Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease consisting of inflammation and ulcers on the inside of the large intestine. It's one of the major types of inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and include abdominal pain, nausea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, anemia and fever. No cure exists for ulcerative colitis, but many medications and lifestyle and diet changes can help reduce intestinal inflammation and side effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one anti-inflammatory compound that may aid in soothing ulcerative colitis, according to a study published in April 2005 in the journal "Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology." Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid that must come from your diet. Increasing your intake of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring and halibut, provides more omega-3s in your diet. Certain types of algae and krill also contain omegas. Some plant oils, such as flax, soy, pumpkin and walnut, contain a precursor to omega-3 fatty acids and may be beneficial for reducing inflammation as well.
Sources of Vitamin E
According to a study published in October 2011 in the "Canadian Journal of Surgery," vitamin E is a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient that may provide relief from ulcerative colitis. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble soluble vitamin found in many oily foods. Eating more nut and seed butters, such as sunflower seed, almond and cashew, as well nut and seed oils helps boost your E intake. Wheat germ, seafood, sweet potatoes and vegetable oils provide vitamin E to help reduce inflammation as well.
Getting Enough Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another nutrient in foods that may reduce inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis, according to the April 2005 "Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology" study. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, helping to reduce swelling, and also supports the healing of wounds by promoting synthesis of the protein collagen. Good sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, melons, potatoes and spinach
Selenium may produce anti-inflammatory results in your intestines as well. It's a trace mineral needed in the body in small amounts. You get varying levels of selenium from eating protein-rich foods, such as seafood, shellfish, liver, beef, chicken, lamb, pork and eggs. Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology recommends using a selenium supplement to boost your intake of the nutrient. But, check with your health care provider before adding supplements to your routine.
Soluble fiber is another beneficial nutrient for reducing ulcerative colitis symptoms. While it doesn't possess specific anti-inflammatory properties, soluble fiber does sooth intestines by forming a sort of gel in the digestive tract and absorbing water, helping to reduce diarrhea. You get soluble fiber from eating oats, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, barley, apples, oranges and carrots. Psyllium husk, a type of fiber supplement, may also be beneficial for boosting soluble fiber intake.
- Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: An Oral Supplement Enriched with Fish Oil, Soluble Fiber, and Antioxidants for Corticosteroid Sparing in Ulcerative Colitis: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
- Canadian Journal of Surgery: Vitamin E Has a Dual Effect of Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Activities in Acetic-Acid Induced Ulcerative Colitis in Rats
- Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology: Ulcerative Colitis
- University of Minnesota: Food Sources of Vitamins and Minerals
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Ulcerative Colitis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Dietary Fiber