foods to avoid with diverticulitis

7 Foods to Avoid With Diverticulitis

Stay Clear of These to Help Your Gut Health

Each year, about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized due to diverticulitis. This condition happens when small pouches develop along the digestive tract, which can lead to infection and inflammation. Symptoms of diverticulitis may include lower abdominal pain, pain that worsens when eating, bloating, changes in bowel movements, diarrhea, indigestion and signs of infection like fever, chills and nausea. While many people with diverticulitis don’t experience any symptoms or problems, others may struggle when it comes to eating certain foods. So, which foods might be problematic? The truth is that it’s different for everyone, and discovering or knowing your specific triggers can help you figure out a diverticulitis diet and foods that make sense for you. However, here are 7 foods to avoid with diverticulitis.

1. Nuts and Seeds

It’s been long thought that nuts and seeds could cause inflammation of the diverticulitis pockets along the digestive tract. While more evidence is needed, the high fiber in these foods may pose some issues and cause diverticulitis symptoms to flare up or come to light. Often, doctors will recommend slowly increasing one’s fiber intake after a diverticulitis flare-up so that the body has time to adjust.

2. Popcorn Seeds

Like nuts and seeds, popcorn seeds may become lodged in the diverticulitis pockets, creating symptoms and issues. These may also cause issues with the mucosa along the digestive tract, increasing irritation and leading to digestive woes and diverticulitis symptoms.

3. Whole Grains

There are tons of debates over this one! But generally, this is a food you may want to be careful with, especially if it contains a lot of seeds. This, again, may come down to the fiber content, which may be irritating. After a diverticulitis flare-up, doctors or dieticians will usually have patients eat a low-fiber diet and slowly add fiber from there.

4. Beans

Since everyone is different, this list offers a general overview of what you may want to avoid with diverticulitis. However, generally, beans are also recommended to avoid due to their high fiber content.

5. Fruits and Vegetables With the Skins

Fruits and veggies with skins may be hard for the body to digest, so they are often recommended to avoid with most digestive conditions, including diverticulitis. The type of fiber found in these skins may be particularly irritating to the digestive tract. Instead, opt to peel the skin before eating so you can still enjoy plenty of veggies and fruits.

6. Red Meat

Some studies indicate diverticulitis flare-ups with high red meat consumption. Thus, it may be best to limit this type of food, such as having it on occasion or once per week.

7. High FODMAP Foods

Following a FODMAP diet may decrease any pressure on the colon and reduce irritation along the digestive tract. This means avoiding foods like apples, cherries, barely, grapefruit, buttermilk and more.

Following a Low Fiber Diet is Best!

This is especially true if you’ve had a recent diverticulitis flare-up or were recently hospitalized for this condition.

After the initial onset of a recent attack, it may be further a good idea to avoid alcohol or caffeine for the time being. This is because caffeine acts as a stimulant, which can cause further bowel irritation. Alcohol, in general, is quite hard on the digestive tract and body. Thus, it’s best to avoid or limit alcohol with any health condition.

Those with diverticulitis may further benefit from taking probiotics, such as eating more Greek yogurt, to help reset the microbiome and reduce abdominal pain. Exercise may also lower the risk of an attack and reduce a person’s likelihood of developing diverticulitis.

When to See Your Doctor

If you experience pain for longer than two days, it’s likely a good idea to book a visit with your doctor. Your practitioner can help you avoid an attack or help determine how to reduce the severity of the attack you’re currently experiencing.

Lastly, diverticulitis symptoms like constipation and stomach pain may mimic other conditions. These symptoms could also signify appendicitis, ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. If your doctor suspects any of these, they will likely send you for further testing, such as image or blood testing. Additionally, in some severe cases of diverticulitis, IVs for hydration may be needed or antibiotics may be required to eliminate an ongoing infection. In this way, this condition can become life-threatening if not properly treated.

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