Diverticulitis occurs when small sacs along the lining of the digestive system, known as diverticula, become inflamed. Symptoms include abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, fever and nausea. Medications and bed rest are often recommended as part of treatment. While a liquid and low-fiber diet is encouraged during an attack, dietary changes are recommended as a preventative measure. These include more fiber from fruits and vegetables. Consult with a medical professional to determine your best diet.
Corn and Seeds
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors used to believe that nuts, seeds and corn got stuck in the diverticula, thus causing them to become inflamed. Now they have conducted studies that dispel this idea. They do not cause the actual infection, nor prevent attacks. They can, however, be irritating to the condition.
Fruits During an Attack
During a diverticulitis attack, doctors recommend a liquid and low-fiber diet until inflammation lessens. Low-fiber fruits include canned fruits and pulp-free fruit juices. Frozen fruit ice pops are OK, as long as they do not contain pulp or seeds, as these can irritate the diverticula. Any desserts containing fruits should also be free of pulp, skin and seeds.
Vegetables During an Attack
Broths are recommended as part of the liquid diet during a diverticulitis attack. Make a vegetable stock to drink. Remove seeds and skins from vegetables and cook them well to reduce fiber content.
Fruits as a Preventive Measure
Mayo Clinic recommends consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day as prevention against diverticulitis attacks. Good sources include apples, dates, tomatoes, raspberries, oranges, bananas and pears. One serving a fruit as a fiber serving can include 6 oz. of 100 percent fruit juice, a medium-sized piece of fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit pieces, 1/2 cup fresh fruit. These are recommendations by the USDA.
Vegetables as a Preventive Measure
Doctors also recommend increasing fiber from vegetables. Good vegetable sources for fiber include spinach, peas, all kinds of beans and artichokes. One serving size is 1/2 cup of dried beans or peas, 1/2 cup raw or cooked vegetables, 1 cup greens, 6 oz. 100 percent vegetable juice. These measurements are recommended by the USDA.
For people having difficulty meeting the fiber recommendations with just fruits and vegetables, supplement with grains, such as in cereal, or high-fiber supplements, such as Metamucil.