What To Eat With Diverticulitis: Natural Remedies With Diet
With more and more people being diagnosed with diverticulitis every year, the focus is on the diverticulitis diet and how to avoid flare-ups. Here are some simple, soothing and natural ways to cope.
What Is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a painful bacterial digestive disease caused by pustules in the wall of the descending colon. Diverticulitis happens when the diverticula become inflamed. It typically takes years for the progression of diverticulitis to occur. And of the 4 percent of people with diverticulitis, 15 percent have complications from the disease. Typically, the doctor recommended diverticulitis diet is not healing. Instead, it can exacerbate symptoms. Conversely, a plant-based vegetarian diverticulitis diet has been shown to prevent flare-ups long-term
Statistics show that Diverticular Disease (Diverticulosis; Diverticulitis) is common in the West. The incidence increases with age. 25% in those over 40 years old in Western society have diverticular disease, although it is mostly asymptomatic. Alarmingly, ten to 25 percent of people with diverticulosis get diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis Is A Diet-Related Disease
What is more, diverticulitis is not inherited. It is a diet-related disease that can be reversed. While there are several risk factors for diverticulitis, the key risk factor is improper diet. While some feel diverticulitis is age-related, the poorer your diet, the higher your risk of developing this condition. And so it makes sense that this condition is years in the making, caused by a chronic backup in the bowel that has become a hotbed for bacteria and consequently, inflammation.
Diverticulitis causes symptoms similar to those of irritable bowel syndromes, such as sharp abdominal pain and intense bloating. Like all digestive diseases, diverticulitis happens with an inflammatory diet coupled with a slowing of digestion and elimination. Diverticulitis is typically caused by eating a diet high in processed foods and animal products, and by getting inadequate amounts of high fiber food in the diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
“People living in countries with low-fiber diets and high red meat consumption, such as the U.S. and other developed nations, are more likely to get diverticulitis.”
Fast When You Have A Diverticulitis Flare Up
When you have a flare-up of diverticulitis it is important to fast. With the body not focusing on its digestive processes, your body will be free to do its healing work. Liquids only – preferably ginger water is incredibly healing during a diverticulitis flare. What is more, ginger is a powerful antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and nerve-calming spice that can ease diverticular pain fast. Steep freshly sliced and peeled ginger in boiling water for 15 minutes, then allow it to cool a bit. You can sip ginger water throughout the day to decrease inflammation and calm discomfort.Turmeric is another potent and pain-relieving anti-inflammatory that works well along with ginger during a flare-up.
What To Do After A Flare-Up
After dousing the flames of a flare-up, the first order of business is to make food eliminations. The strategy is to eliminate foods from the diet that feed bacteria and slow digestion. Dairy products and eggs are two foods that should be eliminated from the diet since both dairy and eggs are a hotbed for bacterial growth in the body.
Because diverticulitis is caused by a long-term lack of fiber in the diet, it is important to increase the amount of dietary fiber. Gently increasing nourishing vitamin and mineral-rich foods that contain natural fiber is critical to healing and moving forward. Eating more of the foods that are calming to the digestive tract is vital for ending inflammation and keeping the intestine free and clear of unfriendly bacteria. Some foods that are highly soothing to the intestine include:
- White potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Wild blueberries
- Citrus fruits
- Coconut yogurt
- Aloe water
- Coconut water
- Lettuce (all types)
- Leafy greens
Moving Forward: Chew Your Food
It is vitally important to be mindful of your chewing habits when dealing with diverticulitis, since any food that is not thoroughly masticated, particularly nuts, can feel like little daggers moving through the digestive tract. Nuts are typically added to DO NOT EAT list because for those diagnosed with diverticulitis but this is because they are not thoroughly chewed. Nut milk, however, is a permitted food and nut butter is permitted in limited amounts.
The Diverticulitis Diet Involves Eating More Plant-based Foods
Generally, a plant-based vegetarian diet is the go-to diet for dealing with diverticulitis. Plant-based vegetarian diets are nourishing, they repopulate the gut with friendly bacteria and they boost the immune system. Additionally, a plant-based vegetarian diet will afford you the fiber you need to keep your digestion flowing smoothly and efficiently. The trick is to start slowly since transitioning from a low fiber lifestyle to on that includes more fiber can be an adjustment. Incorporating fresh juices, then transitioning to smoothies before eating more fresh whole fruits and vegetables is usually a good practice.
Vegetarian Diets Prevent Diverticulitis
In a study published in the BMJ, vegetarians were more than 30% less likely to develop diverticular disease when compared to meat-eaters.
Researchers from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford in the U.K. compared the risk of developing diverticular disease among 47,033 adults, including 15,459 who were vegetarians.
After 11.6 years, 812 people developed diverticular disease, resulting in 806 hospital admissions and six deaths. Researchers concluded that vegetarians were less likely than meat eaters to develop diverticular disease/ What is more, people who ate a diet rich in fiber (about 25 grams a day) had a lower risk of being admitted to the hospital and/or dying from diverticular disease, compared with people who ate less than 14 grams of fiber a day.
Break Out The Anti-Bacterials
Since diverticulitis is a bacterial infection, it helps to include some wild foods that work to kill off bad bacteria in the gut. One of these foods is raw organic honey. Raw honey is powerful, antiviral and antibacterial. Squeezing in a tablespoon or two a day in warm peppermint tea can be extremely helpful for digestion and healing. Garlic is another potent antibacterial and can be prepared as a nourishing soup. Oil of oregano is another potent anti-bacterial. Use these in tandem to keep diverticular flare-ups at bay.
Your Body Will Adjust
One important thing to remember is that the human body is adaptable. Just like your body has adjusted to a low fiber diet, it will adjust to a diet with a higher intake of fiber. This will take time. Do not get discouraged or alarmed if your bathroom habits become more frequent – this is your body doing its eliminative work. Transitioning to a high fiber diet will take time, and may come with its share of healing reactions, monitor how you're feeling and make adjustments along the way. Keep faith in the natural foods you are adding to your diet – they are incredibly healing and only serve to improve your health over time.
— EmpowHER (@EmpowHER) April 1, 2015
— Healthytarian (@Healthytarian) January 25, 2017