An inflamed colon -- irritation and swelling -- may be caused by a number of different gastrointestinal disorders, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or diverticulitis. Whatever the cause, you'll need to avoid eating foods that may cause further irritation. This means following a low-residue diet, one filled with easily digested foods that limit bowel movement size and frequency and promote healing of the inflammation. It is still important to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to meet nutrient needs; for example, milk or lactose-free milk, tender-cooked meats, canned or soft-cooked vegetables, canned fruit and refined-flour breads and cereals. Consult your doctor before making changes to your diet.
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Raw Veggies and Fruit
While you don't have to completely eliminate fruits and veggies from your diet with an inflamed colon, certain types or parts may cause intestinal distress and should be avoided. Raw vegetables are difficult to digest because of the fiber, a type of carbohydrate your body cannot digest that adds bulk to your stool. You should also avoid cooked greens such as kale, peas, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions and corn, as well as veggie peels and seeds. Dried fruit such as prunes and fruit skin are also difficult to digest and should be eliminated, along with juice with pulp and fruits with seeds. Pineapple, figs and berries should also be eliminated.
Whole grains are also a source of fiber. This means no whole-wheat bread or whole-wheat pasta with an inflamed colon. You should also eliminate whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and barley from your diet, as well as any grain products with nuts and seeds. Popcorn, which is a healthy whole-grain snack food, should also be avoided when dealing with inflammation of your colon.
Tough Meats, Nuts and Beans
Nuts and beans are also sources of fiber and should be avoided with an inflamed colon to limit stool bulk. You should also avoid tough meats with grizzle, so instead of broiling your lean meat, fish or poultry, stew or braise them to make them more tender and easy to digest.
Carbonated, Caffeinated or Alcoholic Beverages
It is important that you drink plenty of fluids with an inflamed colon, but you may need to avoid or limit certain types of beverages. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders suggests that you avoid carbonated beverages with colon inflammation. Depending on your tolerance, you may also need to avoid or limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee or black tea. Alcohol may also need to be eliminated or limited in your diet. Prune juice should also be eliminated.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders: Ulcerative Colitis
- Harvard Medical School: Diverticular Disease of the Colon
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders: Crohn's Disease
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Low Residue Diet
- MedlinePlus: Fiber
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Vegetable Preparation for the Family
- Exploratorium: Science of Cooking: Braising Makes a Tough Cut Tender
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Low-Residue/Low-Fiber Diet
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital: Low-Fiber, Low-Residue Diet