Diet and Nutrition for Diverticulitis

NOTE: This diet is only for an acute attack and then recovery from diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is when the pouches, called diverticula, get inflamed and infected. These can cause digestive problems, pain, fever, bleeding, constipation or diarrhea and more. The formation of diverticulosis is common as people get older; but diverticulitis occurs in only a small number of people with diverticulosis. Years of research strongly suggest that diverticulitis is NOT caused by eating certain foods formerly thought to be causative such as nuts, seeds, roughage, etc.

Typically your doctor will also prescribe a medicine to go along with the change in diet to treat diverticulitis symptoms, such as an antibiotic.

Liquid diets until acute symptoms resolve (e.g. severe pain, fever)

While it’s not recommended to stay on liquid diets long term, liquid diet for a couple days when symptoms get really bad can help alleviate symptoms by resting your digestive tract. Some good liquid foods to include in your diet are:

  • Water
  • Broth (soup)
  • Fruit juices
  • Nutrition supplements
  • Boost, Ensure, etc.
  • Ice pops
  • Tea or coffee (no cream)

Introduce Low Fiber Diet ( low residue diet)

As you feel better, you should slowly introduce low fiber foods back into your diet on top of the liquid foods. These are usually softer on your digestive system. Good foods to add into your diet include:

  • Milk, yogurt and cheeses
  • White rice and pasta
  • Cooked fruits without skins and seeds
  • Cooked vegetables such as green beans or carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs, fish and poultry

High Fiber Diets

In general, high fiber diets are the best for patients when feeling back to normal without symptoms.

Here is a good guide for easy high fiber foods, with a goal of 20 to 30 grams per day:

Grains

Food and Portion Size

Amount of Fiber

1⁄3-3⁄4 cup high-fiber bran ready-to-eat cereal

9.1–14.3 grams

1-11⁄4 cup of shredded wheat ready-to-eat cereal

5.0–9.0 grams

11⁄2 cup whole wheat spaghetti, cooked

3.2 grams

1 small oat bran muffin

3.0 grams

Fruits

Food and Portion Size

Amount of Fiber

1 medium pear, with skin

5.5 grams

1 medium apple, with skin

4.4 grams

1⁄2 cup of raspberries

4.0 grams

1⁄2 cup of stewed prunes

3.8 grams

Vegetables

Food and Portion Size

Amount of Fiber

1⁄2 cup of green peas, cooked

3.5–4.4 grams

1⁄2 cup of mixed vegetables, cooked from frozen

4.0 grams

1⁄2 cup of collards, cooked

3.8 grams

1 medium sweet potato, baked in skin

3.8 grams

1 medium potato, baked, with skin

3.6 grams

1⁄2 cup of winter squash, cooked

2.9 grams

Beans

Food and Portion Size

Amount of Fiber

1⁄2 cup navy beans, cooked

9.6 grams

1⁄2 cup pinto beans, cooked

7.7 grams

1⁄2 kidney beans, cooked

5.7 grams