Diverticulitis is an infection of the diverticula (small, marble-sized sacs that line the inside of the digestive tract – specifically, the colon). It is estimated that roughly 10% of the North American population (over the age of 40) is affected by diverticulitis. Ranging in severity from minor discomfort to severe pain, and, in some cases, even to a perforated bowel, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of this infection and to know how to treat it.
Fortunately, a healthy diet is the best way to keep these symptoms under control, and that’s where we, at Ki’s Kitchen, come in to help! But first, a little bit more on the condition.
*The presence of two or more of the above symptoms may indicate an infection in your digestive tract. Please consult your physician, and, look to our diverticulitis diet for suggestions.
Well, we should not be surprised here. The typical Western diet is full of highly processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. And, other known causes are aging, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and the prolonged use of prescription medications (opiates, steroids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories).
These risk factors, combined with a diet high in animal products and low in fiber, can contribute to inflammation, infection, and potential leaking into the abdominal cavity – this can be dangerous and even require surgery if left untreated for too long.
As mentioned above, there are many beneficial foods (and combinations of foods) that work to heal the diverticula and prevent further infection. Therefore, there is a recommended, step-by-step diet that is known to alleviate the symptoms of this condition within a few weeks.
Several days of a clear fluid diet will help to reduce the inflammation and reduce the symptoms. Healthy, healing fluids include ginger tea, fresh fruit juice (no pulp), and healing vegetable and/or bone broths.
Continue with the clear fluids you introduced in step 1, but add in fresh and easily digestible fruits and vegetables like carrots, beets, lettuce, grapes, and apples. These foods can be juiced, or, steamed and pureed. Avoid foods with tough skins or small seeds (raspberries, cranberries), which can get stuck in the diverticula sacs.
When your symptoms have reduced even further, you can add in more fruits and vegetables, along with unrefined grains such as, quinoa, black rice, or fermented and sprouted grains or legumes.
After a few more days, start to add in more fiber to your diet. Do this very gradually (one new food every 3-4 days) and include foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, other root vegetables, and even some oats and other unprocessed grains.
Interestingly, many of the foods recommended on the Diverticulitis diet, can also be found on the suggested list of foods according to Ayurvedic practice. These include, but are not limited to: apples, beets, carrots, oats, and sweet potato. Clearly, these are calming foods with healing properties. As we have discussed before, many health conditions are thought to be caused by an imbalance of one (or more) of the three doshas (bodily humours). With diverticulitis, the dosha “Vata” would appear to be out of balance. In order to reduce the excess Vata, a diet rich in foods containing oily, sour, and salty gunas (food qualities) is ideal.
Additionally, Ayurveda recommends the addition of the following healing herbs, spices, and supplements:
As always, we are here to answer your questions or concerns, and we would love the opportunity to prepare some gut-healthy and flavourful combinations for you and your family.
Lastly, thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!
Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcome!
I look forward to connecting with you next time!
From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace