Diet, Nutrition and Diverticular Disease
If you suffer from diverticular disease, I’d like to offer some diet recommendations, both for the active stages of the condition (diverticulitis) and the remission (diverticulosis), as well as set straight a few myths that surround this illness.
Diverticular disease is a common illness. Small pockets (diverticula) form on the lining of the large intestine, and can become inflamed or infected. That’s what’s known as diverticulitis (the suffix -itis signifying the presence of inflammation). Periods of diverticulitis can be more or less frequent in those who suffer from diverticular disease.
Fortunately, there is a way to prevent diverticulitis and the formation of new diverticula, as well as prolonging the remission phase. The answer is: by an adapted diet!
Nutritional recommendations differ greatly in both diverticulitis and diverticulosis. In fact, they’re the complete opposite. Allow me to explain, in crisis period (diverticulitis), you want to have as little fiber as possible in your diet. This is to enable your digestive system to rest and heal.
Once the inflammation and pain have passed, you need to reintroduce fiber to prevent the return of a new episode of diverticulitis. It’s vital to reintroduce fiber progressively (adding 5 grams of fiber a week, over 3 weeks) in order to avoid constipation. The diverticulitis and diverticulosis meal plans do just that.
Once you’re getting the right amount of fiber in your diet, you can switch to the maintenance phase. That means a diet rich in fiber that will help you prevent both constipation and another episode of diverticulitis.
Where can you find fiber? In fresh fruits and vegetables (there’s no fiber in juice!), whole grain cereals, legumes, tempeh, tofu, nuts and seeds.
The diagram illustrates the steps perfectly: