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Diverticulosis: causes, symptoms and prevention. Foods to avoid and which diet to follow to reduce inflammation
By diverticulosis we mean the presence of numerous small sacs, hernias or swellings in the intestine. These protrusions, which are formed along the walls of the digestive tract, are known with the name of diverticula. The colon is undoubtedly the area most predisposed to their formation.
Diverticulosis is a rather common and above all asymptomatic disease, in most cases the condition is highlighted during control examinations required and performed for other reasons. It is often confused with diverticulitis, a very different pathology! Diverticulitis, in fact, is a complication of diverticulosis and denotes the presence of inflammation of the diverticulum.
The first alarm bells occur when these pockets ignite: waste materials or food particles get stuck in these bumps causing the proliferation of bacteria. The first symptoms are pain in the lower and left side of the abdomen, diarrhea, constipation, fever, nausea, vomiting, etc.
Diverticulosis, which foods to avoid
In general, those suffering from diverticulosis risk the problem recurring especially if they do not follow a targeted diet. In this regard, we suggest you avoid the following foods:
- Whole grains: avoid the consumption of products derived from whole grains, such as popcorn, corn bread, oat flakes or any food made with bran or brown rice. These are foods that are difficult to digest or that can get stuck in the diverticula, aggravating the situation.
- Fruits and vegetables: in the acute phase it is preferable to reduce the consumption of vegetables and fruit, especially dried ones. Fruit juices with pulp are also not recommended. Before consuming the vegetables, make sure they are well cooked, so as to decrease the fibers and digest them more easily. Any type of fruit or vegetable must be peeled and must not even have a seed
- Fatty foods of animal origin
- Refined and / or preservative-rich foods
- Sugary foods and drinks
Avoid "binges", that is to eat in large quantities during a single meal. It is preferable to break up large lunches and dinners into several meals throughout the day.
Diverticulosis, useful recommendations
- Drink large quantities of water, at least two liters of water
- Going to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge, holding back would make the situation worse
- Do exercises to strengthen the muscles of the legs, hips and those of the colon, so as to facilitate evacuations
- Avoid laxatives or enemas if you suffer from constipation, they can further irritate the intestine and create addiction, since the excretory system does not work properly
- Do not eat highly processed or fatty foods, or even spicy, fried, or very sugary foods
- Avoid any food that contains seeds; chewing well before swallowing, as the fragments can get stuck in the diverticula causing pain and inflammation
If diverticulosis were to manifest symptomatologically, it is advisable to increase the fiber content in one's diet or take vegetable fiber-based supplements, so as to facilitate the formation of softer and more easily evacuated stools. Consuming high fiber content also prevents constipation, one of the causes of diverticula formation.
The most recommended plants to treat diverticulosis are:
- Chamomile: helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Consume at least one cup a day.
- Mint: helps to calm swelling in the abdomen, pain, nausea and flatulence. Drink up to three cups a day
- Oregano: helps reduce inflammation of the colon
- Thyme: is a source of fiber and analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds. It can be taken as a dressing for soups, sauces or salads.
- Turmeric: it is an excellent natural anti-inflammatory very suitable for reducing inflammation
It should be noted that at the first symptoms of diverticulitis it is good to consult your doctor who will be able to provide you with a specific diet, based on your clinical picture.