You could be directed by your doctor to consume foods that can be digested in an easier way than others, if he has carried out a diagnosis of you and has found out that you – or your wife/husband/child — are suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Diverticulitis or ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are three types of such diseases.
He may tell you to go on a diet that is a low-residue one. This sort of diet alleviates the ill effects of such stomach diseases like diarrhea or stomach cramps. The diet won’t cure the disease, but it will ease the problem.
Vhat is a Low Residue Diet?
In such a diet, eatables that contain fiber and foods that are more difficult than others to digest are limited. Fiber contains plant matter that the body cannot fully digest. Breads made from whole grain, breakfast foods, seeds, both fresh and dry fruits and nuts are high in fiber.
Residue refers to the food that is not digested. It includes the fiber which constitutes a stool. If the walls of the intestine have been inflamed or injured, it will impede digestion and hinder the absorption of water. Nutrients too will not be absorbed in a proper manner. The extent of this, however, depends on where the disease is located.
Acute narrowing of small intestine may also be seen in certain persons suffering from Crohn’s. The objective of eating low-residue food is to lessen the frequency and mass of movements of the bowel that one has every day and thus ease the hurtful effects of the diseases like cramps, diarrhea, gas and bloating. But this sort of diet won’t have an effect on the irritation and the disease as such.
A diet that is low in fiber/residue could be suggested for a short period, when the disease touches its peak, or the period soon after a surgery to help in the recovery process. But it isn’t a universal plan of eating for all who are suffering from a bowel disorder. Your doctor or dietician can assist you in making a proper diet schedule. Apart from changes in your diet, your doctor could ask you to have some vitamin supplements.
Low Residue Diet Foods
- Foods that contain very small amounts of fiber and have a low residual quality are contrary to healthy eating as prescribed by the nutritionists, as this diet acutely restricts the consumption of fiber and some vital nutrients. In this diet, one has to usually keep off whole grains and nuts which are fiber-rich.
- A diet that is a low-residue one will include the following: Purified or refined white bread and simple crackers, or seedless Melba toast, cereals that are cooked like farina, breakfast food made from ground wheat kernels and grits; cereals that are cold — puffed rice or cornflakes for example — and white rice or noodles and purified pasta.
- There’s lots of fiber in the skin of fruits and in their seeds. The same is true with many vegetables. Therefore, in a diet that’s low-residue the skin must be peeled off before eating. Also, do not eat the seeds. These vegetables may be included in your food: Vegetables that are fresh or canned and which do not contain seeds, like asparagus, green beans, pumpkin, spinach, tips, carrots, mushrooms, seedless squash and beets; potatoes that are cooked and from which the skin is removed; seedless tomato sauce.
- Among fruits eat bananas, avocado, fruits that are cooked or available in cans with the seeds and skin removed; cantaloupe that is soft and honeydew.
- Products made from milk are fine to eat but have them in moderation. There is no fiber in milk, but people with a low tolerance to lactose may suffer diarrhea symptoms and cramping. You may consume supplements of lactase or have some products that are free of lactose.
- It’s fine to eat most of the meats and pork. But they must be are lean and tender. It’s also OK to eat eggs.
- Among condiments you may have mayonnaise, margarine, soy sauce, sour cream, smooth sauces, clear jelly, butter, ketchup, salad dressing, honey, oils ad syrup.
- Even if you have a sweet tooth you can gorge on some favorites. But eat them in moderation. You can put on your plate simple cakes, ice cream, pretzels, gelatin, custard, vanilla wafers, sherbet, cookies, popsicles and hard candy.
- These drinks can be safely consumed: Coffee that’s decaffeinated, carbonated beverages and tea. (caffeine may cause inflammation in your stomach), juices that do not contain pulp/seeds like apple juice, orange juice without the pulp, juice made from cranberry. Juices of vegetable can be had, but they must be strained. You may drink milk
Low Residue Diet Foods to Avoid
- Say no to seeds or nuts including the ones found in some bread, coconuts, candy, desserts and cereal, products made with whole grain, fresh fruits or dried ones like prunes, figs, berries, pineapple or plums, a large number of un-cooked vegetables, cheeses that contain nuts and/or seeds or even fruit, peanut butter and marmalade and jams and preserved foods.
- Stay away from pickles, horseradish, sauerkraut, popcorn, olives, fruits juices that have seeds or pulp juices made from prunes or nectar of pear.
How to Make Low Residue Diet Work?
As you go through the list of foods – those that you can enjoy or those which must keep off – you may notice that in the former list there are certain foods that will not cause you any hassles. On the other hand, some of the stuff in the ‘foods that you can savor’ list may be a reason for some discomfort.
All of us have varied tastes in food and we tolerate them in a different manner. To find out what’s good for you to eat, for some weeks maintain a diary of what you consume. By keeping a record of what you have and how you feel after eating those foods, you can learn in a better way what foods are fine for you.
A person who savors a healthy meal may find the shift to low-residue foods tough. But bear this in mind: this kind of diet is not beneficial for your health in the long run as a large number of vital nutrients are removed from this diet plan.
If you need to remain on this low-residue eating for a long time, talk to a good dietitian or expert in nutrition to ensure you are eating the nutrients that you require to keep healthy. You may require some vitamins supplement, besides mineral ones, in addition to your diet.