Make Nutrition a Priority
UC can affect your body’s ability to:
This may lead to serious vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. When it comes to your diet, make sure you’re including enough calories and nutrients to keep you healthy—minimizing your risk of becoming malnourished. Work with your healthcare team to help you maintain adequate nutrition. Make healthy food choices—and avoid foods that could make your symptoms worse.
What Causes Malnutrition With UC?
Common symptoms of UC can contribute to malnutrition—in addition to intestinal inflammation. Symptoms like:
- Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration
- Abdominal pain and nausea may reduce your appetite
- Rectal bleeding from ulcers can lead to iron deficiencies and anemia
- Frequent bowel movements might cause you to cut back on eating to avoid diarrhea
Tips on Food and Symptom Flares
While there’s no evidence that what you eat actually causes UC, certain foods and drinks can aggravate your symptoms—especially during a flare-up. Keep track of what you're eating and how you feel to help you discover some foods that may worsen your symptoms. Here are some tips to start figuring out how foods might affect you:
Try low-fat foods
Limit fiber (if it might be a problem food)
Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine
And here are some other dietary measures to think about when ensuring you’re getting the nutrients you need:
Eat small meals, more often
(instead of 2-3 larger ones a day)
Drink plenty of liquids
and stay hydrated
Talk to a registered
Why Is Exercise Important With UC?
Here are some of the benefits of physical activity when you have UC:
Improve overall health
Strengthen immune system
Reduce depression and anxiety
Maintain a healthy weight
Minimize extraintestinal (outside of the intestines) symptoms
Improve psychological health
At times, it can be tough to exercise—especially if you’re experiencing a UC symptom flare. During that time, it might be best to limit exercise. You can always pick it back up when your symptoms are more controlled. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are best for you. And on days you may not feel your best, consider low-impact activities like walking or things you can do at home.
Keep in Mind: Your Mental Health Is Important, Too
When you have UC, taking care of your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health. While every person copes with their emotions differently, make sure that you’re paying attention to what you need in your individual situation. Find some ways to cope emotionally with UC—and do them on your own terms.
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