5 Nutritional and Preventative Remedies for Diverticulitis

5 Nutritional and Preventative Remedies for Diverticulitis

That pain in your gut may not be indigestion or appendicitis, it could be diverticulitis. In your intestines there sometimes form small pouches called diverticula. These are often asymptomatic meaning you don’t even know they are there until they become inflamed. This is when diverticula become diverticulitis, the “itis” meaning there’s a problem or, more specifically, an inflammatory disease.

These 5 nutritional and preventative remedies for diverticulitis could be a good path to travel toward better intestinal health.

How You May Have Diverticulitis

Symptoms related to an attack of diverticulitis can vary. Sometimes signs are misdiagnosed as indigestion while others are mislabeled as appendicitis (although it is usually the wrong side of the abdomen).

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM),

“More than 50% of adults over age 70 have diverticula, and 80% have no symptoms.”

Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Lower abdominal pain especially lower left side (appendix pain is on the right side)
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fever (usually with chronic gastrointestinal conditions)

It’s always best to alert your physician if you feel any of these symptoms as well as reporting the natural remedies you are considering.

Raise Your Roughage

Fiber seems to continually be the key word when it comes to everything from losing weight to preventing disease. Diverticulitis occurs in countries with low fiber, high processed food diets, like America.

When there is a lack of fiber in your diet you can experience hard to pass stool which results in straining which can therefore inflame the colon and create diverticula. Eating fiber keeps things moving (which should be once or twice per day) while at the same time “brushing” debris along with it.

UMM cites specific dietary choices that may prevent developing diverticulitis. This includes eating approximately 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber is best as:

  • Raw, organic vegetable – Juiced or lightly cooked. UMM recommends lettuce, cucumber and spinach however there are many more high fiber vegetable choices such as other dark green leafy produce like kale, broccoli or collard greens; corn; avocado; brown rice; edamame, artichoke and raspberries.
  • Whole wheat pasta or breads –  Minimally stepped-on which means it hasn’t been processed with all sorts of sugars, dyes, etc.
  • Legumes – Canned are okay but best to use soaked dried beans when you can. this includes black, kidney, garbanzo, and white beans along with peas and lentils.

Foods to Avoid 

Meats and high fat foots are more difficult to digest and may lead to intestinal inflammation. Processed sugars and other chemically altered foods can also lead to compromised digestion.

According to Harvard Medical School it is best to avoid these foods especially if you are prone to diverticulitis (runs in the family) or already have diverticula:

  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprout
  • cabbage
  • cherries
  • cola beverages
  • foods and drinks with added sugar (including syrup and orange juice)
  • dairy products
  • nuts
  • peaches
  • pears

Keep Moving

Exercise is essential with studies showing less presentation of diverticulitis in those that practice a weekly workout. The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research states that,

“A recently published 18-year study of approximately 50,000 US males aged 40-75 years, researchers found a lower incidence of diverticular disease complications in those who were physically active.”

A Helpful Amino

The amino acid L-glutamine shows promise in some minor research regarding its beneficial effects on intestinal inflammation.

Researchers at the Lahey Hospital Medical Center, Burlington, Mass cite one study using L-glutamine on cancer patients ,

“A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 70 individuals undergoing chemotherapy with 5-FU for colorectal cancer found evidence that glutamine at a dose of 18 g daily improved intestinal function and integrity.”

On postoperative patients, L-glutamine was studied at the Research Institute of General Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Medical College of Nanjing University, China, concluding that,

“Gut is one of the sources of systemic inflammatory response in abdominal postoperative patients and glutamine can decrease intestinal permeability, maintain intestinal barrier and attenuate systemic inflammatory response in early postoperative patients.”

Although this amino acid needs to be further studied, these preliminary reports may make it worth a try.

Friendly Microbes

Probiotics are becoming more commonly used to alleviate a variety of ailments. These are good bacteria that help keep the digestive tract from being overrun by unfriendly bacteria which can lead to diverticulitis.

A Japanese study published in the Journal of gastrointestinal and liver diseases concluded that,

“The present symbiotic mixture [probiotics] seems to be effective in preventing recurrence of symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease of the colon, especially in those patients with constipation-predominant features.”

Using these 5 nutritional and preventative remedies for diverticulitis may offer relief or just peace of mind. Either way it is good health practices like these that offer a better chance at lifelong optimal health.