes, and cream of wheat are low in fiber, too.


  • Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains

    Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains

    The following whole grain foods should be avoided with ulcerative colitis:

    • brown rice
    • quinoa
    • buckwheat
    • oats
    • wild rice

    These grains still have the fibrous endosperm, germ, and bran on them that can irritate ulcerative colitis and trigger a flare. Other whole grains that should be avoided include plain barley, millet, wheat-berries, bulgur wheat, and spelt. Choose well-cooked white rice instead.

  • Nuts and Seeds

    Nuts and Seeds

    Nuts and seeds, including those cooked into other foods or made into flours, should be on your “do-not-eat” list if you have ulcerative colitis. The fiber in them is very hard to digest. Avoid the following nuts:

    • walnuts
    • hazelnuts
    • pecans
    • cashews
    • almonds
    • macadamia nuts
    • peanuts
    • pistachios

    Seeds to avoid include sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and wild rice.

  • Dried Peas, Beans and Lentils

    Dried Peas, Beans and Lentils

    Legumes—beans, lentils and peas—are high-fiber, high protein foods. Because of the indigestible sugars in beans, they’re also notorious for causing gas. If you have ulcerative colitis, you’ll want to pass on the following:

    • all beans, including garbanzos (chickpeas or ceci beans)
    • adzuki beans (field peas or red oriental beans)
    • soy nuts (soya beans, edamame)
  • Fruits to Avoid

    Fruits to Avoid

    Most fruits contain a lot of fiber. They belong on the “avoid” list if they are:

    • raw
    • have seeds that can’t be removed, like most berries
    • dried

    You can eat fruit that’s been peeled and the flesh cooked until very soft, such as applesauce. You can eat canned fruits, too, but choose the type packed in water or in their own juice to avoid excess sugar. Most fruit juices are fine to drink, but only with the pulp removed. And avoid prune juice, which is very high in fiber.

  • Vegetables to Back Away From

    Vegetables to Back Away From

    Vegetables, like fruits, are chock full of fiber. Include them in your diet only if they’re:

    • skinned or peeled
    • have no seeds
    • are cooked until soft

    Avoid all raw or undercooked vegetables, including corn. It’s fine to consume canned vegetables as well as potatoes, as long as the skin has been discarded. Vegetables provide many important nutrients and it’s important to incorporate them in your diet where you can.

  • Popcorn, Coconut, and Foods You Can Eat

    Popcorn, Coconut, and Foods You Can Eat

    The fiber in popcorn and coconut is extremely difficult to digest, so avoid them if you have ulcerative colitis.

    The foods you can eat include:

    • white bread without seeds
    • white pasta, noodles, and macaroni
    • crackers and cereals made with refined white flour
    • canned or cooked fruits
    • vegetables without skins or seeds
    • tender, soft meats (no gristle or skin), fish, and eggs
    • dairy foods
    • peanut butter

    It’s key to remember that your diet plays a vital role in your overall health. Use this information as a guide to help keep your diet healthy and on track.