How can diverticulosis be prevented?
Having regular bowel movements and avoiding constipation and straining is important to prevent diverticular disease and reduce its complications.
To accomplish this:
- Eat more fiber: Fiber pulls more water into stool, making it bulkier, softer and easier to move — and move more quickly — through your colon.
- Drink plenty of water: Eating more fiber absorbs more water, so you’ll need to increase the amount of water you drink to keep stool soft and on the move. Many healthcare providers suggest drinking half your body’s weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water each day.
- Exercise daily: Physical movement helps food pass through your intestinal system. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days if you can.
How much fiber should I eat?
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease recommends eating 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed per day. For example, if you follow a 2,000 calorie diet every day, you should try to eat 28 grams of fiber each day. Every person, regardless of whether they have diverticula, should try to consume this much fiber every day. Fiber is the part of plant foods that can’t be digested.
What foods are high in fiber?
High-fiber foods include:
- Whole grain foods such as breads, pasta, crackers, barley, brown rice and oatmeal.
- Berries and other fruit.
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, asparagus, squash and beans.
- Brown rice.
- Bran products, made from rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley rye and millet.
- Cooked dried peas and beans.
Besides preventing constipation, eating a high-fiber diet helps lower blood pressure, reduces blood cholesterol, improves blood sugar and reduces the risk of developing certain intestinal disorders such as colorectal cancer.
For more tips and food examples of high-fiber foods, visit:
Should I avoid eating nuts, seeds, and popcorn if I have diverticular disease?
Until recently, your healthcare provider may have told you to avoid eating nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn. Newer research shows that these foods do not appear to cause flare-ups.
What’s most important is to figure out what foods do and don’t cause symptoms and avoid the foods that cause symptoms or make your symptoms worse.