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The Diverticulitis Diet

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
August 5, 2023
December 14, 2023

Diverticulosis is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by the development of small, bulging pouches known as diverticula in the lower part of the intestine, particularly in the colon. When these pouches become infected or inflamed, it leads to a more severe condition called diverticulitis. In mild cases of diverticulitis, the typical treatment approach involves a combination of antibiotics and a low-fiber diet. Alternatively, treatment may begin with a period of fasting, followed by a gradual introduction of clear liquids and eventually transitioning to a low-fiber diet until there is improvement in the condition.

How to Prevent Diverticulitis?

To minimize the occurrence of diverticulitis flare-ups, the preventive measures are essentially similar to those for preventing diverticulosis, which include:

  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking

The Diverticulitis Diet

When faced with a bout of diverticulitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection. It's crucial to diligently follow the prescribed medication regimen, completing the full course even if you start feeling better. Additionally, your doctor may recommend a liquid diet or low-fiber diet until your flare-up improves.

In the case of a clear liquid diet, solid foods are off the table,  focus on consuming clear liquids. This includes options like:

  • Clear juices (Avoid orange juice and juices with pulp)
  • Jell-O
  • Popsicles
  • Meat or veggie broth

Alternatively, if a low-fiber diet is suggested, you can select and choose from the options below:

  • Protein choices include delectably tender meats such as ground meat or perfectly cooked cuts, as well as eggs and dairy products.
When on a low-fiber diet, go for soft, seedless fruits and veggies. Choose those that have been gently cooked or canned.
  • As for grains, opt for low-fiber varieties like pasta, white bread, and white rice to fulfill your dietary needs.

Takeaways

By understanding diverticulitis and making mindful dietary choices, you can support your digestive health and manage this condition effectively. It's essential to prioritize fiber-rich foods during non-flare-up periods while adjusting your fiber intake during episodes of flare-ups. Additionally, incorporating regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall are key factors in supporting your digestive well-being. For personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs, consulting a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is highly recommended. Here's to cultivating a nourished gut and embracing a vibrant, fulfilling life!

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