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Diet for Diverticular Conditions

What is a diet for diverticular conditions?

Diverticular conditions include diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is a condition in which diverticula (bulging pouches) form in the large intestine (colon). Most people with diverticulosis do not have any symptoms. Some people who have diverticulosis may develop diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a condition in which the diverticula become inflamed (swollen) or infected. People with diverticulitis usually have symptoms, such as fever, stomach pain, and nausea. The type of diet you should follow for each of these conditions is different.

What type of diet should I follow if I have diverticulosis?

  • Follow a high-fiber diet if you have diverticulosis. High-fiber foods help you to have regular bowel movements (BMs). They may also help to decrease the risk of forming other diverticula and of developing diverticulitis. You do not need to avoid nuts, seeds, corn, or popcorn.
  • Most adults need 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. With diverticulosis, you may need 6 to 10 grams more than this amount each day. Ask your caregiver how much fiber you should have each day. Increase your intake of fiber slowly. When you eat more fiber, you may have gas and feel bloated. Bloating is when your abdomen (stomach) feels very full and may be swollen. You may need to take a fiber supplement if you are not getting enough fiber from food. Drink plenty of liquids each day as you increase the fiber in your diet. You need about 2 to 3 liters (8 to 12 cups) of liquids each day.

What are some foods that are high in fiber?

  • Foods with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving:
    • One-fourth to one-half cup of high-fiber cereal.
    • One-half cup of blackberries or raspberries.
    • Four dried prunes.
    • One cooked artichoke.
    • One-half cup of cooked beans (lentils, red, kidney, and pinto beans).
  • Foods with 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving:
    • One slice of whole-wheat, pumpernickel, or rye bread.
    • Four whole-wheat crackers.
    • One-half cup of cereal with 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving (check the nutrition label on the box).
    • One piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana, pear, kiwi, or orange.
    • Three dates.
    • One-half cup of canned apricots, fruit cocktail, peaches, or pears.
    • One-half cup of raw or cooked vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, squash, or corn.
    • Two tablespoons of almonds or peanuts.

What type of diet should I follow if I have diverticulitis?

You will need to follow a low-fiber diet until your symptoms are gone. Your caregiver will tell you when you can slowly add high-fiber foods back into your diet.

  • Low-fiber foods you may eat:
    • Cream of wheat and finely ground grits.
    • White bread and white pasta.
    • Canned and well-cooked fruit without skins or seeds and juice without pulp.
    • Canned and well-cooked vegetables without skins or seeds and vegetable juice.
    • Cow's milk, lactose-free milk, soy milk, and rice milk.
    • Yogurt, cottage cheese, and sherbet.
    • Eggs; poultry; fish; and tender, ground, and well-cooked beef.
    • Tofu and smooth nut butters, such as peanut butter.
    • Broth and strained soups made of low-fiber foods.
  • Foods you should avoid:
    • Whole grains and breads and cereals made with whole grains.
    • Dried fruit, fresh fruit with skin, and fruit pulp.
    • Raw vegetables.
    • Cooked greens.
    • Tough meat and meat with gristle.
    • Cooked dried beans.

When should I call my caregiver?

Call your caregiver if:

  • You have questions about your condition.
  • You have questions about the diet that you should follow.
  • You have a change in your BMs.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach).
  • You have a fever (increased body temperature).
  • You have pain in your lower abdomen on the left side.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.