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Can I Eat Peanut Butter With My Colitis?

by
author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
Can I Eat Peanut Butter With My Colitis?
A swirling scoop of peanut butter. Photo Credit Magone/iStock/Getty Images

Colitis is a chronic digestive disease that causes recurrent bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Your symptoms derive from inflammation and sores called ulcers in the linings of your colon and rectum. The goals of treatment include inducing and maintaining remission and minimizing the intensity of your symptoms during flareups. Although peanut butter is nutritious, it does not suit all colitis-friendly diets.

Risks

Foods affect people with colitis differently. Peanut butter is one of the common trigger foods, however. This means that eating peanut butter worsens colitis symptoms in many people. If you are sensitive to peanut butter, consuming it could increase abdominal cramping and diarrhea, particularly if you consume large quantities. The more severe your symptoms become, the greater your risk becomes for complications, such as dehydration and nutrient loss.

Considerations

Although certain foods can aggravate colitis symptoms, no existing evidence shows that inflammation associated with the disease is directly affected. In other words, when your symptoms are absent, avoiding problematic foods may not be necessary. In addition, consuming small amounts of peanut butter may not cause problems, depending on your personal sensitivity. And if you consume peanut butter with other foods, it may be difficult to determine whether it or other foods, such as fiber-rich bread or low-fat milk, are to blame for symptom worsening.

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Potential Benefits

A 2-tbsp. serving of peanut butter provides 8 g of protein, which is equal to 16 percent of adults' standard recommended intake, and 190 calories. Ensuring that your diet contains enough protein and calories daily is important for colitis sufferers, because many people with inflammatory bowel diseases experience unintentional weight, protein and nutrient loss. Peanut butter also provides 2 g of fiber per serving, which helps normalize bowel function -- during bouts of remission -- and promotes digestive health. Peanut butter also provides a heart-healthy fat alternative to saturated fat sources, such as high-fat cheese, butter and mayonnaise.

Suggestions

If you tolerate peanut butter well, incorporate it into a well-balanced diet, based on nutritious foods. Tracking your food intake and symptoms in a journal is important. It can help you pinpoint your personal problem foods and provide useful information for your doctor or dietitian. Other common food triggers include fatty foods, such high-fiber foods as nuts, seeds and popcorn, dairy products and caffeinated beverages. To prevent the worsening of your symptoms, stick to low-fiber, easy-to-digest foods, such as white bread, instant rice, skinless white-meat poultry and rice milk, during flareups.

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References

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