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Ischemic Colitis Diet

Updated February 21, 2017

Ischemic colitis is a digestive disorder that affects the lower intestine. During an attack, blood flow to the colon is impaired, resulting in an inflamed colon. Usually, this disorder fixes itself in a few days. If not, medical treatment may be necessary and a doctor should be consulted. Ischemic colitis is usually accompanied by pain, often on the left side of the abdomen, and urgent bowel movements that may be bloody. Fever, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting are also common. If serious enough, treatment usually involves medication and surgery. But diet can also help.

Eating Habits

Drinking plenty of water is essential for everyone, not only for those recovering from ischemic colitis. Aim for six to eight glasses a day. Plenty of fluids will help prevent constipation. During meals, take small bites and chew the food completely to ensure proper digestion. Do not gulp food or drink: air may be swallowed which can cause gas. Eat smaller meals and only when hungry.

Foods to Avoid

As you recover from a flare-up, avoid alcohol and caffeine; both of these can exacerbate diarrhoea. Foods that are not fully digested when eaten can also aggravate the healing colon. Such foods include corn, popcorn, nuts and seeds. Other foods high in fibre, such as whole grains and raw vegetables, can also irritate the digestive system, as can spicy food. Avoid gas-casuing foods like beans and cruciferous vegetables.

Recommended Foods

A balanced diet based on nutrient-rich foods is essential during and after recovery. Soft, easily digestible foods are ideal. Bananas are especially indicated. They contain plenty of nutrients, are bland and easily digested. Applesauce is another sweet treat that is easy on the digestive tract. A glass of buttermilk daily, which is the liquid left over after the fat has been removed during churning, is also nutritious and easily digested if you are not lactose intolerant. White rice is another good choice that will provide energy. White fish and tofu are good protein sources that are also easy to process and will help the body heal. Though the ingredients are unusual and may only be found in Asian markets, coconut water and the Drumstick drink are soothing for the colon. Coconut water comes from a young, immature coconut that has not formed the meat and milk of a mature coconut. The Drumstick drink is prepared from a teaspoon of fresh leaf juice, mixed with an equal quantity of honey and a glass of tender coconut water. Drink a serving two to three times a day.

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About the Author

Marguerite Lance has been a professional writer for seven years and has written for museums, hospitals, non-profit agencies, governmental agencies and telecommunication companies. Her specialties include nutrition, dietetics and women's and children's health issues. Lance received a Bachelor of Arts in biological anthropology from Idaho State University.