High-fiber diet to prevent or treat diverticulitis
Eating a high-fiber diet is thought to help prevent
development of pouches (diverticula) in the colon.
recommend that you eat25gto35gof fiber every day. Packaged foods and
fiber supplements include the amount of fiber content in the nutritional
information. You should increase the amount of fiber in your diet slowly so
that your stomach can adjust to the change. Adding too much fiber too quickly
may cause stomach upset and gas. To get adequate fiber in your diet:
Choose whole-grain breads and cereals. Buy bread
that lists whole wheat, stone-ground wheat, or cracked wheat in the
ingredients. Eat brown rice, bulgur, or millet instead of white rice.
Eat 6 to 11 servings of grains (breads, cereals, rice,
pasta) each day. For example, a serving is 1 slice of whole wheat bread, half a
whole wheat bagel, or half a cup of whole wheat pasta or brown
Eat several servings of fiber-containing fresh fruits and
vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber include raspberries,
apples, figs, oranges, pears, prunes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots,
corn, peas, and beans.
Some doctors recommend adding bran to your diet to help boost
the fiber content. If you do this, start slowly with 1 teaspoon a day.
Gradually increase the amount to several teaspoons a day.
people avoid nuts, seeds, berries, and popcorn (because of the hulls),
believing that the seeds and nuts may get trapped in the diverticula and cause
pain. But there is no evidence that seeds, nuts, and berries cause
diverticulitis or make it worse.1
lots of fluids every day to help keep your stool soft. High-fiber diets need
lots of fluid in the body to work properly.
If your diet is high
enough in fiber, your stools should become softer, larger, and easier to
Changing your diet may relieve constipation, but
it may not help relieve abdominal pain.
If you don't have any
improvement within a week or two, talk to your doctor about your
Talk to your doctor if constipation continues or gets worse.
Another medical problem or a medicine may be causing constipation.
When trying to change what you eat, it is easy to get off
track without realizing it. It may help to keep a food diary.
Davis BR, Matthews JB (2006). Diverticular disease of the colon. In M Wolfe et al., eds.,Therapy of Digestive Disorders, 2nd ed., pp. 855-859. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
July 30, 2008
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 30, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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