Diet For Diverticulitis | How To Heal Your Digestive System

What Is The Diet For Diverticulitis?

A diet for diverticulitis may be recommended by your doctor as a temporary measure along with antibiotics when you have mild diverticulitis. So what exactly is diverticulitis? Some people develop tiny pouches in the lining of their colon, each of these is a diverticulum. At this stage the person is said to have diverticulosis. Usually diverticulosis does not cause distress, but the main symptom is severe abdominal pain. Other symptoms can include constipation, fever, nausea and vomiting. When these pouches get inflamed the person is said to have diverticulitis. The aim of a diet for diverticulitis is to give your digestive system a rest and allow it to heal. 

What Causes Diverticulitis?

It is thought that diverticulitis is caused by a diet that is low in fiber.  Although fiber does not contribute directly to any nutritional needs, it is important for a healthy colon. A diet for diverticulitis is structured to gradually introduce more fibre into the diet. Initially when you have a diverticulitis flare up, it is necessary to be on a low fiber diet. However, once your condition has improved you need to go on to a high fiber diet plan.

A Typical Diet For Diverticulitis

When first diagnosed with diverticulitis the doctor may recommend you to go on a low-fiber diet. The gives the colon time to heal without being overworked. Once your condition has improved you may be advised to change your diet to a high fiber diet. This is to make your colon have more regular movements and to prevent the risk of forming more pouches.

Low Fiber Diet For Diverticulitis

Your doctor may advise you to start with clear liquids at first, then gradually start adding low fiber foods such as:

  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, smooth yoghurts, cream and eggs
  • Cooked or canned vegetables like potatoes, green beans, carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach and pumpkin. Also vegetable juices with the pulp removed.
  • Cooked or canned fruits without seed and skin. Also fruit juices with the pulp removed.
  • Meats like poultry and fish.
  • Refined grains like low-fiber cereals, white bread, white pasta and white rice

High Fiber Diet For Diverticulitis

As you start healing, your doctor may advise you to gradually start adding high fiber foods such as:

  • High fiber vegetables like beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens, swiss chard, artichokes, potatoes with skin on and sweet potatoes.
  • High fiber fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries, pears, avocados, mangoes.
  • Beans like kidney lima or pinto beans, split peas and chickpeas.
  • Lentils like red, green and puy lentils
  • Whole grains like high-fiber cereals, whole meal bread, dark rye bread, cracked wheat, brown rice and barley
  • Nuts and seeds

The Best Diet For Diverticulitis

The correct diet for diverticulitis and the amount of fiber needed therefore depends on whether you have a condition that has flared up, or whether you want to prevent or control the condition. Remember, diverticulitis can be controlled and prevented with the correct diet. It is important to maintain a healthy diet with an adequate amount of fiber. If you are unable to include a suitable amount of fiber in your daily meals, your doctor may recommend fiber supplements such as psyllium husk. Keeping hydrated and drink enough water during the day also helps. A healthy colon is a happy colon!

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