Sometimes, as people age, they develop small bulging pouches in the lining of the large intestine – known as diverticula. When diverticula become inflamed or infected, it may lead to a very painful condition called diverticulitis.
Individuals who have diverticulitis experience nausea, vomiting, bloating, fever, constipation and/or diarrhea. Experts believe that the cause of diverticulitis is a low-fiber diet. It can be treated with antibiotics or in severe cases, surgery. However, there are alternative and natural ways to treat your diverticulitis by making adjustments to your diet.
Diet for Diverticulitis
For those experiencing severe symptoms from diverticulitis, your doctor may suggest a liquid diverticulitis diet as part of your treatment. It may include:
- Fruit juices
- Ice pops
Once your symptoms lessen in severity you can gradually ease back to a regular diet. It’s best to start out with low-fiber foods (white bread, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products) before introducing high-fiber foods.
Fiber is a great nutrient for diverticulitis patients. It softens and adds bulk to stools, helping them pass more easily through the colon. It also reduces pressure in the digestive tract.
Many studies have been conducted to prove that eating foods rich in fiber can help control and alleviate diverticular symptoms. It’s recommended that you try to eat at least 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Some examples of fiber-rich foods include:
- Whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals
- Beans (kidney beans and black beans)
- Fresh fruits (apples, pears, prunes)
- Vegetables (squash, potatoes, peas, spinach)
Your doctor may also recommend a fiber supplement, called psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel), one to three times a day along with drinking water and other fluids throughout the day.
Foods to Avoid With Diverticulitis
Hard to digest foods should be avoided by those with diverticulitis. It’s best to stay away from these foods for fear that they could get stuck in the diverticula and lead to inflammation. These include nuts, corn, popcorn, and seeds.
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