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Nutritional therapy can help greatly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Achieving the best results involves paying close attention to what you eat. Eating certain foods can help ease your symptoms, while other foods may make symptoms worse.

What is colitis and what can be done about it from a holistic health perspective?

Supplements and certain formulas can improve symptoms also by reducing inflammation

Colitis and ulcerative colitis

What is the difference between colitis and ulcerative colitis? Colitis means your colon is inflamed or irritated. There can be many causes, such as infections from viruses or bacteria. Ulcerative colitis is more severe because it is not caused by an infection and is lifelong[1].

If you have colitis, you may feel discomfort and pain in your abdomen. This discomfort may be mild and reoccur over a long period of time, or severe and appear suddenly[2].

What are the different types of colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC): is one of two conditions classified as inflammatory bowel disease. UC causes bleeding ulcers within the inner lining of your large intestine. UC is the most commonly diagnosed type of colitis. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to bacteria and other substances in the digestive tract, but the exact cause is still unknown[3].

Symptoms of colitis include:

Frequent diarrhoea

Urgent bowel movements

Rectal bleeding


Pseudomembranous colitis: Pseudomembranous colitis (PC) occurs from the overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile, due to an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria which usually offer protection. This may occur due to certain medications, especially antibiotics, that may destroy healthy bacteria.

Ischaemic colitis occurs when blood flow to the colon is suddenly cut off or restricted.

Who is most at risk for colitis?

Those between the ages of 15 and 30 (most common) or 60 and 80

Those who have a family member with UC

Those who are taking long-term antibiotics

Those who are hospitalised

Those who are receiving chemotherapy

Those who are taking immunosuppressant drugs

Dietary advice for colitis

Firstly, from a practical standpoint, it may be helpful to get into habit its such as buying ingredients in bulk, cooking in batches and keeping a food journal, which may be especially helpful if you’re implementing a new diet.

Foods to eat

Foods that may trigger symptoms

low fibre fruits like bananas, honeydew melon, and cooked fruits

fruits with seeds and skins

cooked, non-cruciferous vegetables like asparagus, potatoes, and cucumbers

dairy products

refined grains like white pasta, white rice, oatmeal, bread

spicy foods

lean protein sources like chicken, lean pork, eggs, and tofu


omega-3 fatty acids, including fish like salmon mackerel herring and sardines


good quality nut butter


carbonated beverages like soda and seltzer water

raw vegetables

fatty, fried, or greasy food

excess sugar or nonabsorbable sugar

It is possible to prolong remission periods by maintaining a diverse and nutrient-rich diet that does not include trigger foods.

It’s important to consult with your doctor or dietician/ nutritional therapist before making any changes to your diet. Some suggestions for foods to eat whilst in remission include[i]:

What are popular diets for colitis?

Various diets have been suggested for ulcerative colitis. Again, it’s important to consult with your doctor or dietician/ nutritional therapist before making any changes to your diet.

Low fibre diet:

The concept of the low fibre diet is to exclude foods your body can’t digest well that end up in your stool. Examples of food suggestions for a low fibre diet include:

Examples of foods to limit on low fibre diet include:

Diets and colitis

Paleo diet: The concept of the Paleo Diet is that our bodies weren’t designed to eat a modern grain-based diet and that we’d benefit if we ate more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This diet is high in lean meat. Fibre in the diet comes from fruits, roots, legumes, and nuts, rather than from grains. On the Paleo Diet you should avoid: potatoes, legumes, cereal grains, dairy, soda, refined sugar.

Specific carbohydrate diet: this diet was originally developed to treat celiac disease, but it has since been used for other UC. The idea behind it is that the intestines don’t digest or use certain grains and sugars very well. Limit/ avoid: potatoes, legumes, processed meats, grains, soy, milk, table sugar, chocolate, corn syrup, margarine.

Low FODMAP diet: FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. While this may sound complicated, it’s simply a diet that cuts back on sugars that may not be absorbed well by your GI tract. It bears many similarities to the specific carbohydrate diet. Examples of foods to avoid include: apples, apricots, cherries, pears, and watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, legumes, onions, artichokes, garlic, and leeks, wheat and rye, milk, yogurt, soft cheese, and ice cream, sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup

Gluten-free diet: Gluten-free diets exclude grains and cereals containing gluten. Please read about the gluten-free diet here

Mediterranean diet: this diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in general, therefore may be useful for ulcerative colitis. Its effectiveness has been compared to the specific carbohydrate diet[ii]. The Mediterranean diet includes a lot of nutritious foods like fish, fruits and vegetables, and olive oil. Red meat is included only in small amounts.

Supplement suggestions for colitis


Probiotics introduce healthy gut bacteria to restore and maintain a natural microbial flora in the gut. This may reduce harmful inflammatory responses and maintain remission. Try Restore


Ginseng may be effective in the treatment of UC by reducing inflammation and protecting against cellular damage. Adaptogen Complex

Psyllium seed/husk:

Psyllium seed/husk enhances gut motility, alleviates the symptoms of constipation, and improves the elimination of waste. Organic Psyllium Husks


Boswellia plants may help reduce inflammation, which could be helpful for those with UC. Boswellia Resin


Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, isproteolytic, which means that it helps break down proteins. This can enhance intestinal cell function, which may help reduce UC symptoms.Bromelain (500mg)


Turmeric, the Indian spice used in curry, may help people with UC.

Specifically, the curcumin found in turmeric is an antioxidant and appears to decrease inflammation while improving the effectiveness of traditional medical therapy.

Vitamin D and Omega 3:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including immune system regulation. It has been studied for its potential effects on colitis, which is inflammation of the colon. Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of developing colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases [4]. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been studied for their potential benefits in colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the colon [5]. Liquid Vitamin D3 (1000IU per drop)/ Rise & Shine Omega 3 + Vitamin D

Colitis - In Summary:

UC is a long-term, chronic disease that can cause inflammation in your bowel as well as digestion issues. Many individuals with UC find that modified diets help ease their symptoms and can sometimes bring on periods of remission.

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.