Nutrition for colitis


When contacting a specialist, people who have problems with the gastrointestinal tract often indicate symptoms characteristic of colitis.

Colitis (from the Greek kolon – ‘colon’ and itis – ‘inflammatory process’) is a group of diseases that develop for various reasons and are characterized by inflammation of the colon mucosa.

The mechanism of development of colitis

From the definition, it becomes clear that inflammation is at the heart of the development of the disease.

However, the factors that cause a malfunction in the immune system can differ. Depending on this, several types of colitis are distinguished. The process is called “ischemic” if the inflammation of the colon mucosa is accompanied by a violation of the blood supply to the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, “infectious” – is associated with the activity of pathogenic microorganisms, “ulcerative” – ​​if it is the result of an abnormal immune response to an irritant (most often these are viruses or bacteria), during which the immune system attacks the cells lining the intestinal mucosa and damages them (as a result, a defect appears – ulcers), “toxic” – develops as a result of the action of drugs, “radiation” – a consequence of radiation damage.

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The large intestine consists of several sections: rectum, sigmoid colon, transverse colon, and caecum. The inflammatory process can either develop in one of the sections of the colon or affect the entire organ.

Colitis symptoms

Regardless of the extent of the inflammatory process, general symptoms can be distinguished depending on how acute the disease is.

1. The presence of the following symptoms characterizes the period of exacerbation of colitis:

  • Pain in the abdomen and intestines. It can be different – from dull, pulling to acute, often spastic;
  • frequent urge to go to the toilet, nocturnal defecation (with the pronounced activity of the process);
  • pathological inclusions in the feces (blood, pus);
  • constipation (with damage to the left sections of the colon);
  • diarrhea (with damage to the right sections of the colon);
  • sleep disorders (insomnia).

Signs of systemic inflammation include fever (fever) and leukocytosis (an increase in white blood cells in the general blood test).

An increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a laboratory indicator that reveals a nonspecific inflammatory process in the body.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a nonspecific indicator of inflammation, highly sensitive, and reveals a pathological process in the acute period, even with inflammation of a low degree of activity.

2. In chronic colitis, there are:

  • general weakness;
  • weight loss;
  • anemia;
  • loss of appetite;
  • flatulence;
  • local thickening of the intestine (can be felt through the abdomen).

Many of the above symptoms are not specific to colitis, so they can be mistakenly interpreted as signs of other diseases, which threatens to choose the wrong treatment tactics. To prevent this, it is necessary to remember the complex features of the colitis clinic:

  • The increasing nature of the symptoms – from a slight, subtle discomfort at the onset of the disease to severe swelling that disrupts daily life after a few months;
  • Uneven manifestation of symptoms (at first, constipation may disturb, a little later – diarrhea, then painful sensations appear in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bother digestive organs);
  • A variety of painful sensations – from mild, tingling pain to acute and unbearable.

Principles of nutrition in colitis. Top 5 products

The inflammation of the colon mucosa implies a careful choice of products and diet correction depending on the leading dysfunction to reduce the load on the digestive tract.

So, in acute colitis with diarrhea, it is recommended to exclude foods that cause increased intestinal motility (vegetables, bran, fiber) and stimulate the secretion of the pancreas, stomach, and bile. All products that cause fermentation and decay are excluded (beans, raw fruits, vegetables, carbonated drinks, confectionery).

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It is necessary to choose dishes and foods that heal the intestinal mucosa in acute colitis with constipation, diarrhea, and chronic colitis. The diet is enriched with fiber (cell membranes of many plants, seeds, cereals, and bread with bran).

When catering and menu planning for people diagnosed with colitis, special attention should be paid to the following principles:

  1. The frequency of meals (eat fractionally, 5-6 times a day);
  2. Types of processing (food mostly boiled or steamed);
  3. Food temperature (the optimum temperature of dishes is 30–40 ºС);
  4. Food consistency (mainly mashed and semi-liquid);
  5. Compliance with the drinking regime (at least 1.5 liters of water per day).

For the gastrointestinal tract to work without interruption, it is recommended to introduce the following products into the diet:

  • Probiotic and fermented – they can change the activity of immune cells, reducing their aggression and thereby reducing systemic inflammation. The leaders among probiotics are fermented milk products (kefir, yogurt in animal or vegetable milk), sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, probiotic yogurt, miso, kombucha, and cheese;
  • Smoothies based on greens and vegetables. You can make smoothies with cilantro, spinach, green tea, basil, and many other foods that will quickly reduce the activity of systemic inflammation;
  • Homemade jelly without sugar – help relieve inflammation due to the natural enveloping of the intestinal mucosa, and the mucopolysaccharides contained in the drink stimulate the healing of mucosal defects;
  • Bone broth. Rich in nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, and glycine, tubular bone broths help heal the intestinal mucosa;
  • Fish is a source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with anti-inflammatory effects.

