George Krucik, MD, MBA
Colitis results from inflammation of the colon and may cause bowel spasms or abdominal cramps. Ulcerative colitis inflames the walls of the bowel or intestines and leads to ulcers. Diet has nothing to do with the causes of colitis, but it can help minimize the symptoms. White rice may work in a diet to relieve the effects of colitis, but eating patterns may differ for each person because people respond differently to certain foods. Consult your doctor or dietitian about a dietary program for you.
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Symptoms and Energy Needs
Symptoms of colitis may include abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal gas, fever and body chills, blood in the stool, and dehydration. Healthy eating habits play an important role for colitis patients. Symptoms can lead to a loss of appetite and inadequate food intake, which affect your caloric and energy needs, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. A low-fiber, low-residue diet may reduce or relieve symptoms. The diet reduces the intake of raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, which add residue to the digestive tract.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Avoiding insoluble fiber while consuming soluble fiber may benefit colitis patients, according to Colitis UK. Soluble fiber breaks down and digests in the large intestine and colon, producing soft stool and better digestion. Soluble fiber includes white rice and oat bran, as well as peeled vegetables, apples and pears. Insoluble fiber includes the skin peels of certain vegetables and fruits, wheat bran, cabbage, broccoli and sweet corn. Insoluble fiber does not digest in the digestive tract and may adhere to the wall of colon, causing inflammation that aggravates colitis. White rice and other soluble fiber do not produce particles that adhere to the bowel wall.
Rice in Your Diet
Brown rice goes through less processing than does white rice, so healthy diets often include high-fiber brown rice over white rice, which has its bran removed during the milling process. However, colitis patients may require low-fiber diets, which encourage white rice in meals. Dr. Ben Kim, an acupuncturist, chiropractor and radio host from Ontario, includes servings of white rice in a dietary plan for ulcerative colitis. Still, you may have to experiment with each particular food to see how your body responds when you have colitis. MayoClinic.com suggests you check with your doctor before adding considerable amounts of fiber to your diet. Colitis patients may need to avoid problem fiber foods as well as caffeine, carbonated beverages and dairy products, which may promote digestive disorders.
An enzyme-treated prebiotic product made from rice fiber may reduce inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, such as colitis, a preliminary study suggests. Prebiotics are made from nondigestible soluble fiber ingredients that may benefit the digestive tract. Laboratory tests by researchers at Central Labs for Frontier Technology in Yokohama, Japan, showed inflammation reduction in the colon from the prebiotic compared with both raw rice bran and with the food fed to the control group. The rice fiber prebiotic has promising anti-inflammatory effects for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, the researchers report in a January 2011 issue of the “Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.”