A low-residue diet is a diet recommended for people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. This diet focuses on foods that are easier to digest. Fiber, for example, is restricted since this plant material cannot be completely digested by the body. Foods that are high in fiber include cereals, whole-grain breads, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Although this diet won't cure IBD, it can certainly alleviate symptoms such as stomach cramping and diarrhea.
When you have IBD, the walls of your intestine may either be damaged or inflamed. Because of this, the body finds it hard to digest and absorb nutrients and water. People with Crohn's disease meanwhile have narrowed small intestine. A low residue diet helps by reducing the number and size of bowel movements that you would have every day. This results in less diarrhea, cramps, and bloating.
What you can eat with this type of diet
Foods that you can eat when you're on this type of diet include grains, refined white breads, cooked cereals, cold cereals such as puffed rice, and white rice, refined pasta, and refined noodles. Since fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, it's easy to think that it's a major no-no to have any of these but you can still eat some.
If you're going to eat fruit, be sure to remove the skin and seeds. Vegetables should be cooked thoroughly. Some of those that you can eat are asparagus tips, beets, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes with no skin, squash with no seeds, and carrots. For the fruits, you can eat ripe bananas, honeydew, soft cantaloupe, and avocado.
It's all right to consume milk and dairy in moderation. Even though milk doesn't contain any fiber, it can trigger cramping and diarrhea especially if you have lactose intolerance. It would be a good idea to go for lactose-free dairy products. As for meat and protein, you can enjoy most meats as long as they are cooked soft and tender. Margarines, butter, oil, mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, salad dressing, soy sauce, jelly, syrup, cakes, cookies, ice cream, pretzels, and wafers are other foods that you can enjoy while on this diet.
Drinks that are safe to consume for people in low-residue diet are decaffeinated beverages, milk, juice without pulp, and strained vegetable juices. It's important to stay away from anything that has caffeine for it can easily irritate the stomach lining.
What you have to avoid and limit intake
Foods and drinks that you need to avoid are seeds, nuts, coconut, whole grain products (rice, pasta, cereals, breads, and kasha), raw or dried fruits, raw vegetables, certain cooked vegetables like potatoes with skin, baked beans, cabbage, corn, peas, broccoli, winter squash and Brussels sprouts, cheese with seeds or nuts, peanut butter, jam, and marmalade, pickles, olives, relish, horseradish, popcorn, and fruit juices with pulp.
Since a low-residue diet entails less consumption of healthy foods and drinks, you need to consult a nutritionist and ask for recommendations on food supplements to take. This way, you won't suffer from nutritional deficiencies which are typical among people who are on this type of diet.
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