Diverticulitis Diet what You Should Eat and Avoid

Specialty: Clinical Nutrition

Merlin Annie Raj is a Registered Dietitian based out of Hyderabad, India. She has vast experience in Clinical Nutrition as well as teaching Nutrition and Dietetics to undergraduate and postgraduate students. She was awarded the President... more

A diverticulitis diet is best for people with gut inflammation. Typically, consumption of foods low in dietary fiber leads to the formation of tiny pouches (diverticula) in the innermost walls of the colon. When these tiny diverticula get inflamed or infected, they cause pain and bleeding. This condition is termed diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis And Fiber-Rich Foods How It Helps

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by humans. Fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble, depending on its ability to dissolve in liquids. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are of great importance as they help add bulk to the stool, slow down the transition time of digested foods in the colon, help in the absorption of nutrients, suppress appetite, and help good gut bacteria to flourish, which improves digestion (363a.html' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >2) (3).

Without fiber, you can suffer from constipation, and the colon has to work extra hard to pass the stool leading to diverticulosis or bulging of the colon wall. Consuming foods that are rich in fiber can help prevent your colon from exerting pressure to excrete the stool, thereby preventing irritation of the colon walls. But ensure you do not consume too many high-fiber foods too soon.

You should be very careful while incorporating fiber-rich foods into your diet. How to do it right? Follow our diverticulitis diet plan that will not shock your colon but instead help you make a smooth transition. Take a look.

Diverticulitis Diet

Phase 1 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

Phase 1 of the diverticulitis diet requires you to be on clear liquids for at least three days. This may sound a little harsh, but the reason doctors recommend this is that eating fiber-rich foods right away can further irritate the colon wall, leading to severe pain and bleeding. Liquids, on the other hand, will provide the required nutrition without the need for the digestive organs to work too hard. So, heres how you should go about it.

Why This Works?

Since you will be in pain and experience loss of appetite, this diet chart contains a minimum amount of foods that are nutritious and help your body function properly. Start your day with two cups of water to help soften the stool and soothe the colon walls. It will also help flush out the toxins.

For breakfast, strain the fruit juice to prevent adding any fruit fiber to your diet. If you feel hungry after a few hours, you can have a cup of white tea to bolster your immune system. For lunch, have vegetable or bone broth. Leave out the veggies for a few days to avoid putting any strain on your digestive system. For the evening snack, have a cup of fruit juice to help rejuvenate and replenish your body with vitamins and minerals. For dinner, have a cup of lentil broth without the lentils and a small cup of jelly to satiate your taste buds.

Now, lets find out which foods you should eat and avoid while you are in Phase 1 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid Phase 1

So, it is clear from the above list that you have to avoid all foods that require you to chew or need the digestive organs to function well. You can also improve your condition by exercising regularly. Heres what you should do.

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 1?

After three days (or more, depending on the healing), you will start to gain appetite and experience less pain. You will become more active, and your mood will also improve.

So, now, you can safely get on to the next phase of the diverticulitis diet. Lets find out whats in it.

Phase 2 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

In Phase 2, you will slowly start including low-fiber foods in your diet. You should be cautious as you may feel you can digest anything, but thats not true. Help your digestive organs to resume their normal functioning without shocking them with too many fiber-rich foods. Heres what you should eat.

1 slice of white bread toast + 1 cup black coffee

Or

1 pancake + 1 cup black coffee

Pasta with white sauce + 1 small scoop of ice cream

Or

Poached chicken + mashed potatoes + 1 small scoop of ice cream

Why This Works?

As you will start feeling better by this time, you can add low-fiber foods to your diet. Start your day by drinking two cups of water to flush out the toxins. Have a slice of white bread or a pancake made of flour, which is low in fiber. Have a cup of black coffee to feel fresh and rejuvenated. Freshly pressed fruit juice without the pulp will help soothe your colon.

Have a substantial lunch with white rice, well-cooked veggies, and yogurt to aid digestion and provide nutrition to your body. Green tea and a cracker will help curb your hunger in the evening and also scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals.

Make your dinner exciting by having pasta with white sauce or poached chicken and mashed potatoes. End your meal with a small scoop of ice cream to keep you motivated to follow this diet chart.

Heres the list of foods to avoid and eat while you are in phase 2 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid Phase 2

So, you see, you should eat low-fiber foods and avoid consuming high-fiber foods till your colon is healed to a great extent. Exercise can also speed up your healing. Heres a list of exercises that will help you.

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 2?

By the end of Phase 2, you will feel much better as your stomach ache will vanish, and you will be able to digest food with ease. Your appetite will return to its normal levels, and you can go about your daily activities with more ease. Before you decide to move on to the next phase, you should consult your doctor. If he gives a thumbs up, you can move on to Phase 3. Heres what you should do in Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet.

Phase 3 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

You can start consuming fiber-rich foods, which will help prevent constipation and bloating and improve digestion. Heres what you should eat.

1 egg + 1 cup milk + 2 wheat bread toast + 2 soaked almonds

Or

Multigrain cereal + milk + chopped apple + dates + 2 soaked almonds

Or

Brown rice with stir-fried veggies + mushrooms + 1 cup buttermilk

Quinoa with black beans + 1 small scoop vanilla ice cream

Or

Spinach, cheese, and shredded chicken stuffed wheat pita bread + 1 sapodilla

Why This Works?

Having two cups of water in the morning as soon as you wake up is mandatory to help improve bowel movement, soothe the colon, and flush out the toxins. In this phase, you will consume fiber-rich foods for all the meals. Eggs are a great source of protein, wheat bread and multigrain cereal are rich in fiber, and milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Apples and dates are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and almonds are a great source of healthy fats. If you feel hungry after a few hours, you can have a small amount of ricotta cheese.

For lunch, have a salad with a dressing of your choice or brown rice, mushrooms, and stir-fried veggies to get all the nutrients. At the end of your lunch, have a cup of buttermilk to provide your gut with good bacteria. You can have carrot or apple juice for your evening snack. They are a good source of vitamin A, minerals, and fiber.

For dinner, have fiber-rich foods, such as quinoa, black beans, spinach, wheat pita bread, and sapodilla. Also, include chicken as it is a good source of protein. Cheese adds flavor, and ice cream helps keep your dinner exciting. Take a look at the next section to find out which foods you should eat and avoid while you are in Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid Phase 3

While you are in Phase 3, you can gradually start doing cardio along with yoga asanas to keep yourself active and fit. Heres your phase 3 exercise routine.

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 3?

By the end of Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet, your digestion will improve, the severe pain in the colon will diminish, and you will regain control of your life.

For your convenience, here are a few other causes and symptoms of diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis Symptoms

You should also keep a few points in mind if you have diverticulitis. Heres what you should know.

Points To Remember

Diverticulitis is a painful condition and demands a specialized diet and lifestyle. This diet plan involves consuming fiber-rich food to help soothe the colon walls and reduce inflammation. When combined with exercise, the diverticulitis diet can improve your quality of life. However, before you follow the diet plan discussed in the article, consult with your doctor and nutritionist. Diverticulitis is a painful ailment, but it is treatable with a change in food and lifestyle. So, follow the tips to lead a pain-free and healthy life.

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