Diverticulitis is a condition of the digestive tract that typically causes sudden and severe pain in the lower left side of the abdomen. According to Dr. Michael Picco of the Mayo Clinic, “No specific foods are known to trigger an attack,” so avoiding foods such as popcorn and seeds is no longer recommended. Picco suggests that a healthy diet is the best weapon against diverticulitis.
A maintenance diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains softens stool and helps it pass more quickly through the colon. This minimizes the chances of waste being caught in the diverticula, which are small pouches throughout your digestive tract that become inflamed or infected during a diverticulitis attack.
To keep the fiber moving through your digestive tract, you must drink plenty of fluids. Fiber absorbs water from your intestines to soften stool. If you don’t drink enough noncaffeinated beverages for this process to occur, fiber only causes constipation.
What to Eat During an Attack
If your attack symptoms are mild, your doctor might recommend that you rest and consume a low-fiber liquid diet. This includes clear broth, clear soda, pulpless fruit juices, plain gelatin and ice pops. As you begin to feel better, you can add low-fiber foods such as eggs, milk, smooth peanut butter and tender meat, poultry or fish.