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Diverticulitis Diet Advice to Improve Symptoms of Digestive Disease
What Foods to Eat If You Suffer From Diverticulosis

Diverticulitis: Diet Advice

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Diverticulitis and Diet

What is the Treatment for Diverticular Disease (diverticulitis)

Diverticular disease, a type of digestive disease, is probably caused by our highly refined Western Diet, with inadequate amounts of fiber, especially soluble fiber. Typical treatment for diverticular disease includes a high-fiber diet and, occasionally, mild pain medications which help relieve symptoms in most cases. Sometimes an attack of diverticulitis is serious enough to require a hospital stay and possibly surgery.

Diverticulosis and Fiber

Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet may reduce symptoms of diverticulosis and prevent complications such as diverticulitis. Fiber keeps stool soft and lowers pressure inside the colon so that bowel contents can move through easily. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Of this, about 6-8 grams should be soluble fiber.

The table below shows the amount of fiber in some foods that you can easily add to your diet.

Higher Fiber Diet Foods

Fruits
apple 1 medium = 4g fiber
peach 1 medium = 2g
pear 1 medium = 4g
tangerine 1 medium = 2g

Vegetables
acorn squash, fresh, cooked 3/4 cup = 7g fiber
asparagus, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 1.5g
broccoli, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2g
brussels sprouts, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2g
cabbage, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2g
carrot, fresh, cooked 1 = 1.5g
cauliflower, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2g
romaine lettuce 1 cup = 1g
spinach, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 2g
tomato, raw 1 = 1 gram
zucchini, fresh, cooked 1 cup = 2.5g

Starchy Vegetables
black-eyed peas, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 4g
lima beans, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 4.5g
kidney beans, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup = 6g
potato, fresh, cooked 1 = 3g

Grains
bread, whole-wheat 1 slice = 2g
brown rice, cooked 1 cup = 3.5g
cereal, bran flake 3/4 cup = 5g
oatmeal, plain, cooked 3/4 cup = 3g
white rice, cooked 1 cup = 1g

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Nutrient Database for standard reference.

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Fiber and Fluid

If you suffer from diverticulitis and increase your fiber intake, make sure you increase your fluid intake at the same time. (Drink at least 3 pints per day). Insoluble fiber needs fluid in order to form stools that are easy to pass.

Fiber Supplements/Products

The doctor may also recommend taking a fiber product such as Citrucel or Metamucil once a day. These products are mixed with water and provide about 2 to 3.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, mixed with 8 ounces of water.

Until recently, many doctors suggested avoiding foods with small seeds such as tomatoes or strawberries because they believed that particles could lodge in the diverticula and cause inflammation. However, this is now a controversial point and no evidence supports this recommendation. Individuals differ in the amounts and types of foods they can eat.

If cramps, bloating, and constipation are problems, the doctor may prescribe a short course of pain medication. However, many medications affect emptying of the colon, an undesirable side effect for people with diverticulosis.

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SOURCE: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2002. Website: www.niddk.nih.gov/

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