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How to prepare and what to eat before a colonoscopy

The preparation for a colonoscopy should begin 3 days before, with a diet consisting of liquid foods such as shelled and seedless vegetable soup, chicken or fish, crushed in a blender and strained at lunch and dinner.

What to eat before a colonoscopy

It is important to start decreasing your intake of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and beans to help cleanse the bowel and ensure a good view of the bowel inside and make it easier to perform the test even before you start taking a fluid that is prescribed by your doctor when booking the exam, that can help clean your bowel.

In addition, 2 days before the day of the test, only light and easily digestible foods can be eaten, leaving little residues in the gut such as toast, jelly, jam, white bread, salt and corn crackers, coconut water and teas and on the day before the exam, the food should be liquid until 3 hours before the exam and after that nothing is eaten or drunk.

How to prepare and what to eat before a colonoscopy
How to prepare and what to eat before a colonoscopy

Diet menu to prepare for a colonoscopy

The following menu is a 3-day example of a residue-free diet for good exam preparation.

MealDay 3Day 2Day 1
BreakfastNatural skimmed yogurt + white breadApple without peel juice + 4 toasts with jamStrained pear juice + 5 crackers
Morning snackJellyStrained orange juiceCoconut water
Lunch/DinnerGrilled chicken steak with mashed potato

Cooked fish with white Rice or Soup with Noodles, Carrots, Skinless, Seedless Tomatoes and Chicken

Beaten and strained potato, chayote and broth and fish soup
Afternoon lunchStrained pineapple juice + 4 Maize biscuitsLemongrass tea + 4 crackersJelly

It is important to ask for detailed written guidance on the cautions you should take prior to a colonoscopy at the clinic where you will have the exam so that you do not have to repeat the procedure because the cleansing process has not been done properly.

After the exam, the bowel takes about 3 to 5 days to function again.

What not to eat before colonoscopy

The following is a list of foods to avoid within 3 days prior to a colonoscopy:

  • Red meat and pickled meat, such as tinned meat and sausage;
  • Raw leafy vegetables such as lettuce, collard greens and broccoli;
  • Whole or peeled fruits;
  • Milk and derivatives;
  • Beans, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, corn and peas;
  • Whole grains and raw seeds such as flax, chia, oats;
  • Whole foods such as rice and bread;
  • Oilseeds such as peanuts, walnuts and nuts;
  • Popcorn;
  • Fatty foods that take a long time in the gut, such as lasagna, pizza, beans, sausage and fried foods;
  • Red or purple liquids such as grape juice and watermelon;
  • Alcoholic beverages.
How to prepare and what to eat before a colonoscopy

In addition to the list of prohibited foods, you should also avoid papaya, passion fruit, orange, mandarin, melon.

Important recommendations before doing the exam

Some important precautions to follow to prepare for the exam are:

  • Do not eat food within 4 hours before starting the laxative preparation for the exam;
  • Along with the laxative preparation you can only drink transparent liquids such as coconut water, transparent and strained teas and juices.

What to eat after a colonoscopy

After the exam, the bowel takes about 3 to 5 days to function again, and abdominal discomfort and bloating in the belly are common. To improve these symptoms, gas-forming foods should be avoided within 24 hours of the test, such as beans, lentils, peas, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, eggs, sweets, sodas, and seafood. 

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