Phytotherapy for colitis. Top 5 herbs

  1. Chamomile. Reduces systemic inflammation (including the organs of the gastrointestinal tract). Proven effective in ulcerative colitis.
  2. Calendula flowers. Contains flavonoids with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
  3. Yarrow. Reduces the degree of inflammation due to the antioxidant compounds contained in the plant – flavonoids, carotenoids, and terpenes.
  4. Dill fruits. Contains antioxidants that aid in digestion. They are rich in calcium, manganese, and iron, which help strengthen the immune system. They have antibacterial properties.
  5. Strawberry. Contains many antioxidants and anthocyanins. Rich in calcium, folic acid, B vitamins, and bioflavonoids.
  6. Used only during the recovery period!
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Colitis under control

The use of nutraceuticals is a supportive measure to reduce inflammation levels:

  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Blocks chemicals (leukotrienes), thereby reducing inflammation. A positive effect on the course of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract has been confirmed at a dosage of 1 g per day.
  • Probiotics. Contains beneficial microorganisms. According to an expert review published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the effectiveness of probiotics is comparable to that of mesalazine, an inflammation-reducing drug used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The result is achieved due to the ability of probiotics to displace pathogenic microorganisms and produce enzymes that contribute to their destruction.

Recommendations for the introduction of probiotics:

  • Choose the most multi-strain;
  • Take into account age categories (children – bifidum, women – a variety of lactobacilli, allergies – lactobacilli, etc.);
  • Take simultaneously with fermented milk products or fermented products, prebiotics (lactulose, herbs, pectin, agar-containing products, Jerusalem artichoke);
  • change probiotics periodically;
  • Take metabiotics, in turn (they contain metabolic products of microorganisms and create favorable conditions for the reproduction of their microflora);
  • Reduce the intake of protein (including meat) for the duration of the intake.

3. Curcumin is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. Several studies have found that adding turmeric to the diet positively affects the course of colitis: the subjects noted a lower incidence of relapses compared to the placebo group. Cases of complete healing of the intestinal mucosa on the background of long-term use of curcumin are described.

Turmeric tea recipe

Turmeric, coconut milk, ghee, and natural honey are four ingredients in a healing drink that can reduce inflammation throughout the body and reduce the unpleasant symptoms of colitis.


  • One glass of coconut milk;
  • One glass of water;
  • One tablespoon melted butter;
  • One teaspoon of honey;
  • a pinch of black pepper;
  • One teaspoon turmeric (powder or grated root).
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Pour coconut milk and water into a saucepan and heat for 2 minutes. Add butter, black pepper, and turmeric powder, and heat for two more minutes. Stir and pour into glasses. You can drink with a teaspoon of honey, but do not heat it to preserve the beneficial properties.


When you first hear the diagnosis of colitis, you may need clarification and need help figuring out what to do. Restoring gut health is a long and difficult journey, after which you will understand that even with such an unpleasant diagnosis, you can enjoy life. You can ease the course of the disease because, having read the material of our article, you have received the main thing – knowledge. The point is small – the application of the information received.

Remember: any problem can be dealt with; it is important to correctly and timely determine its essence and solutions.


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  2. Vyalov S.S. Gastroenterology. Practical guide / S.S. Vyalov. – 6th ed., Revised. and add.-M: MEDpress-inform, 2017.-64s.: ill.
  3. Roitberg G.E., Strutynsky A.V. Internal diseases. Digestive system: Textbook / G.E. Roitberg, A.V. Strutynsky.- M.: MEDpress-inform, 2007.-560s.: ill.
  4. Konovich E.A., Khalif I.L. Immunology of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease // G.I. Vorobyov, I.L. Khalifa Nonspecific inflammatory bowel disease. – M.: Miklosh, 2008. – C. 39-70.
  5. Diet in the pathogenesis and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases / D. Lee, L. Albenberg, C. Compher [et al.] // Gastroenterology. – 2015. – Vol. 148 (6).– P. 1087–1106.
  6. Pearlman M, Akpotaire O. Diet and the Role of Food in Common Gastrointestinal Diseases. Med Clin North Am. 2019 Jan;103(1):101–110. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2018.08.008. review.

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