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What Is the Recommended Diet for Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is a condition where small pouches form on the inside of the large intestine or the colon. Among other things, if someone becomes constipated or strains during bowel movements, these pouches can become irritated. Then the condition turns more severe, and is known as diverticulitis. Once that happens, eating becomes more complicated. What is the recommended diet for diverticulitis?

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Diverticulitis?

Each small pouch is known as a diverticulum, and if any of them become irritated or inflamed, they become painful causing abdominal discomfort. Although there is no direct cause for these pouches to become inflamed, there are certain risk factors.

Some risk factors for developing diverticulitis include:

Bowl of healthy food.
  • Consuming red meat on a regular basis
  • Constipation
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Getting older
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Low fiber diet
  • Taking meds like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or steroids

Diet Recommendations During Flare Ups

When a flare up occurs, it’s important to give the colon a chance to rest. Patients should start with a clear liquid diet for a few days to allow the bowels to not be over stimulated.

As the person slowly begins to recover, they should gradually add low fiber foods back into their diet. White bread and low fiber cereals are good choices during recovery. You can also include:

  • Fruit juice without pulp
  • Ice chips
  • Gelatin
  • Broth
  • Tea or coffee without milk

What to Eat Throughout Recovery From a Flare Up

Recovering from a flare requires slowly adding back fiber. Consult with Colorectal Wellness Center about when you might be ready to begin this process.

Gradually include starches like:

  • White bread
  • Potatoes without skin
  • Dairy like milk and cottage cheese
  • Protein from fish, eggs, lean poultry, and yogurt
  • Fruit including applesauce, canned fruit, juice without pulp
  • White rice
  • Well-cooked veggies
  • Broth
  • Ice pops

What to Avoid Throughout Recovery From a Flare Up

Avoid the following during the recovery:

  • Beans legumes, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans
  • Whole grains like brown rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, berries
  • Cereals that are high in fiber, bran, granola
  • Whole wheat pasta and other whole-grain foods
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Raw or dehydrated fruit
  • Juices that contain pulp
  • Raw veggies, skins of potatoes
  • Processed meat including deli meat, hot dogs, salami, sausage, bacon
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Fried or greasy foods
  • Hot or spicy meals

Living With Diverticulosis

During non-flare time, choosing the right diet with the correct fiber content is essential. You need enough fiber to prevent constipation as fiber is a stool softener.

Begin with between 5 and 15 grams of fiber per day. Slowly work up to more. If you are bloated or have gas, eat a little less. An adult eating a 2000 calorie diet a day needs 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. 

Be sure to drink plenty of water.

Choosing the right diet plan can become confusing, but it all revolves around the amount of fiber to eat and when to eat it during flare ups vs living with diverticulosis. 

To keep flare ups at bay, follow this recommended general diet plan:

  • Beans
  • Whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta
  • Brown rice and other whole-grain foods
  • Apples, pears, and oranges plus berries
  • Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and dark greens like spinach and kale
  • Popcorn, nuts, and seeds

Finding the right diet for you can manage symptoms and reduce flares.

Contact Erin King-Mullins, MD at (770) 325-2275 to discuss your history of diverticulosis and begin a personalized treatment plan at our office in Fayetteville.

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Diverticulitis can make eating difficult, but with the right recommendations, you can help keep flares at bay. Learn more here.