Diverticulosis & Your Diet

Diverticulosis is the presence of weak areas or tiny pouches in the wall of the body’s intestine. Pouches generally appear in the lower part of the intestine known as the colon. The pouches, called diverticula, look like small protrusions or tiny balloons poking out of the side of the colon.

A diet high in fiber is known to be very beneficial in the prevention and treatment of diverticulosis. Dietary fiber increases the movement of food through the digestive track, promoting regular bowel function and the reduction of abdominal pain and gas. Fiber is most prevalent in raw, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, high fiber cereals and bran.  The daily recommended intake of dietary fiber is 20-35 grams for adults. Introduce additional fiber into your diet slowly in order to avoid bloating, abdominal gas and diarrhea.

The list of foods below highlights foods you’ll want to incorporate into your diet, as well as those you should be cautious about consuming.  Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also extremely helpful in promoting digestive function and helping food move through the intestine.

YES FOODS

High fiber cereals (>6g fiber per serving): Fiber One, Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Good Friends, All Bran, 100% Bran Flakes, McCanns steel cut oatmeal, Kashi Go Lean hot cereal

Whole grain bread & rolls (>2g fiber per slice): whole wheat, oat bran, wheat bran, spelt, rye bread, bran muffins

Whole grains: millet, quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, whole wheat & spelt pasta, ground flaxseed meal, wheat germ

High fiber crackers: FiberRich, Wasa, Finn Crisps

Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, great northern & navy beans, lentils

Vegetables: raw vegetables/salads, cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, kale, carrots, asparagus, green beans, turnips, parsnip, sweet potato (with skin)

Fruits: (raw or cooked, with skin) berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries), apples, pears, apricots dried fruit (1/3 cup), peaches, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, banana

Nuts, coconut, crunchy peanut butter, popcorn

Dairy: low-fat plain yogurt, skim or low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese

Meats, Chicken, Fish: eggs, well-cooked or stewed lean beef, chicken or turkey breast, salmon, tuna, white-flesh flaky fish (cod, bass, flounder, sole, halibut)

NO FOODS

Refined carbohydrates: white breads, focaccia, muffins, rolls, croissants, cookies, candy, chips, pastries, bagels, potatoes, french fries, white rice, pasta, pancakes, waffles

Cereals: low fiber cereals (<6g fiber per serving) Special K, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, sweetened sugary cereals – Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, etc.

Vegetables: mashed potatoes, vegetable juices

Fruits: canned fruits in heavy syrup, fruit juices