Diverticulitis Diet: 11 Foods To Avoid With Diverticulitis
Updated on / by Addison
They say we should embrace getting older, well, as accurate as the statement is, we also dread getting old because of some health complications associated with old age. Theres a myriad of health conditions that are inevitable if one doesnt take necessary precautions to alleviate them. Diverticulitis is one such condition and is characterized by small pockets in the colon lining, which when they get infected, swelling abounds.
The condition leads to abdominal pains, and as if that is not enough, people have nausea, fever, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and fever. Because the condition often strikes unexpectedly, the next low fiber foods should be avoided if you want to escape diverticulitis.
The following is a list of the top 11 foods to avoid with diverticulitis.
Pasta Recipes For Diverticulitis
A high fiber diet is recommended for prevention of Diverticulitis. Please note that if you are in the midst of a flareup or active diverticulitis, you should be consuming clear liquid or low fiber diets. Once you are well with no symptoms, a high fiber diet is recommended. Here are some delicious pasta recipes that you can enjoy.
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Evolving Your Diverticulitis Diet
If a food is negatively affecting you, let your healthcare provider know. They can help you figure out the best way to reduce or cut it out while still getting adequate nutrition.
Talk to your healthcare provider about periodically trying to add new foods into your diet. Having a compliant and nutritious meal plan is important for managing your diverticulitis, but so is having a plan you can stick with. With time, there may be an opportunity to add greater variety without impacting your symptoms.
Top Foods To Eat For Preventing Diverticulitis
Fiber is your friend when it comes to good digestive health. It promotes good bacteria, keeps the digestive track clean, and helps bulk the stool so its easier to pass.
If youre looking to ward off or manage diverticulitis, here are some of the best high-fiber foods to eat, and how many grams of fiber each serving has:
- Bran cereal : 8.6g
- Kidney beans : 7.9g
- Lentils : 7.8g
- Spinach, cooked : 3.5g
- Vegetable or soy patty: 3.4g
- Apple : 3.3g
- Dates, dried : 3.3g
For many years, doctors advised people with diverticulosis not to eat nuts, seeds, or popcorn, which they believed could block the openings of diverticula and lead to flare-ups of diverticulitis.
But research has never proven that eating these foods increases the risk of developing diverticulitis, and doctors no longer make this recommendation.
Because foods that are high in fiber are typically also high in vitamins and other nutrients, it’s best to get the fiber you need from food.
But if dietary restrictions prevent you from consuming all the fiber you need at meals, your doctor may recommend fiber supplements.
- Psyllium, which is present in supplements like Metamucil and Konsyl, is one fiber option. This supplement may be sold as a powder or liquid, in granules, capsules, or as a wafer.
- Methylcellulose-based supplements, like Citrucel, are typically sold in powder or granular form.
- Chicory root fiber, inulin, oligofructose, and fructooligosaccharides may increase good bacteria and improve immune function.
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Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid With Acute Diverticulitis
The currently recommended diet to treat diverticulitis includes eating foods that are low in fiber and avoiding foods that are high in fiber.
|Foods to Eat||Foods to Avoid|
Soup stock or broth
Raw vegetables and fruits with skins
Milk and other dairy products
Dried fruits and prune juice
Tea or coffee w/o sweetener
Bacon, shrimp, and other meats
Ten Foods That Can Trigger Diverticulitis
If you suffer from diverticulitis, your doctor may tell you to change your diet. Studies show that eating a fiber-packed diet can help you manage diverticulitis flare-ups. There are no restrictions on your diet, but you may find that certain foods trigger the condition and will need to eliminate them.
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Fiber And Diverticulitis: Whats The Connection
Diverticulitis is a condition where small, sac-like pouches form on the top layer of the colon and become infected or inflamed. Best estimates reveal diverticulitis affects 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. population by age 50, affecting Western and developed nations most.
Risk of diverticulitis is tied to age, history of constipation, obesity, a lack of physical activity, and, importantly, a lack of fiber.
What You Should Avoid
During a diverticulitis flare-up you should avoid eating unpeeled fruits, raw vegetables, red meats or food that stimulates gas formation such as milk, eggs, beans, industrialized products or frozen meals.
In addition, your diet should be low in fat, and you should avoid eating fried foods, canned foods, sauces, and yellow cheeses.
