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While there is no specific ulcerative colitis diet, some people find that certain foods can worsen their symptoms while others alleviate them. Maintaining good nutrition is of utmost importance because UC can reduce appetite while increasing the body’s energy needs. Additionally, symptoms such as diarrhea can make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients and increase the risk of dehydration.
Many people with UC find that soft, bland foods cause them less discomfort than spicy or high-fiber foods. Others find that limiting or eliminating dairy products helps to reduce diarrhea, gas and abdominal pain. While high fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables are potentially problematic, their fiber content can be reduced through baking, steaming or cooking. Many physicians recommend that people with UC limit fiber particularly if they have a narrowing of the bowel. Alcohol and caffeine may also make symptoms worse as they tend to stimulate the intestines.
The general recommendation is to eat several small meals daily rather than two or three large ones, and to drink plenty of liquids – particularly water – to help combat dehydration, which is a risk common in UC patients with diarrhea.