Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis
When your digestive tract is functioning optimally, you probably don’t have to worry about your digestive health. However, certain conditions like diverticulitis can affect your digestive health hence why you should know how to deal with them.
As you may know, diverticulitis is a type of diverticular disease. The small pouches in your colon, known as diverticula, become infected when you have this condition.
If you visit a health practitioner and they diagnose you with diverticulitis, you should know that avoiding specific foods can help you manage symptoms. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so you should be careful.
It’s for this reason that this review will list foods that you should avoid when you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis. We’ll also discuss how else to prevent this condition.
Foods to Avoid
Physicians typically recommend a high-fiber diet for persons diagnosed with diverticulitis, like veggies and whole grains. In the past, health practitioners often suggested that persons with diverticulitis should avoid nuts and seeds because they could access or block the diverticula.
But recent studies indicate not all nuts and seeds are harmful because they’re rich in fiber and can benefit some people. People are different; some may find that these foods aggravate their diverticulitis symptoms, while others won’t.
Below is a list of foods that may aggravate diverticulitis symptoms. You may be able to consume these foods, and if you do, proceed with caution.
Coffee is widely regarded as a stimulant, so if you’re experiencing diverticulitis symptoms, you might want to avoid it. However, if you have recovered and received a green light from your doctor, you can take coffee, albeit not too strong.
Corn is on this list because people tend to eat it quickly rather than take time to chew it thoroughly. As a result, the fiber and sugar content in corn and corn-like foods such as popcorn can cause discomfort in the gut, possibly due to inflammation.
3. Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables like artichokes, broccoli and lettuce are rich in fiber but can be difficult to break down. When you eat them, you might experience bloating.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis, your digestive tract might not handle lactose too well. Even if you’re typically not lactose intolerant, you might experience bloating as a result of consuming dairy and dairy products like butter, cheese, heavy cream, yogurt, etc.
5. Excessive Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of diverticulitis by up to three times. Researchers think that diverticulitis is linked to alcohol due to reduced intestinal motility.
6. Fatty Foods
You might also want to cut fatty foods from your diet if you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis. Why? Because they can worsen gut issues like nausea and vomiting. Some people might even experience diarrhea symptoms.
Instead of frying your food, try baking, boiling or steaming it. You should also opt for lean proteins like poultry, at least until your diverticulitis symptoms disappear.
7. High FODMAP Foods
You should also avoid high FODMAP foods if you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis. FODMAPs are short for fermented oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are carbs that can trigger symptoms like bloating and diarrhea.
A 2016 study found that when combined with foods rich in FODMAPs, a high-fiber diet can result in excess gas in the gut triggering or worsening diverticulitis symptoms.
Some of the foods rich in FODMAPs include:
Beans: kidney beans, lentils, yellow beans, etc.
Fruits like apples, berries, cherries, peaches, pears, etc.
Wheat-based foods like bread, crackers, etc.
Keep in mind that some of these high FODMAP foods have fiber that a person with diverticulitis needs. So, you should discuss them with a dietitian before eliminating them. We respond differently to various foods, and doctors are best placed to offer advice.
Studies have linked high intakes of red meat (beef, mutton and pork) and processed meats (bacon, brawn, sausages, etc.) with worsening diverticulitis symptoms.
A 2017 study by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) discovered that if people abide by some recommendations, it could be possible to prevent up to 50% of diverticulitis-related attacks.
Recommendations of this study included that people shouldn’t consume more than 50g of red meat daily and should consume about 25g of dietary fiber per day.
Another NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) study focused on males in the United States found that higher intakes of red meat were linked to an increased risk of diverticulitis. The study recommended fish and poultry as alternatives.
9. Medium-sized Nuts or Seeds
10. Raw Veggies
Raw vegetables can be challenging to break down because they contain insoluble fiber. This means the fiber remains intact, causing you discomfort. Therefore, it’s vital that you cook your veggies to help your digestive tract break them down easily.
11. Spicy Foods
Spices can lead to inflammation of the gut, causing diarrhea and vomiting. Therefore, it’s important that you avoid spicy foods. Some spices you should be wary of include black pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, etc.
12. Sugary Foods
High-sugar and low-fiber foods typically found in Western diets can trigger or worsen diverticulitis symptoms. Some of these foods include:
Candy like fondants, jellies, licorice, nougats, etc.
Granola and granola bars
Pastries like cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pies, etc.
Processed sugary drinks like energy drinks, juices, soda, etc.
Sauces: barbeque, honey mustard, ketchup, etc.
How Else Can You Battle Diverticulitis?
Frequent exercise can prevent diverticulitis flare-ups. A 2009 NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) found that vigorous exercise lowered the risk of diverticulitis as well as GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding.
If you have severe flare-ups, your physician can prescribe an antibiotic to help combat the infection, reducing inflammation. Sometimes physicians will prescribe meds immediately after diagnosing you with diverticulitis to prevent worsening symptoms.
In conclusion, avoid the foods listed above if you have been diagnosed with diverticulitis. It’s true that some of them might not affect you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Either way, ensure you consult a dietitian on what to avoid eating.
Damla Sengul, a seasoned Food Editor at Dietsmealplan.com, boasts a 5-year worth of expertise as a digital editor, with a specific focus on authentic recipe content. Her expertise extends to various crucial aspects of the cookery world, including in-depth research on renowned chefs worldwide and innovative recipe development. Additionally, Damla is an enthusiastic baker who dedicates part of her time crafting delightful celebration cakes for her friends.