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How Much Fiber Do You Really Need
Low fiber intake is considered a risk factor for diverticulitis. Yet most people in the US fail to get enough fiber in their diets. Based on federal dietary guidelines, adult women ought to aim for 22 to 28 grams of fiber per day, depending on their age. For men, the goal is 28 to 34 grams.
Ultimately, the AGA recommends that anyone with a history of diverticulitis consume a “high-quality diet,” including fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Adding a cup of berries to your breakfast, for example, boosts fiber intake by 4 to 8 grams, says the AGA. A half-cup serving of beans or lentils packs 5 to 8 grams of fiber.
Some Simple Steps To Help Prevent Diverticulitis
Other than diet, there are several other ways you can maintain good digestive health and prevent diverticula from forming, including avoiding eating too much red meat, avoiding fatty foods, and drinking plenty of fluids. 30006-9/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 16)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin, Aleve , and Advil or Motrin have been linked to increased instances of diverticular bleeding.
High-fiber diets need water to function properly. If you don’t drink enough water, you can put yourself at greater risk of constipation.
Finally, delaying bowel movements can lead to hard stools and increased strain on the muscles of the colon, which may lead to diverticular disease.
Here are some habits to practice to avoid diverticulitis:
- Exercise regularly
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Does What You Eat And Drink Play A Role In Causing Or Preventing Diverticular Disease
Research suggests that a diet low in fiber and high in red meat may increase your risk of getting diverticulitisinflammation of one or a few pouches in the wall of your colon. Eating high-fiber foods and eating less red meat may lower the risk.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 20202025, recommends a dietary fiber intake of 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. For example, for a 2,000-calorie diet, the fiber recommendation is 28 grams per day.
Final Thoughts On Eating To Manage Diverticulitis
Although doctors arent sure what causes diverticulitis, there are things you can do to manage this condition. Eating a diet high in fiber is best to offset flare-ups. Eat whole-grain bread, rice, or quinoa instead of white rice or potatoes.
Choose fish and lean meats, lots of vegetables, and fruits for your diet. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners. Prepare your veggies and meats with olive oil rather than cooking oils or vegetable oils that are loaded with trans fats. Grilling, baking, or broiling is the best way to prepare meats. Also, you should drink loads of water to maintain your hydration.
If any of these foods cause you a flare-up, you may want to eliminate them from your diet. Everyone reacts differently to your condition. But once you learn which foods to eat and, conversely, what not to eat, it will be much easier to control your diverticulitis and lead a normal life.
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Is Tuna Good For Diverticulitis
The fiber you get by consuming a tuna sandwich or eating fiber-rich side dishes with tuna steaks is important for your digestive system health. Fiber regulates your bowel movements, which helps prevent diarrhea and constipation. It also may prevent diverticulitis, a condition marked by inflamed pouches on the colon.
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What Your Diet Should Be Like After The Flare
After a diverticulitis flare-up it’s important to gradually include fiber-rich foods into your day-to-day diet. Start by having one fruit or raw vegetable a day, and then progress by adding more fruits and vegetables, or even some wholegrain cereals into your day. In addition, you will also need to increase your daily water intake to at least 2 liters a day.
Including fibers and drinking plenty of water is very important to avoid constipation and make feces softer. When feces are not soft and get compacted inside the bowels it can cause the diverticula to get inflamed or infected, leading to other flare-up.
Should I Avoid High Fiber Foods
The effect of fiber on diverticulitis can vary from person to person. In the past, doctors recommended that people with diverticulitis follow a low fiber diet or a clear liquid diet. Today, some doctors have moved away from this advice.
Dietary fiber can reduce the symptoms of diverticular disease and improve bowel function, according to research from 2018. Researchers stated this is because fiber can improve colon health by allowing better gut movement and stool bulk.
While some researchers have linked a high fiber diet to a reduced risk of diverticulitis, this may not be helpful for someone experiencing diverticulitis flare-ups.
Fiber adds bulk to the stool and may increase colon contractions, which can be painful during a flare-up. Your doctor might recommend avoiding fiber during an acute flare.
Each person is different. Its always a good idea to consult a medical professional before making large diet changes.
When adding fiber to your diet, be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
When youre not having a diverticulitis flare-up, a high fiber diet can reduce the risk of flares and help keep the gut healthy.
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Why Is Fiber Important In Digestive Health
Studies suggest that people in Africa and Asia, where high-fiber diets are common, rarely suffer from diverticular disease. On the other hand, diverticulitis is seen in up to 50 percent of the population of Finland due to low fiber intake and an aging population.
