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What is the dietary management of colitis?

Q: I have colitis and I am on low fat, low fibre, low lactose diet. Could you please suggest a diet?

A:Diet plays a very important role for patients suffering with colitis. Poor absorption of food and nutritional deficiencies often result due to degeneration of the intestinal cells. In addition, many people with colitis have a decreased food intake which adds to nutritional deficiencies. 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 bran 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, fiber 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. Colitis patients should avoid raw fruits and vegetables to reduce physical injury to the inflamed lining of the large intestine. Common foods that cause allergic reactions are wheat, corn, dairy products, and processed foods. You can avoid these food products only if they cause allergic reactions in your case. You can consume moderate to small amounts if you are able to tolerate these food products. You can also request your doctor to prescribe you a vitamin supplement to build up your nutritional status.

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