People can develop little bulging pouches in the lining of the large intestine as they grow older. These are called diverticula, and the condition is known as diverticulitis.
When the pouches become swollen or infected, it leads to a very painful condition called diverticulitis. Apart from abdominal pain, people may experience bloating, constipation, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, or fever.
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According to experts, a low-fiber diet can lead to diverticulitis and diverticulitis. This may be why the incidence appears to be lower among people in Asia and Africa, where the diet appears to be higher in fiber. Diverticulitis usually causes no or few symptoms; leaving many people heedless of the condition.
Diet for Diverticulitis
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms from diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a liquid diet as part of your treatment, which can include:
- Fruit juices
- Ice pops
You can gradually ease back into a regular diet after these fluids. Your doctor may advise you to start with low-fiber foods (white bread, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products) before introducing high-fiber foods.
Fiber softens and adds bulk to stools, helping them pass more easily through the colon. It also reduces pressure in the digestive tract.
Studies indicate that eating foods rich in fiber can help control diverticular symptoms. Women younger than 51 should target 25 grams of fiber daily while men younger than 51 should aim for 38 grams of fiber daily. Women 51 and older should get 21 grams daily. Men 51 and older should get 30 grams daily.
Here are a few fiber-rich foods to include in meals:
- Beans (kidney beans and black beans)
- Fresh fruits (apples, pears, prunes)
- Vegetables (squash, potatoes, peas, spinach)
- Whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals
Your doctor may also recommend a fiber supplement, such as psyllium(Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) one to three times a day. Drinking lots of water and other fluids all through the day will also help prevent constipation.
Foods to Avoid With Diverticulitis
In the past, doctors had recommended that people with diverticular disease avoid hard-to-digest foods such as corn, nuts, popcorn, and seeds, for fear that these foods would get stuck in the diverticula and lead to inflammation. However, according to recent study, there is no real scientific evidence to back up this recommendation.
The fact is nuts and seeds are components of many high-fiber foods, which are suggested for people with diverticular disease.