What foods can I eat if I have diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis occurs in our colon which seems to occur as we age. Often when we have constipation we get a pressure on the inside of our colon and it pushes out little pockets that look something like the size and shape of a small pea. Our chances of getting this disease increases as we age and if we are lucky enough to reach 80 years and older nearly everyone in this age group will have some diverticulitis.

When this waste matter sits in these pockets infection can occur and we see less blood flow to the area which then becomes inflamed and often results in an infection. The patient will feel pain and tenderness on his/her left side down low.

In a severe case, the first line of defence is a dose of antibiotics to treat and reduce the inflammation. Pain killers will also be prescribed by your doctor. Surgery can be used but only in very severe cases and is not common.

Your diet needs to be a high fibre one. A good product is psyllium use it regularly but don’t over dose as too much fibre rids our bodies body of important nutrients. This will produce more bulk in your stools which in turn reduces the pressure on the colon. Build up the psyllium slowly to avoid pain, bloating, cramping or diarrhoea in the first instance. Try and add a good all round vitamin and mineral supplement to your diet as well. Increase your intake of water to about 2 litres a day. When your pain and or infection has subsided use a good probiotic. The benefits of a good pro-biotic are that they optimizes our intestinal tract and can assist with the following:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Prevention of cancer
  • Protection against some stomach ulcers
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Protection against many harmful bacteria, viruses, and some fungi

Breads and grains you can eat…..

  • Bread, pastas, pizzas, pancakes, muffins, bagels, pita bread..try and use whole-grain, whole-wheat flours, also add where you can 2-3 tsp of unprocessed wheat bran and psyllium to homemade
    breads and muffins.
  • Whole-wheat, whole-grain and bran cereal products
  • Buckwheat and stone-ground cornmeal
  • Rye breads
  • Whole wheat biscuits (high Fibre)
  • Oat bran
  • Barley, dry
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice

Other Foods to Eat

Eat raw or dried fruits and raw vegetables if possible, avoid processing fruit and vegetables as too much will reduce the fibre content.

Vegetables (5 servings a day)

Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, greens, turnip green beans, green and red capsicums, onions, peas, potatoes with the skin left on, sweet potato are good choices. Along with snow peas, broad beans, spinach, squash.

Fruit (2 servings daily)

Fruits such as apple, banana, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, fig, grapefruit, nectarine, oranges, peach, pears, pineapples and prunes.

Milk/dairy (2-3 servings daily)

Increase fibre in your diary (yogurt, cottage cheese) by adding unpeeled small pieces of fruit and a teaspoon of psyllium.  

All beans including baked beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, can also be added to your diet.

When using meats in your diet such as meatloaf and casseroles it is a good idea to add in some psyllium to these as well.

Fats and snacks

Trail mix made with dried fruits is a good snack.

Bean dip/ with high fibre crackers.

Avoid

Any hard or difficult to digest foods such as seeds, grapes, nuts, corn, popcorn hulls, and sunflower, pumpkin, caraway, and sesame seeds.

By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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