Foods not to eat if you have diverticulitis

Updated November 21, 2016

Diverticulitis is a medical condition in which inflammation within the intestinal tract leads to sluggish movement of faeces within the colon. Rather than being successfully passed out of the body, fecal matter collects small, distended sacs known as diverticula. This leads to bloating, discomfort, constipation and, if left untreated, intestinal obstruction or even gangrene. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases can be resolved with modifications to the daily diet, decreasing fibre intake and avoiding "high residue" foods. A low-fibre diet gives the colon longer to rest, rather than overworking it.


To help prevent a diverticulitis attack, avoid eating whole grain products such as popcorn, rolled oats, corn muffins, or foods made with bran or brown rice as these contain high levels of indigestible fibre that may lodge in the diverticula, aggravating the condition. Choose refined-grain products instead such as white rice, pasta, crackers and baked goods made with refined white flour.

Fruits and Vegetables

In the produce department, try to avoid choosing dried fruits such as raisins or prunes, which are loaded with fibre. Steer clear of berries as they contain numerous small, indigestible seeds, and any cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli. Do not drink any fruit juice that contains pulp and be sure to cook all your vegetables prior to eating them to soften the fibre and make them easier to digest. Most raw fruits should be avoided with the exception of bananas, avocado, peaches and melons, which are comparatively low in fibre and easy to digest. If you must have raw produce, eat it only in moderation and be sure to remove the peel and avoid ingesting any seeds.

Meat and Protein

Choose tender cuts of meat, ground meats, fish of all sorts, and eggs as your main protein choices because they do not irritate the colon and are slow to digest. Avoid eating strong cheeses as they tend to contain high quantities of indigestible casein. Additionally, any product containing nuts and seeds, including crunchy peanut butter, should be removed from the menu because these protein sources can be very difficult to digest. You should also reduce the quantity of beans, peas and legumes in your regular diet as these are known to be sources of high dietary fibre.

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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.