Diverticulitis is an inflammation of the colon, known as the large bowel. The condition results from simple infections or catastrophic perforations that allow leakage of content into the abdomen.
Mostly, patients experience minimal symptoms that are treatable with antibiotics. Unfortunately, some patients will witness life-threatening symptoms that require emergency surgery and hospitalization.
People with diverticulitis experience vomiting, nausea, constipation, bloating, fever and diarrhea in addition to abdominal pain.
Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid? Experts believe that low-fiber diets can cause diverticulitis. That might be the main reason people in Africa and Asia, where the diets are high in fiber, have a low incidence of this condition.
The condition causes a few symptoms or no symptoms at all, therefore, leaving the affected person unaware that he/she has a problem.
If you are experiencing any severe symptoms from the condition, your doctor will recommend liquid diverticulitis diets as part of the treatment. Your diet will include water, broth, fruit juices, and ice pops.
Foods not to eat if you have diverticulitis
The primary cause of diverticulitis is unknown and therefore no foods are proven to ease the condition.
If you are already diagnosed with the condition, you have to avoid some foods. Here are some foods to avoid.
1. High fiber foods
Foods high in fiber might be helpful for individuals with diverticulitis, particularly those without an acute flare-up, and they may help prevent the occurrence of this condition.
A study conducted in 2017 showed that people who consumed fiber-rich foods experienced reduced abdominal symptoms. But because every person is unique, the needs of fiber vary according to the symptoms and condition.
If you are experiencing any pain or any of the other symptoms, your doctor will advise you to limit the intake of fiber-rich foods for some time.
Fiber bulks stool, therefore, increasing peristalsis – colon contractions. That might be uncomfortable and painful for people experiencing a flare-up.
By avoiding high-fiber foods, especially if you are inflamed, you will benefit from the ease of symptoms and your system will get a temporary rest. Whether you are eating high fiber or low fiber foods, you should drink more water.
The fiber-rich foods you might need to avoid, especially during a flare-up include:
– beans and other legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, and kidney beans
– Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, spelt, amaranth, oats and bulgar
2. High-FODMAP foods
Studies have shown that diets that limit intake of Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs) are not only helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome but they are also good for people with diverticulitis.
Some examples of foods that are high in FODMAPs, and which you have to avoid after you are diagnosed with diverticulitis include:
– Fruits like pears, apples, and plums
– Dairy products like yogurt, milk and ice cream
– Brussels sprouts
– Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut
3. Foods with high sugar and fat levels
Standard diets containing low sugar, fat and fiber levels may increase diverticulitis incidence.
Studies have shown that avoiding foods with high sugar, fat and fiber levels helps reduce the symptoms of diverticulitis.
Foods to avoid in this category are:
– Red meat
– Full-fat dairy
– Fried foods
– Refined grains
For a long time, doctors have advised people not to eat nuts, most seeds, and popcorn. The tiny particles in the foods may be lodged in the digestion and cause infections.
However, studies have shown that there is no link between the foods and heightened diverticular issues.
Keep in mind that alcohol is not good for people with diverticulitis.
What are the best foods to eat after diverticulitis diagnosis?
People diagnosed with diverticulitis, especially those in pain from the symptoms, experience reduced appetite.
Nausea, bloating and abdominal pain does not subside immediately including when taking antibiotics as prescribed.
Drink enough water, even if it is a few small sips at a time, to remain hydrated throughout the day.
Water is more important if you have been vomiting. Here are the recommended foods.
– Foods to eat when facing initial recovery
In the initial stage of your recovery, stick to a liquid diet. Avoid high-fiber foods for rapid recovery.
Remember that low fiber diets may cause flare-ups as the colon recuperates.
Try liquids such as fruit juices without pulp, tea, and water.
– Food to eat as the pain reduces
As symptoms diminish, the pain will reduce and you will start feeling hungry more often. That will happen including if you are still experiencing abdominal cramping and bloating.
It might take a long time for the digestive tract to resume its normal functioning, but the great news is that you can start eating low fiber solid foods.
You do not want to disrupt the large intestine during the healing process so try pasta, white rice, juices, white bread and cooked or canned vegetables and fruits.
– The long term foods to eat
After recuperating, you can prevent relapse by consuming high-fiber diets. They will bulk your stool for easier movement.
Fiber-rich foods help control blood glucose and blood pressure too, therefore, improving the overall health.
How is diverticulitis treated?
Usually, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to treat diverticulitis. Also, you will have to change your diet and get more rest. If the condition recurs or the antibiotics are not helpful, surgery will be important.
If left undiagnosed or untreated, some serious complications such as fistulas, intestinal blockages, rupture of liquids in the pouch might occur.
In such cases, you will need immediate care. Eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones if you want your digestive system to remain healthy and happy.
After you are diagnosed with diverticulitis, talk to your doctor about your food restrictions and food needs. You must understand how food may aggravate or heal the condition.
Depending on the severity of diverticulitis flare-ups, diets low in fiber or clear liquids will reduce the symptoms.
For additional guidance, your doctor will refer you to a person with experience working with individuals who have diverticulitis or a dietitian.
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