Fiber, or plant material, serves an important role in the digestive process, softening stool and helping it move more smoothly through the colon. A lack of fiber can cause constipation, which makes stools harder and more difficult to pass, putting stress on the muscles of the colon.
And because diverticula typically form in areas where digestive muscles are strained or weakened, constipation may make the development of diverticula more likely.
Because constipation causes pressure to build up in the colon, it may also lead to inflammation or infection of diverticula that are already present in the colon, causing diverticulitis.
Luckily, high-fiber foods arent difficult to find.
Summary: Treating Diverticulitis With A Diverticulitis Diet And Food
There is no doubt that fiber is good for you, and that a high-fiber eating pattern may help prevent diverticulitis occurring in the first place
However, there is very little evidence it helps minimize symptoms in those who have already been diagnosed.
In fact, newer research suggests that following a low FODMAP diet may be the most beneficial in preventing diverticulitis from recurring.
There is also some evidence that probiotics are useful for treating symptoms. However, researchers are unsure they help prevent recurrence.
Also consider vitamin D supplementation if you have low levels.
Lastly, there is little evidence that cutting meat or nuts and seeds from your diet is beneficial. If anything, nuts are more likely protective, while seeds are still a bit of a mystery.
Still, each persons experience is different. You may find that certain foods worsen your symptoms and are best avoided.
Remember that diverticulitis is a disease influenced by many other factors too, including obesity, stress, physical activity levels and smoking status.
I hope this article cleared up some of the confusion for you. Let me know what helps or aggravates your symptoms in the comments.
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Is Too Much Fiber A Bad Thing When It Comes To Diverticulitis
The short answer: Yes! Be mindful that some studies suggest eating too much fiber may actually lead to diverticular disease by causing constipation. Fiber bulks the stool, so remember to match your fiber intake with water.
The recommended amount of dietary fiber is around 20 to 35 g per day. There are two kinds of fiber found naturally in the foods you eat:
- Soluble fiber
- Insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like material that makes stools softer and larger, allowing them to pass easily through the intestine. Insoluble fiber helps move waste through the digestive system by absorbing water and adding bulk to stools.
Most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. But some foods contain more of one kind of fiber than the other.
What Are The Best Foods For Diverticulitis Patients
While this article went in depth into foods to avoid with diverticulitis, you are probably wondering what you can eat.
After you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should begin with a liquid diet. After you have lived on liquids for a couple of days, you can then move to a low fiber eating plan including:
- Fruit juices
- Ice pops
Once you are feeling better, you can start to work back into your regular diet. Check with your doctor to see if he wants you to start off with low fiber foods, such as eggs, poultry, meat, white bread and dairy products.
Finally, you will move on to a high fiber diet. The good news is the fiber will help your stools move through you faster and helps them pass through your colon with no trouble. It also helps to relieve pressure on your digestive system.
Studies have confirmed that eating foods rich in fiber can actually help keep the repercussions of diverticulitis under control. The ideal amount of fiber you might want to include is 25 to 35 grams each day. Here are some to start with:
- Kidney beans, black beans, and most other varieties
- Coffee, tea and juice
- High fiber veggies like peas, spinach, squash and potatoes
- Watermelon, apricots, grapes, peaches, applesauce and any other high fiber fruits
- Pasta, cereal and whole grain breads
If youre not sure what you should or shouldnt be eating when you have diverticulitis, talk with a dietician or health care professional and see what they suggest.
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What Is A Good Diverticulosis Diet
A good diverticulosis diet is one that is rich in fiber and provides plenty of fluids. Specifically, an individual can benefit from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Water can be consumed as a drink or in foods to maintain proper hydration and regular bowel movements. Switching to such a diet should happen gradually to avoid problems such as bloating, and even healthy foods need to be monitored for added preservatives or chemicals that can negatively affect colon health.
Diverticulosis, or diverticular disease, is a condition in which an area of the digestive tract contains bulging sacs, or diverticula. Many people have this condition without knowing it. They often discover it only after a routine colonoscopy, or when it advances into diverticulitis, the inflammation or irritation of diverticula.
General Dietary Guidelines
Whole grains are the complete fruits of cereal grasses such as oats. As whole seeds, they contain three parts. These are the bran , the germ and the endosperm . The bran has a very high fiber content, so eating whole grains and whole grain products is part of a diverticulosis diet.