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DIVERTICULITIS

FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Split peas
  • Artichokes
  • Water
  • Broth

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • 10% of people over age 40 and in 50% of people over age 60
  • In the U
    S
    , 10 to 25% of people who have diverticulosis get diverticulitis
  • People who eat low-fiber diets
    Diets lacking in dietary fiber, which are common in industrialized countries, can cause constipation, which may provoke unnatural contractions of the large intestine, which in turn leads to the formation of diverticula
    This condition, called diverticulosis, can develop into diverticulitis when the diverticula become inflamed or infected
    The specific cause remains unknown, but the disease mostly affects people who are over age 60 and overweight
    It can be painful and may lead to complications such as abscesses, intestinal obstruction, or perforation of the intestinal wall
    In addition to abdominal cramps and pain, other symptoms include gas, fever, and rectal bleeding
    Constipation may alternate with diarrhea

    Old School

    People with diverticulitis must avoid nuts and seeds

    New Wisdom

    There is no scientific evidence to support the association between nuts and seeds diverticulitis
    The type of care you receive depends on the severity of your symptoms
    Talk to your doctor about what to expect and treatment options, which range from home care and liquid diets to different types of surgery

    Nutrition Connection

    These dietary guidelines can help prevent or delay diverticulosis and diverticulitis
    Try the following: Eat more fiber, rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains
    Diverticulitis is known to be less common among vegetarians than those who include meat in their diet, as vegetarian diets are typically higher in fiber-rich foods, such as berries, apples, pears, bananas, figs, bran, brown rice, barley, lentils, black beans, split peas, and artichokes
    However, it is important to increase fiber intake gradually
    If you have diverticular disease, do not start taking fiber supplements without first talking with your doctor

    QUICK TIP:

    Go “exotic” once a month
    Once a month, add a new type of grain to your diet
    This will help slowly introduce more fiber to your diet, which helps diverticulitis
    Mix in some amaranth, bulgur, or wheatberries into steamed carrots and broccoli, toss with olive oil and a bit of Parmesan or feta cheese, maybe throw in a can of tuna or a couple of ounces of cut-up chicken, and you’ve got dinner
    Drink fluids
    Along with a high-fiber diet, at least eight glasses of clear liquids like water, tea, or broth every day produces bulky, soft stools that move easily through the intestinal tract
    Not enough fluids can lead to constipation
    Keep notes
    Make note of foods that cause inflammation or pain and avoid them

    Beyond the Diet

    Diverticulosis sufferers should keep track of their symptoms and follow these recommendations: Go to the bathroom when you have to
    If you have diverticular disease, constipation can increase your risk of a diverticulitis flare-up because it increases pressure within your colon
    Exercise
    Exercise reduces pressure inside your colon and encourages normal bowel movements