What is the Diverticulitis Diet?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Diverticulitis diet refers to a diet people are on when they have an active case of diverticulitis or it means a diet people go on after they’ve had diverticulitis. Having diverticulitis means having infection in pouches in the intestine, which are called diverticula. Presence of diverticula may be a good reason to go on the second type of preventative diet, while having diverticulitis means eating simple and specific foods so the intestines don’t have to work hard and can begin to respond to antibiotic treatment.

Sports drinks, which can be drunk on a diverticulitis diet.
Sports drinks, which can be drunk on a diverticulitis diet.

When a person has an active case of diverticulitis, doctors may suggest they remain on a simple diverticulitis diet. Things on this diet may vary but usually there are lists of foods that are discouraged. People should avoid high fat foods like meats and heavily fibrous foods. Instead clear liquids are advocated, and most folks do best with simple foods like broth, sports drinks, popsicles, and the like.

Applesauce may be recommended for people on a diverticulitis diet.
Applesauce may be recommended for people on a diverticulitis diet.

Since diverticulitis sometimes leads to greater intestinal troubles, some doctors advocate adding yogurt with live active cultures to an acute diverticulitis diet, or adding simple foods like applesauce which has a little fiber. In addition, physicians may suggest other treatments that can promote regularity. Fiber or laxative supplements might be recommended.

Choosing whole grain breads is part of a high-fiber meal plan.
Choosing whole grain breads is part of a high-fiber meal plan.

The preventative diverticulitis diet is very different and is meant to be used when people don’t have an active infection. The focus in this diet is getting plenty of fiber. Some of the best sources include beans, whole grain rice, and other whole grains like oats. Green vegetables and many types of fruit are excellent dietary fiber sources. High fiber is combined with low fat proteins and can prove to be very nutritious

One good source of fiber is nuts and seeds, and yet there tends to be great concern with those who have diverticula about eating them. What medical researchers now say is different than in the past. It was once believed that nuts and seeds would get into the diverticula or pouches and cause inflammation. This is no longer believed, though it makes sense to discontinue eating anything that seems to result in acute diverticulitis. People are advised to use their discretion when determining whether nuts and seeds are worth adding to a preventative diverticulitis diet.

While doctors suggest that diet may help reduce some attacks, this isn’t always the case. Not all doctors agree that high fiber diets are that beneficial, but others swear by them as a means of reducing diverticulitis. There are other diets that may be advocated as curative for this condition, but in most cases the condition can’t be fully cured. On the other hand, lots of people swear by a particular diet as being responsible for a reduction in symptoms or diverticulitis attacks.

To help prevent diverticulitis flare-ups, some physicians advocate a diet rich in vegetables and other fiber-rich foods.
To help prevent diverticulitis flare-ups, some physicians advocate a diet rich in vegetables and other fiber-rich foods.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Ven

Before I ended up in the hospital for four days with diverticulitis,

I had eaten a peach every day and had fiber mixed along with a meal. By the end of the week I suffered with acute pain. After leaving the hospital, my doctor placed me on three antibiotics and Lactinex. I am on a low fiber diet. Three family members suffer with diverticulitis also.

I am about 25lbs over weight and I eat often a balanced meal.

So I have no idea why my diverticulitis flared up; not even the doctor did.

Spotiche5

@ocelto60- You should try adding other ingredients to enhance the flavor of your favorite kinds of yogurt. Fruit, nuts, honey, and even chocolate syrup will make yogurt more of a treat than something you only eat because you have to.

Ocelot60

My doctor recommended that I eat yogurt on a regular basis as part of my diverticulitis diet. The problem is that I don't find most kinds of yogurts very appealing. What are some alternatives to the commercial brands that all taste the same to me.

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