You may be able to tolerate cooked, peeled, and soft vegetables during ulcerative colitis (UC) flare-ups. Cooked carrots, potatoes, and parsnips are examples of vegetables to eat.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Eating certain types of food may trigger symptom flare-ups, while eating others may help your body stay in remission.
Vegetables contain valuable nutrients and micronutrients, but some vegetables may worsen your UC symptoms.
Keep reading to learn more about which vegetables to eat and avoid if you have UC.
The following vegetables are recommended for people who are living with UC.
During a flare
The tendency during a flare-up is to cut down on vegetables to help relieve symptoms. But, while restricting some foods may help reduce symptoms, too much restriction may lead to deficiencies in nutrients
- folic acid
- vitamin B12
- vitamin D
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCF) recommends that, during a flare-up, you eat vegetables that are:
- cooked or steamed until they’re soft
- made into vegetable stock, juice, or soup
Cooked vegetables you may be able to eat during a UC flare-up include:
- green beans
It’s important to avoid eating the skins of vegetables because they’re typically high in insoluble fiber. This is a type of dietary fiber that is
Raw vegetables are also harder to digest and can result in UC symptoms such as abdominal bloating and gas.
In this study, 71% of participants with IBD reported that diet affected their condition. Most healthcare professionals also reported that diet had a role in IBD.
However, 61% of the participants felt that their doctors didn’t acknowledge the role of diet in their condition. Only 26% of the participants reported receiving dietary advice.
The CCF recommends that you gradually add more vegetables to your diet during remission.
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It’s important to use a food diary. Write down what you eat and how you feel afterward. This may help you identify trigger foods. You can then share your food diary with a healthcare professional so they can help fine-tune your diet.
Until there are clear and consistent guidelines for a UC remission diet, it’s best to focus on maintaining a diverse and nutrient-rich diet.
Some vegetables are harder to digest and may irritate your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
During a flare
Certain types of vegetables, such as cruciferous vegetables and those with seeds, contain insoluble fiber and have tough stalks. These may irritate your GI tract and trigger UC symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Vegetables to avoid may include:
- Brussels sprouts
- beans and lentils
- leafy green
- raw onions and garlic
The authors of a
However, a small
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It’s important to remember that while some foods may trigger flares, no substantial research supports the popular idea that dietary restrictions can sustain remission or prevent a relapse.
To make sure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients, talk with a healthcare professional before eliminating foods from your diet.
|Foods to eat||Foods to avoid|
• green beans
• Brussels sprouts
• beans and lentils
• leafy green
• raw onions and garlic
A variety of organizations and individuals recommend various diets to help UC.
The following special diets may give you some ideas to work into your nutritional program. Each has a slightly different take on which vegetables are best:
- Mediterranean diet
- low FODMAP diet
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- paleo diet
- gluten-free diet
- low residue diet
Living with UC doesn’t mean you have to eat bland food. Here are a few menu ideas with vegetables for people in remission.
- scrambled eggs with avocado, spinach, and low fat cheddar cheese
- honey-sweetened butternut squash and muffins
- goat cheese, zucchini, and dill frittata
- smoothie with spinach, cucumber, and mint
- shepherd’s pie with sweet potato topping
- butternut squash bisque
- carrot soup
- oat risotto with peas and pecorino cheese
- smoothie with coconut milk, coconut yogurt, bananas, pineapple, and spinach
- canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise and diced peppers on cucumber slices
- bell peppers stuffed with diced onions, chickpeas, ground turkey, steel cut oats, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes
- foil-baked tilapia (or other white fish) with chopped zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and lemon
- zucchini lasagna
- spinach-butternut squash pizza
- rice noodles with tofu, carrots, green beans, bell pepper, and baby corn in peanut-soy sauce
- root vegetable mash with turnips, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes
- spinach-artichoke yogurt dip
- mushrooms stuffed with chopped spinach and farmer’s cheese
- carrot, beet, and celery root chips
- lactose-free yogurt topped with banana slices and nut butter
- toasted gluten-free bread topped with cottage cheese, squeezed lemon, and sliced cucumbers
The CCF recommends eating vegetables that have been prepared in the following ways during a UC flare-up:
- Peeled or skinned: Vegetable peels and skins are high in insoluble fiber, which is hard to digest and may trigger UC symptoms.
- Cooked: The fiber in raw vegetables may be hard to break down and may cause symptoms. Grilling, steaming, or boiling vegetables until they’re soft may make them less likely to cause symptoms.
- Canned: Canned vegetables may be softer and easier to digest than raw vegetables. Make sure they’re canned in their own juice or water and have no added sugar.
What vegetables are good for ulcerative colitis?
Non-cruciferous vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga may be good to eat during a UC flare-up. However, avoid raw vegetables, especially their peels. Peeled, steamed, and cooked vegetables are soft and easier to digest.
Can you eat lettuce with ulcerative colitis?
Yes, people with UC generally tolerate lettuce well. But if you experience a symptom flare-up after eating lettuce, it’s best to avoid it from then on.
Are cooked vegetables good for ulcerative colitis?
People experiencing a UC flare-up often best tolerate cooked, grilled, or steamed vegetables. These preparation methods help break down the insoluble fiber, which is hard to digest in raw vegetables.
A balanced diet is important for everyone, but eating nutritious foods is especially critical when you have UC. The condition can affect how well your body absorbs vitamins and minerals.
Some vegetables are more likely to cause UC symptoms than others. The more colorful the vegetables you choose, the more nutrition you’ll get. Try different vegetables and cooking methods to see which ones worsen your symptoms and which ones you can tolerate.