What can I eat with diverticulitis?

Updated April 17, 2017

Diverticulitis is a disease of the colon that many doctors believe is brought on when an insufficient amount of fibre is consumed. Diverticula, which are small pockets, form in the colon when someone has diverticulosis. When these pockets get irritated, pain, discomfort and other symptoms are experienced and the condition is called diverticulitis. A high-fibre diet is recommended for people who have diverticulitis.

Why Fiber Should be Consumed

Constipation is thought to be the cause of diverticulitis. A high-fibre diet, along with the consumption of adequate fluids, helps to keep digested food flowing smoothly through the intestines as the soluble fibre, which decomposes in water, and the insoluble fibre, that does not dissolve, keeps fecal matter at a consistency that's easy to eliminate from the body. High-fibre foods can prevent constipation and unwanted pressure imposed upon the walls of the colon when force needs to be used to eliminate hard stools. Having fibre in the diet helps to prevent the formation of diverticula.

Foods to Eat

When someone has diverticulitis it is important that high-fibre foods are eaten. Whole grain breads, cereals and brown rice are good to eat, as are beans and peas such as kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans and black-eyed peas. Add high-fibre raw fruits such as apples, pears and peaches to your diet as well. Include prunes to keep your bowel movements regular. Eat potatoes and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, turnip greens and carrots. Include yoghurt and kefir in your diet. When following a high-fibre diet, be sure to drink eight 236ml. glasses of water to prevent congestion of the fibre in the colon. According to the American Dietetic Association, 20 to 35 grams of fibre each day is advised.

How to Prepare Recommended Foods

Since the consumption of plenty of water is recommended in a high-fibre diet for diverticulitis, the best way to eat beans is to have them in soup. Beans can also be eaten with brown rice, and they should always be cooked well and eaten when there are no signs of inflammation or when symptoms of inflammation are waning. Fruits are best when they are eaten raw and with the skins on them. Potatoes should be eaten with the skin left on as well.

Foods Not to Eat

Although science has not proven that small foods such as seeds, nuts and popcorn may go into the small pockets in the colon and cause a blockage or inflammation if eaten, doctors will tell people with diverculitis to stay away from these foods. Avoid all processed foods, as they contain no fibre. What works best is to keep a record of those foods that cause symptoms of pain, cramping, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, gas and flatulence and eliminate them from your diet.


Adhere to a high-fibre diet to help alleviate the symptoms associated with diverticulitis. Use fenugreek in the form of an enema to clean you out once a week. If it seems your symptoms are getting worse, see your doctor, especially if you experience symptoms of an elevation in temperature, chills, nausea and/or vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea or bleeding from the rectum. Surgery may be needed to clean out the infection and take out the inflamed diverticula and damaged tissue.

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