Diverticulitis diet: Foods to avoid, and foods that soothe symptoms
Once formed, diverticula do not go away; they are permanent. No treatment has been shown to treat or prevent diverticular disease or diverticulitis. Nevertheless recommendations have been made in regard to which foods to eat, and which foods to avoid.
Foods to eat that may prevent flares
Since one theory holds that it is reduced fiber in the diet that causes diverticulitis, diets high in fiber are the most recommended treatment for diverticula. Fiber clearly increases stool bulk and prevents constipation, and, if it really reduces pressures in the colon, theoretically it may help prevent further diverticula formation or worsening of the diverticular condition. Foods high in fiber include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes/beans, (for example, lima, kidney, cannellini, and red kidney beans; chickpeas, split peas, and tofu)
- Whole grains (for example, brown rice, cracked wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, rye bread, wild rice; and whole wheat bread, cereal, crackers, pasta, and tortillas)
Foods to avoid with diverticulitis
Some doctors recommend avoiding nuts, corn, and seeds, which are thought by some to plug diverticular openings and cause diverticulitis, but there is little evidence to support this recommendation. Nevertheless, foods frequently recommended to be avoided include:
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
What about probiotics and diverticulitis or diverticular disease?
Because inflammation has been found at the edges of diverticula, it has been speculated that colonic bacteria may be playing a role in the rupture of diverticula by promoting inflammation. This has led some people to further speculate that changing the bacteria in the colon might reduce inflammation and rupture and to suggest treatment with probiotics and/or prebiotics; however, there is not enough evidence of a benefit of probiotics yet to recommend treatment with probiotics of patients with diverticular disease.