what Should I eat with diverticulosis?

A quick note before I begin. I was going to talk about Fiber and how it helps prevent someone from getting Diverticulosis in the first place. However, I have been studying this topic for over a week now and there are very conflicting opinions, and test results for fiber as a preventative to getting Diverticulosis, and whether it may actually increase one’s risk of getting Diverticulosis. For that reason the fiber issue, here, will only be discussed in relation to people who already have Diverticulosis.

If you want to learn more about preventing Diverticulosis discuss with your doctor about a diet that would be best. Studies are showing that a job where you sit a lot may actually be the highest risk factor for getting Diverticulosis. More about activity in a later post So, what if you already have Diverticulosis? What should you eat? Well, some of that is a loaded topic because it probably will depend on some other factors such as other illnesses, medications, activity level, etc. But, in general if you have Diverticulosis your doctor most likely is going to advise that you avoid processed foods, eat a more plant-based lifestyle, and of course increase your fiber intake. Be sure you drink enough water, or you may end up constipated from too much fiber. This goes for anyone who eats a high fiber diet. Start slow, don’t go from 10 grams of fiber per day to 50, your gut will not be happy at all.

How much Fiber? First let me say you need to know how much fiber you are already consuming, before you decide if you need to eat more. A food diary, for a week or so, will help you decide that. Be accurate and consistent with your food dietary intake. There are apps that can help you. I use one called Track-Nutrition Calculator. If you are a female under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 25 grams of fiber, if over 50 then 21 grams of fiber per day. If you are a male under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 38 grams of fiber, if over 50 years of age 30 grams of fiber. These number recommendations are from 2012, so they may be different, or the same in 2021.

Why is Fiber Important for Diverticulosis? It keeps food and waste moving through the digestive system, not allowing backups and waste from getting into the pouches in the intestines that define Diverticulosis. It is when these pouches get food, or waste in them, that they become inflame or infected causing Diverticulitis. If you have a bout of Diverticulitis you will be told to eat a low fiber diet. That is for next week ‘s topic.

Foods High in Fiber: Fruits and Vegetables are going to be your first thought most likely. There are other foods high in fiber, that are also plant-based such as: beans, peas, nuts, seeds, legumes, brown and wild rice, whole grain breads, whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Get used to reading labels and calculating fiber per serving. Most processed, and fast food options are going to be very low in fiber if it has any at all.

I know I say this in almost every blog post that has to do with diet modification: learn to cook and eat more at home, then out. It is cheaper and healthier. You can control the fat, sodium, sugar, and fiber of each meal you eat. Check out Meals with Melissa, if you need help with meal planning, cooking, prepping, etc. If you have any other medical issues that require diet modification, be sure and speak to your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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medical monday: diverticulosis

Hello, and welcome to a very wet Medical Monday! I am having issues with my pool that are getting on my nerves. I have never had issues with it being nice and clean, and clear until last week. I am assuming it has something to do with the dreadful heat. Anyway, that is not what we are here to discuss. For the month of August I have decided the topic will be Diverticulosis, and Diverticulitis. At least once a week I will do an educational post on these two topics. They very much go together. This post may contain affiliate links.

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What is Diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is when you get small pockets, or pouches in the colon or intestines. Think of them kind of like tiny balloons. For whatever reason it is more common in men than women. These tiny sacs or balloons can hold waste products that moves through the intestine, and can become infected. As with any infection inflammation will occur causing pain, and that is when you get Diverticulitis. But, today we will focus on just Diverticulosis.

The tiny pockets form when the inner layer of the Digestive Tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer. Almost like a Hernia does, if you have ever had a hernia. Most of the time these pouches will form in the left side of the colon, but you can get them anywhere in the intestines.

Diverticulosis is more common as we age. It is rare to get it under age 40, but some people do.

You may already know what I am going to say next. Studies show that a low Fiber Diet is most likely the predominant risk factor for Diverticulosis after age. Countries where eating fruit and vegetables is abundant, there is very little Diverticulosis possibly even in the over 60 age group. I will discuss this more in another post. If you would like to see what the pouches look like in the colon, watch the short video below. It is age restricted so you will need to click it to go to Youtube and watch it.

What are the symptoms of Diverticulosis?

  1. Some people have no symptoms at all until the pouches become inflamed and they have pain, usually in the lower left side of the abdomen.
  2. A change in bowel patterns. For example you may be very regular with no issues, but all of a sudden you are constipated. Or your bowels become more frequent and loose when that is not your normal.
  3. You may also experience cramping or bloating.

How is Diverticulosis diagnosed?

  1. Since most people experience no symptoms, or have vague symptoms they relate to something else, Diverticulosis is picked up by other exams you may have as Preventative Care such as a Colonoscopy, or Sigmoidoscopy. They can also be seen via a CT Scan, or Barium X-rays. If you have vague symptoms such as bloating and cramping, and are over age 40 talk to your doctor about having one of the diagnostic exams above. You do not want these pouches to rupture, especially if infected, trust me!

Most people do not need treatment for Diverticulosis other than preventative to prevent the pouches from becoming inflamed, infected or rupturing. Talk to your doctor, but most experts at this stage will inform you to eat a high fiber diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. This will keep your stool soft, and moving freely through the intestinal tract hopefully eliminating the pouches from becoming filled with waste and becoming infected. Try to get most of your fiber from whole grains and veggies, as the sugar in fruit can be inflammatory. Nuts and seeds are also good for fiber, but ask your doctor first because they can actually complicate Diverticulosis. If you smoke, quit smoking. If you have other dietary restrictions, or take medications, be sure and discuss with your doctor before you make any major changes to your diet.

If you would like to use a Health Coach to help you meet your Health Goals, hit me up! I am accepting new clients at this time. Use the contact form below to message me and I will email you with dates for a phone meet and greet. The meet and greet is free and should not last longer than 15 minutes. After that you will decide if you would like to hire me as your coach.

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