What to Eat for Diverticulosis

Adopt a High Fiber Diet When You Have Diverticulosis

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Have you just come back from your first colonoscopy and been told that you have diverticulosis? As you know, this condition means that tiny pockets have formed along the lining of your large intestine. For most people, this is a benign condition. However, some people find themselves dealing with ongoing symptoms of abdominal pain or tenderness and a change in their bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation.

First Steps When You Have Diverticulosis

Factors that might lead to the formation of the tiny pockets in your colon are that hard stool is pressing against the wall of the large intestine, perhaps taking longer to pass through your colon. Luckily, there are things that you can do to help to prevent ongoing minor symptoms, and hopefully also prevent an acute diverticulitis attack in which those tiny pockets known as diverticula become infected or inflamed.

A preventative self-care plan would include the minimal use of alcohol, getting regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor, so ensuring you aren't sitting for long periods at a time may also be helpful. Try to get up and move around each hour, and also get exercise every day at a moderate-to-vigorous exercise level of brisk walking to running.

You want to make sure you are drinking enough water and other fluids.

Aim for your urine to be light yellow or clear most of the day. Another important part of a preventative program is to eat a high-fiber diet.

Fiber for Diverticulosis

The recommended amount of fiber for the average adult is 20 to 35 grams per day. If your diverticulosis diagnosis means that you need to increase your intake of dietary fiber, it is strongly recommended that you do this slowly.

Too much fiber, too soon, could result in symptoms of gas, bloating and diarrhea. It is also essential to drink lots of water to help your body to take the best advantage of the fiber you are eating.

The best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains:

  • Beans, such as black beans, kidney beans
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Fruits, all kinds, fresh and dried, raw or cooked
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables, all kinds, raw or cooked
  • Whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta

Should You Avoid Nuts, Popcorn, and Seeds?

It used to be standard advice for people with diverticulosis that they avoid nuts, popcorn, corn, seeds, and seeded fruits and vegetables for fear that these foods would get stuck in the diverticula, causing them to become inflamed. This advice is no longer considered to be valid. In fact, as these foods are a great source of fiber, it should be fine to include them as part of your regular diet.

Supplements

Now that you have a diverticulosis diagnosis, your doctor may also recommend that you add the following to your daily diet:

Sources:

"Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Diverticular Disease."National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diverticulosis-diverticulitis/eating-diet-nutrition

Humes, D. & Spiller, R. "Review article: the pathogenesis and management of acute colonic diverticulitis" Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2014 39:359–370.

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