Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Diverticula are a kind of pouches that grow on the sides of your large intestine as you age older. Diverticulitis is a condition caused by inflammation or swelling of the diverticula. Sometimes it can be minor and without many symptoms.
Most of the time, diverticulitis can present as severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and a marked change in your bowel habits. At times it can also cause complications like bleeding and intestinal obstruction.
If diverticulitis is mild, it can be treated by changes in diet, proper rest, and a few antibiotics. However, in case of severe disease, surgery could be required.
What Foods Should be Consumed by a Diverticulitis Patient?
A high-fiber diet is recommended for you to prevent any constipation that can trigger diverticulitis. But, in case you develop symptoms of diverticulitis, you should soon switch to a low-fiber diet to get relief.
During a diverticulitis flare-up, a low-fiber, readily digested diet is recommended. Several options include calming teas such as chamomile or linden tea, freshly squeezed fruit juice, chicken broth, and water. You should keep to a liquid-only diet for the first 24 hours.
Green beans, carrots, potatoes, eggs, fish, and chicken are all good food options that can be consumed if you have diverticulitis. You can also eat white bread that has been manufactured with refined flour. Fresh juices without pulp from fruits and vegetables can also be served.
What Soups Can I Eat With Diverticulitis?
You can have vegetable soups once the symptoms of diverticulitis improve. The following are the better options for soups that you can eat with diverticulitis:
- Lentil soup is full of polyphenols and high in protein. It is rich in fiber and iron and helps in the healing process of diverticulitis.
- Split peas Soup has low cholesterol levels and also helps with IBS. Apart from being gentle to the gut, it also has the properties of improving heart health, preventing cancer, and promoting weight control.
- Broccoli Soup calms down the inflamed gut and aids in better digestion. Apart from action on the gut, it also can help in the prevention of cancer and improve bone and heart health.
- Mushroom soup is a good source of fiber, including beta-glucan, an immune-supporting fiber that can help with diverticulitis. B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B12, are abundant in this food. Minerals such as selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese are abundant in mushrooms.
- Kidney Bean Soup is a good source of fiber. Kidney bean soup is low in cholesterol and is a very good supplement for diabetic patients. It has antioxidant properties and also helps in the prevention of hypertension.
- Kale soup: It is low in calories, high in fiber, and has zero fat. Kale soup is rich in iron and vitamin K. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful antioxidant.
What foods should stop to avoid a flare-up of Diverticulosis?
Certain meals might irritate the lining of your stomach, causing pain and discomfort. Because these meals are unique to each instance of diverticulitis, it’s crucial to be aware of the precise trigger foods that might be causing your flare-ups. Foods that are difficult to digest should be avoided to prevent them from being caught in your intestinal diverticula.
- Seeds: Poppy seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds have all been known to get lodged in the diverticula. Fruit with seeds, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, should be avoided.
- Corn: Corn’s fiber and sugar content cause stomach pain, resulting in digestive system inflammation.
- Fast foods high in fat: Fried food has a lot of fat, which stimulates the digestive system and produces inflammation, leading to acid reflux, which can aggravate diverticulitis symptoms.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking a lot of alcohol raises your chances of getting diverticulitis by three times. The motility of the gut is lowered by alcohol. The onset of diverticulosis has been associated with a decrease in motility in the lower intestine (rectosigmoid). Alcohol drinkers are often more likely to develop diverticulosis and diverticular bleeding, as per a study titled “Alcohol and smoking affect the risk of uncomplicated colonic diverticulosis in Japan,” published in The PLOS Journal.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods can cause intestinal irritation, which can result in vomiting and diarrhea. It’s recommended to avoid spicy meals if you want to prevent your diverticulitis symptoms from getting worse. As per a study titled “Prevalence and risk factors of asymptomatic colorectal diverticulosis in Taiwan” published in BMC Gastroenterology, spicy food, and alcohol consumption were associated with diverticulitis.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, and artichokes are examples of high-fiber plants that might be difficult to digest. They might produce bloating and gas when consumed.
- Carbonated beverages: Avoid carbonated beverages, which can induce bloating and gas, aggravating diverticulitis symptoms.
Healthy Diverticulitis Diet
Diverticulitis nutrition therapy is an approach to allow your digestive system to relax. When you have diverticulosis, try to eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber softens the stool and aids in the prevention of constipation. It can also assist in relieving intestinal pressure and thus avoid diverticulitis flare-ups.
For a few days, your diet consists of clear liquids. On a clear liquid diet, you can eat the following foods:
- Soup/Broth thickened with barley or other cereals and made with meat or vegetables cooked in stock.
- Low/No pulp fruit juices
- Chips of ice
- Tea or coffee without cream
As you begin to feel better, your doctor will advise you to increase your intake of low-fiber meals gradually. Low-fiber foods include the following:
- Canned or seedless cooked fruits
- Green beans, carrots, and potatoes, either canned or cooked (without the skin)
- Fish, egg, and poultry (chicken)
- White bread made of refined flour
- Fruit and vegetable juice with no pulp
- Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Pasta and noodles
After your symptoms have improved, usually within two to four days, you can resume eating 5 to 15 grams of fiber each day. When you no longer experience symptoms, resume your high-fiber diet.
Prevention of a Diverticulitis relapse
- Consume a high-fiber diet to bulk up feces and make them simpler to pass through the large intestine
- Drink 6-7 glasses of water per day
- Start a regular exercise routine. Gardening activities can also help
- Watch for any changes in bowel movement like constipation and diarrhea
A high-fiber diet will help avoid future flare-ups if you have diverticulosis but aren’t experiencing an episode of diverticulitis. A low-fiber or clear liquid diet, depending on the severity of an acute diverticulitis flare-up, may be effective in reducing symptoms.
Consult your doctor about your food requirements and limits if you have diverticulitis. It’s crucial to talk about how eating might help or hurt your condition.
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