October 16, 2009

High Fiber Diet for Diverticular Disease

Posted in Category : Foods that Heal

Diverticula are tiny pouches that are formed on the inner lining of one’s digestive tract. At times, the naturally weak areas in the colon tend to give way due to pressure. This leads to the formation of small bags or pouches that jut through the walls of the colon. These small bags are what are referred to as diverticuli. When these diverticuli get infected or inflamed it gives rise to a condition that is referred to as diverticulitis. What exactly causes these pouches to get inflamed is still unknown. Some suggest that a diet which is very low in fiber, can at times contribute to this condition. A low fiber diet increases the chances of being constipated, and when an individual is constipated it leads to extra pressure being exerted on the inner walls of the colon. Another theory is that, bacteria or stool that gets caught in the pouches could also lead to an infection.

Some of the common symptoms of this condition include abdominal pain, tenderness on the lower left side of the abdomen, nausea, cramps, chills, vomiting and fever. Severity of the symptoms will depend largely on the degree and extent of the infection. A diverticulitis attack can occur all of a sudden, and without any prior warnings. Low fiber diets are usually recommended for individuals with this condition. Such a diet can include the following; white rice, white bread, plain pasta, plain macaroni, plain noodles, cooked, canned or raw fruits that are seedless and skinless. Fruit juices with a little pulp, canned or cooked vegetables again without any skin, seeds or hulls, tender meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese or yogurt, desserts devoid of nuts or seeds.

A misconception exists that seeded foods like zucchini, cucumber, tomato and nuts should be totally avoided for good, especially if one has encountered even one single episode of this condition; scientific studies however show no evidence of this sort. On the other hand avoiding such foods may result in your losing out on a large number of very important nutrients, such as potassium, and carotene. But if you feel that certain types of foods trigger these diverticulitis episodes, then it is important to stay away from them. Always bear in mind that any decision on your diet must be made on what tends to work for you the best. Lastly, always make sure that you consult a nutritionist prior to incorporating any changes in your diet.