Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD
Last Updated on:
As we age, little bulging pockets may develop in large intestine’s lining. This condition is called diverticulosis. When these pockets, medically known as diverticula, become inflamed and infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. Fortunately, sufferers can find relief by eating the right foods.
A low-residue diet, aka low-fiber diet, is usually recommended during the flare-up periods of diverticulitis to decrease bowel volume so that the infection can heal. An intake of less than 10 grams of fiber per day is generally considered a low-residue diverticulitis diet. If you have been on a low-residue diet for an extended period of time, your doctor may recommend a daily multivitamin supplement.
You may be asked to start with a clear fluid diet at the onset of diverticulitis. After a few days, you may incorporate the following low fiber foods (less than 10 g per serving) that are mild enough to be eaten during a diverticulitis flare-up.
- enriched refined white bread, buns, bagels, English muffins
- plain cereals e.g. Cheerios, Cornflakes, Cream of Wheat, Rice Krispies, Special K
- arrowroot cookies, tea biscuits, soda crackers, plain melba toast
- white rice, refined pasta and noodles
- avoid whole grains
- fruit juices except prune juice
- applesauce, apricots, banana (1/2), cantaloupe, canned fruit cocktail, grapes, honeydew melon, peaches, watermelon
- avoid raw and dried fruits, and berries.
- vegetable juices
- potatoes (no skin)
- alfalfa sprouts, beets, green/yellow beans, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, green/red peppers, potatoes (peeled), squash, zucchini
- avoid vegetables from the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, onion, etc
Meat and Protein Choice:
- well-cooked, tender meat, fish and eggs
- avoid beans
- avoid all nuts and seeds, as well as foods that may contain seeds (such as yogurt)
- as directed by your healthcare providers
- tea and coffee (check with doctor about cream)
- avoid alcohol
Diverticulitis: After a Flare-Up
When symptoms of diverticulitis improve, you may ease off of the low-residue diet and gradually add more fiber back into your diet. A high-fiber diet is very important in preventing future diverticulitis attacks. As you increase your fiber intake, don’t forget to increase your fluid intake as well. If you have challenges eating a diet with higher fiber content, your doctor may suggest a fiber supplement like Metamucil. In addition, you may also heard from others that nuts should be permanently avoided. In the past, the medical community indeed recommended patients to avoid hard foods like nuts and seeds, fearing that these foods get stuck in between the pockets and become inflamed. However, modern studies really didn’t find such recommendation to be clinically valid.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.
4 thoughts on “Diverticulitis Diet: A Low Residue Diet”
I have diverticulitis and I’m so confused of what I can’t and cannot eat. One article says do not eat green peppers because it has skins Yes or no one article says I can eat blueberries and another article says no? And as far as Cheerios it says you can eat them and then another article says no. I’m so confused about what I can and cannot eat it’s driving me crazy. Thank you
What I am reading, because I was confused about the same thing, is the sea are supposed to eat low fiber when we have flare up of pain. Then once better we need to eat high fiber good to prevent the pain coming back. Does that make sensr?
This article is excellent in describing the foods that a person can eat when experiencing flare ups with diverticulitis. It may seem contradictory to eat low fiber foods when feeling bad; but encouraged to eat high fiber foods to avoid inflammation coming back. These foods will help your system to rest and recover by not processing high fiber foods during times of inflammation. As one who has used this type of diet when necessary, I know it does work.
I’m also confused what I can eat.
I’m allergic to corn, wheat, oats, milk, grapes, chicken maple syrup.
So it’s hard to find something to eat that want hurt my diverticulitis.