What is Diverticulitis Diet?
A diverticulitis diet is something your doctor might recommend as part of a treatment plan for acute diverticulitis. Diverticulitis occurs when small, bulging pouches (diverticula) in your digestive tract become infected and inflamed. Mild cases are usually treated with antibiotics and a diverticulitis diet, which includes clear liquids and low-fiber foods. More-severe cases typically require hospitalization. That’s why diverticulitis diet is recommended and intended to give your digestive system a chance to rest. If you have diverticulitis, there are certain foods you should eat, and others you should avoid. So, here is the list of recommended foods and the others you should stay away from.
What foods to eat
Your diet should be balanced and include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, plus whole grains. Adults should aim to eat 18g (0.6oz) to 30g (1.05oz) of fiber a day, depending on their height and weight. Your GP can provide a more specific target, based on your individual height and weight. It's recommended that you gradually increase your fiber intake over the course of a few weeks. This will help prevent side effects associated with a high-fiber diet, such as bloating and flatulence (wind). Drinking plenty of fluids will also help prevent side effects.
Good sources of fiber include:
- breakfast cereals – but check fiber content as some are very low
- starchy foods – such as brown bread, rice and pasta
Once you have reached your fiber target, stick to it for the rest of your life, if possible.
What foods to avoid
For decades, doctors recommended that people with diverticulitis avoid eating nuts, seeds, and popcorn. That’s because they believed the tiny particles from these foods might get lodged in the pouches and lead to an infection. While some doctors still recommend this, most physicians have abandoned that advice because modern research has demonstrated no evidence linking those foods with increased problems.
Anything spicy results in the rectal discomfort and inhibits smooth bowel movement. This would result in greater pressure on the intestines and hence the colon walls would become weak. People should avoid spicy Indian cuisine and Thai cuisine in such a case. Also, chili peppers should be avoided as well.
Raw vegetables including Iceberg lettuce and cabbage are also believed to cause infection to the colon wall and lead to the development of diverticula. People with diverticulitis should also avoid tomato juice, as well as onions to keep diverticulitis at bay. Pulp of fruits should also be avoided.
Food with high fat content could trigger diverticulitis. In addition, fried foods are also considered to trigger diverticulitis.
Finally, food items such as beer and soft drinks can result in diverticulitis. Such food items have zero fiber content and hence affect the digestion process adversely thereby causing increased pressure over the colon walls.
Some people with diverticulitis will benefit greatly from prescription medication use, particularly antibiotics. In almost all cases, your doctor will suggest you adopt certain lifestyle changes to make the condition easier to tolerate and less likely to worsen over time. So, make sure to include foods with high fiber content in your diet and avoid some aforementioned foods in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.