The underlying cause of ulcerative colitis is still not known - though the disease is associated with dysfunction of the immune system. In the disease the body's own T-cells attack the lining of the bowel - and hence cause it to be inflamed. The body's immune system then takes this inflammation to be a further sign of infection - increasing the immune response - in a vicious cycle. This situation is what people would term a flare-up.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.
Although it seems reasonable that a specialized diet might benefit patients with ulcerative colitis, there is actually no evidence to support treatment with dietary modification. Therefore, during flare-ups, patients should continue to eat what they can tolerate.
Despite extensive research, no diet has been found to slow progression of the disease, or to treat or cure the disease. It is recommended that patients stay on a balanced, healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats, beans, fish, eggs, and nuts.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America recommends a bland diet with soft food during a flare including hot cereals, boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and canned or cooked vegetables to minimize discomfort.