Foods You Can't Eat with Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs as a result of not consuming enough fiber. When the body does not take in enough fiber, pouches or pockets form in the colon creating a very painful situation. Without the fiber intake, pressure builds in the colon wall and after a period of time, the weak points balloon up creating diverticuli. Diverticulitis results when the pockets become infected.

What Foods Should You Avoid If You Have Diverticulitis?

1.    Nuts and Seeds

If you have diverticulitis, there are certain foods you should not eat. Any foods that are hard to break down can bring on another attack of diverticulitis by aggravating the intestinal track. When it comes to diverticulitis, foods to avoid include corn, popcorn, nuts, sesame seeds, etc.

2.    Grain Products

When it comes to grains, you may want to completely refrain. There are residues from the grain that could irritate the stomach. Rather than breads and pasta, you should reach for refined enriched breads and cereals, such as Cheerios and Rice Krispies.

3.    Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Any fruits and vegetables that have hard seeds or skin should be avoided if you have diverticulitis. Foods to avoid include tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, okra, blackberries, kiwi, peppers and eggplant. Other vegetables that you should avoid include cauliflower, Swiss chard, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, squash, iceberg lettuce, and zucchini.

4.    Dairy Products

Dairy products are not foods you should indulge in. Whole milk, whipped cream and coffee creamers that are nondairy can potentially irritate your stomach if you have diverticulitis. Coconut and palm oils are ingredients in store bought whipped cream. You may want to exchange these items for skim milk and low fat yogurt. Other dairy you should watch out for are cream cheese, margarine, butter, and cheddar cheese.

5.    Fast and Refined Food

Most junk foods, such as pizza, fried snacks, and greasy hamburgers, do not fit in the high fiber diet that people with diverticulitis should be following. These foods could aggravate the stomach potentially, resulting in ulcers or triggering another diverticulitis episode.

If you have diverticulitis, foods to avoid include that are very refined. They are in the same category as fast food in that they have no fiber and do more to irritate the lining of the stomach creating discomfort.

6.    Alcohol and Tobacco

Both alcohol and tobacco are also foods to avoid with diverticulitis. Both of these items have a good chance of irritating your colon and gastric mucosa. Tobacco causes other health risks so it is in your best interest to quit completely. But if you feel that you would still like to have an occasional drink, speak with your doctor and see what the consequences would be. If it is not something that you would partake of on a regular basis, chances are it will be okay.

7.    Other Foods

With diverticulitis, foods to avoid also include those that are spicy, sugary and acidic because they all can somehow worsen the condition.

  • Spicy foods can be upsetting for many people to handle; for those who suffer from diverticulitis, they can dry out the lining of the stomach. Any foods such as hot peppers or chili should be avoided or you will find yourself tending to a painful stomach ache.
  • Sugary foods can aggravate your condition as well as give you gas and leave you bloated.
  • Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruits have been known to cause diverticulitis to flare up and even make things worse.

What Are the Best Foods for Diverticulitis Patients?

While this article went in depth into foods to avoid with diverticulitis, you are probably wondering what you can eat.

After you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should begin with a liquid diet. After you have lived on liquids for a couple of days, you can then move to a low fiber eating plan including:

  • Water
  • Broth
  • Fruit juices
  • Ice pops

Once you are feeling better, you can start to work back into your regular diet. Check with your doctor to see if he wants you to start off with low fiber foods, such as eggs, poultry, meat, white bread and dairy products.

Finally, you will move on to a high fiber diet. The good news is the fiber will help your stools move through you faster and helps them pass through your colon with no trouble. It also helps to relieve pressure on your digestive system.

Studies have confirmed that eating foods rich in fiber can actually help keep the repercussions of diverticulitis under control. The ideal amount of fiber you might want to include is 25 to 35 grams each day. Here are some to start with:

  • Kidney beans, black beans, and most other varieties
  • Coffee, tea and juice
  • High fiber veggies like peas, spinach, squash and potatoes
  • Watermelon, apricots, grapes, peaches, applesauce and any other high fiber fruits
  • Pasta, cereal and whole grain breads

If you’re not sure what you should or shouldn’t be eating when you have diverticulitis, talk with a dietician or health care professional and see what they suggest.

If you suffer from constipation, you should make sure you drink plenty of water during the day. You may also want to try a fiber supplement like Metamucil or Citrucel up to three times each day.

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