11 Foods That Make Diverticulitis Worse

Diverticula are small pouches which can form in the lining of your digestive system and are commonly found in the lower part of the large intestine. Sometimes, one or more of these pouches become infected or inflamed. As a result, a condition known as diverticulitis develops.

The most common symptoms of diverticulitis include nausea and vomiting, pain which usually affects the lower left side of the abdomen, fever, constipation or diarrhea, and abdominal tenderness.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Getting Diverticulitis

As we age, the chances of developing diverticulitis increase. Additionally, those who smoke are at increased risk for diverticulitis compared to those who don’t.   Foods that are high in fat, such as processed grains, dairy, and fried foods are also known to increase the risk.  Other factors include:

  • Certain medications: opioids, steroids, and non-steroid anti-inflammatories
  • Physical inactivity
  • Dehydration

Diet and Diverticulitis

The root cause of diverticulitis is unknown. But, what is known is that the colon wall has certain weakened spots in the outside area, so the inner layer goes through.  Experts believe that a diet rich in fiber can help in preventing diverticulitis.  How it works? It is firmly held that fiber softens the stool, making them much easier to pass.  The lack of strain and decrease in gas will not apply pressure to the walls.

Also, it is theorized that the sacs become infected due to severe constipation and stools accumulating in the colon.  A diet high in fiber is known to promote a healthy bowel schedule in comparison to processed, low-fiber diet.

List of Foods that Worsen Diverticulitis

As the underlying cause of diverticulitis is unknown, there is not a certified list of foods to avoid preventing it. However, experience has taught patients that certain foods increase the chance of causing a flare-up of symptoms and worsening the condition.  

The 11 foods below are advised against, but every person is different.  Therefore, it is recommended to experiment in small amounts to see how much of each you can deal with. Check them out:

  • High-fat foods, such as fast foods, chips, and fried foods.  (These foods increase inflammation and stimulate the digestive process, leading to gastrocolic reflex)
  • Veggies like corn, broccoli, and peppers. (Corn is high in sugar, which contributes greatly to the problem. Peppers increase gas and are difficult to digest)
  • Lentils
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Beans (chickpeas, pinto, kidney, navy beans)
  • Whole grains (bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, and oats)
  • Fruits (apples, pears, and plums)
  • Fermented foods
  • Dairy foods (butter, cheeses, yogurt, ice cream…)

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