8 Foods to Avoid with Ulcerative Colitis
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Which Foods Should You Avoid with Ulcerative Colitis?

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  • 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 the stool
    • diarrhea
    • nausea
    • rectal bleeding
    • fatigue
    • weight loss 

    UC 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.

    Keep reading to find out what foods are best to avoid with UC.

  • Whole Grain Breads, Cereals, and Pastas

    Whole Grain Breads, Cereals, and Pastas

    Foods that contain lots of fiber tend to be difficult for people with UC to digest. Whole grain flour, which is flour that hasn’t had the germ or bran removed, is high in fiber. You should avoid eating food made from any whole grain flour, such as:

    • breads
    • cereals
    • pastas
    • noodles
    • macaroni

    Choose 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 also low in fiber.

  • Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains

    Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains

    The following whole grain foods should be avoided with UC:

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

    These grains still have the fibrous endosperm, germ, and bran that can irritate UC and trigger a flare. Other whole grains that should be avoided include:

    • plain barley
    • millet
    • wheat-berries
    • bulgur wheat
    • 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 UC. 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
    • 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 UC, you’ll want to pass on the following:

    • all beans, including chickpeas or garbanzo beans
    • adzuki beans (field peas or red oriental beans)
    • soy nuts (soybeans, 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. Skip prune juice since it’s very high in fiber.

  • Vegetables to Back Away From

    Vegetables to Back Away From

    Like fruits, vegetables are also full of fiber. Include them in your diet only if they are:

    • 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. 

    This Butternut Squash Soup and Braised Golden Beets are safe choices since the vegetables are peeled and cooked.

  • Foods You Can Eat

    Foods You Can Eat

    While your diet may be restricted if you have UC, it doesn’t have to be boring. Focus on the foods that you can eat rather than the foods you should avoid. 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 products
    • 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.