What Can I Eat With Diverticulitis?

By Jody Braverman

As you get older, your risk for developing diverticulosis, a condition in which you develop small pouches in your intestinal wall, called diverticula, increases. Often, these pouches cause no problems, but in some people the pouches can become inflamed and painful. This condition, called diverticulitis, is characterized by periods of flare-ups during which your symptoms may be quite severe and require a liquids-only diet. Always follow your doctor's advice about what to eat during and after a diverticulitis attack.

Diverticulitis in Detail

Diverticulosis is more common in older adults, affecting up to 10 percent of Americans over age 40 and 50 percent of people over age 60; 10 to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis will develop diverticulitis, according to MedlinePlus. Diverticulitis is a serious condition that causes pain in the lower left abdomen that is usually sudden and severe. It may also be accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting, chills and cramping. The goal of treatment is to clear up the infection and reduce inflammation. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you may be in the hospital on intravenous fluids or you may be resting at home and consuming a clear liquid diet.

What You Can Eat During a Flare-up

A liquid diet lessens the strain on your colon so it can heal after a bout of diverticulitis. If your doctor prescribes a clear liquid diet, you can have water; fruit juices without pulp; fruit-flavored beverages; carbonated drinks; gelatin; strained vegetable juices; ice pops without pulp or milk, honey or sugar; sports drinks; tea or coffee without milk or cream; and broth.

Sample Meal Plan on a Liquid Diet

While you're on your liquid diet, breakfast might consist of a bowl of flavored gelatin; a cup of fruit juice without pulp, such as cranberry, filtered apple or grape juice; and a cup of tea or coffee with or without honey or sugar.

Midmorning, you can snack on another bowl of gelatin and drink a glass of pulp-free juice. At lunch, have another bowl of gelatin, a cup of broth -- either, vegetable, chicken or beef -- a glass of water and a glass of juice without pulp.

For an afternoon snack, suck on a pulp-free ice pop, then have a cup of tea with or without honey or sugar.

For dinner, have the same meal you had at lunch as well as a cup of coffee or tea, with sugar or honey if desired.

Diet Advancement

When your doctor tells you you can go back to eating solid foods, you may need to ease back into it slowly. During this time, you can eat low-fiber foods such as white bread, white pasta, meat, poultry fish and chicken. Choose cooked or canned fruits that have had their seeds and skin removed; examples include melon and applesauce. You can also have well-cooked vegetables with skin and seeds removed. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are OK, as are eggs and low-fiber cereal. Meat should be well-cooked and ground or tender.

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