Dispelling myths about the Diverticulosis Diet
Diverticulosis, also known as pockets or pouches of the colon, is very common. Diverticulosis has a detailed description. A lifetime low fiber intake is almost certainly to blame for the condition. This causes high pressures in the colon, which slowly, over many years, causes ballooning of tiny weak points in the colon wall, resulting in diverticuli. Diverticulitis, a painful and sometimes fatal condition, develops when these pockets become infected. Diverticulosis does not occur in rural Africans who consume 50 grams of fiber per day or more over their lifetime. They do, however, when they eat a low-fiber Western diet or do not follow the guidelines of the Diverticulosis Diet. Low fiber intake can result in small, thin, and/or hard pellet stools, which usually indicate high pressure within the colon. Again, it is the high pressure that causes these pockets to balloon out and form diverticuli.
These are dietary recommendations for people who have diverticulosis. However, specific advice will depend on the stage of diverticulosis. Is this early diverticulosis? Is it advanced with fixed changes in the colon? Are there any symptoms? Is it acute diverticulitis, in which the colon is recovering from infection around these pockets?
Stages of Diverticulosis
- Diverticulitis – Diverticulitis is the infection and inflammation of one or more of these thin-walled diverticuli. At this point, the doctor will want to rest the bowel and even the patient. To ensure maximum bowel rest, a diet consisting of clear liquids is frequently prescribed early on. As recovery progresses, the diet is modified to a low fiber diet, gradually progressing to a high fiber diet when recovery is complete.
- Quiet, early and moderate diverticulosis – This is where the majority of people are. A few or a moderate number of diverticuli may have been discovered on colonoscopy as an incidental finding while screening for colon cancer. Because it is only mentioned in passing, it may not be given much weight. This is a mistake, because now is the time to take action. Remember that diverticulosis is caused by the increased pressures that the colon can exert within itself. A large stool can help prevent this. Plant fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, is the best. These are the fibers that do not cause gas in the colon. Wheat bran, amaranth, barley, and other foods with high fiber content are the easiest to consume.
- Quiet but advanced, fixed and/or narrowed diverticulosis – Diverticulosis has progressed to the point where the colon, just above the rectum, becomes fixed, twisted, or gnarled by fibrous tissue within the bowel wall in many elderly people. The colon is less likely to be massaged back to normal size at this point. The problem is that large stools are rarely produced because the only thing that can pass through this narrowed section of the colon is smaller, even pellet-like stool. Still, it’s worth experimenting with small amounts of extra food fiber or supplements to see what you can achieve.
For more information, visit High Fiber Diet for Diverticulitis. The goal is to increase daily fiber intake to 20, 30, or even 40 grams. You don’t want to do this all at once, especially if you’re eating a lot of soluble fiber, which promotes the production of harmless colon gas and flatus by bacteria when consumed in large quantities.
This fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, does not dissolve in water but rather clings to it in the large bowel. This results in a big, soft, and bulky stool. It promotes regularity and appears to be associated with a lower risk of colon polyps and colon cancer, as we believe cancer-inciting agents are swept through the bowel more quickly. Furthermore, it may promote weight loss and improve diabetic control. Insoluble fiber-rich foods include:
- whole wheat bread and baked goods
- wheat bran
- whole grain breads
- vegetables and fruits, especially the skins
- Brazil nuts
- brown rice
Fiber Content of Foods, a detailed guide to the insoluble fiber content of many foods.
This plant fiber is water soluble. It feeds the enormous number of bacteria that thrive in the colon, providing numerous health benefits in the process. Soluble fibers also promote regularity by stimulating colon bacterial growth. Foods high in soluble fiber include:
- oats in any form – cereal, muffins, etc.
- apples, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, concord grapes
- prunes, pears, cranberries
- sesame seeds
- psyllium found in dietary supplements and cereals
Nuts, Seeds and Popcorn
Physicians have advised patients with diverticulosis to avoid foods containing seeds and nuts. It seemed obvious that these could get inside colon pockets, rattle around, and injure the colon wall. It reminded me of the dried seeds inside a gourd that rattle around when you shake it. This has never been our opinion. We’ve never heard a patient rattling after consuming these foods. Furthermore, by the time they reach the colon, all of these items have been digested or have become completely sodden and soft. Most importantly, they are high in fiber, which is exactly what the colon requires. As a result, it is advised diverticulosis patients to eat nuts, seeds, and popcorn. This recommendation is now supported by a 2,007-person study in which a large number of diverticulosis patients who consumed these foods were matched against those who did not. You guessed correctly. Those who consumed nuts, seeds, and popcorn had fewer diverticulosis issues than those who did not.
Diverticulitis probiotics are plant fibers that have recently been discovered to promote beneficial changes in the colon. These are found in a variety of plant foods as well as our prebiotic products. Diverticulosis can benefit from all soluble fiber foods and supplements. Excessive colon gas can occur if too much is consumed. Cramps and bloating may occur if it becomes trapped behind a narrowed diverticular colon. The recommendation is to start with small amounts of these healthy fibers and gradually increase them to see if symptoms develop.
If you are looking for a comprehensive resource on the Diverticulosis Diet, visit the Calming Blends website. They provide a vast library of dietary information for every stage of Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis. They also list over 100 recipes for diverticulitis.