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7 Foods To Avoid With Diverticulitis

7 Foods To Avoid With Diverticulitis
Kevin Cleary


Key Takeaways:

  • Diverticulitis, or colonic diverticulitis, is an inflammation of the colon lining and is painful.
  • Diet can exacerbate this disorder, and it is thought that a diet low in fiber may increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  • The inflammation or infection of the diverticula (small pouches that develop inside your colon) causes diverticulitis.
  • Patients with diverticulitis can experience a decrease in their quality of life during a flare-up. A proper diverticulitis diet can help maintain this quality of life.
  • Untreated diverticulitis can lead to abscesses, bleeding, and blockage in the colon.


As we age, we can experience medical issues that negatively affect us, and diverticulitis is one of them. Developing diverticula is common, especially after the age of 40, according to the Mayo Clinic. Typically, these “pouches” don’t cause issues, but when they become inflamed or even infected,… an issue!! This is called diverticulitis. What is diverticulitis? This disorder can result in abdominal pain that can negatively affect your daily activities. Cases of mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest, diet changes, and even antibiotics. Let me shine a light on this disorder for you and some possible treatments, including 7 foods to avoid with diverticulitis.

What Is Diverticulitis and What Causes It?

Yes, abdominal pain can put a huge crimp in your day, and for those who suffer from diverticulitis, it can be even worse. So, what exactly is diverticulitis? It is a gastrointestinal disease that is characterized by the inflammation of abnormal pouches known as diverticula in the large intestines. It is often characterized by sharp pain in the lower abdominal area. 

Diverticulitis Symptoms

Symptoms of diverticulitis can include:

  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Diarrhea (not as common)
  • Pain typically on the lower left side of the abdomen

Diverticulitis is common, but the complications aren't. It affects approximately 4% of the population, but those who experience it have a 20% chance of experiencing it again. According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic, diverticulitis seems to occur incidentally, but genetics may play a part in developing this disorder. Factors that might trigger this condition include bacterial infections or cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in the colon.

How To Treat Diverticulitis?

So, the question begs to be asked, “How to treat diverticulitis?” When it comes to treating diverticulitis, your doctor may consider several factors. If you suffer from chronic diverticulitis, one or more treatments may be necessary to treat your symptoms. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends:

  • High-fiber foods
  • Anti-inflammatory meds
  • Antibiotics
  • Probiotics
  • A clear liquid diet for a short time to rest the colon
  • Pain medication such as NSAIDs or antispasmodics

7 Foods To Avoid With Diverticulitis

If your symptoms of diverticulitis don’t require medical intervention, you can utilize lifestyle changes such as diverticulitis diet to help manage your condition and symptoms. Eating the proper foods can be your best defense against diverticulitis pain, and following a low FODMAP diet, as recommended by Johns Hopkins University, can be beneficial. This reduces the number of short-chain carbohydrates and can help with symptoms. Try to avoid the seven foods:

  1. Nuts, Corn, and Seeds

    These foods can exacerbate symptoms of diverticulitis since their small parts can lodge in the diverticula and can cause inflammation or infection. Yes, they are a high-fiber source that is typically good for diverticulitis, but care should be taken when eating them.
  2. Red Meat/High-Fat Foods

    Studies have shown that overconsumption of these foods can lead to developing diverticulitis. Common sense also says to stay away from high-fat foods!!
  3. Dairy

    Many people with diverticulitis also have lactose intolerance. This can cause bloating, gas, and discomfort, and since dairy products often have a high-fat content, they can worsen symptoms.
  4. Spicy Food

    While your favorite meal might include tacos or tandoori chicken, the capsaicin in these foods can irritate the stomach and intestinal lining, worsening symptoms like abdominal pain and increased inflammation.
  5. Fried Foods

    In general, these are not good for you, but a diverticulitis diet should not include them for those with diverticulitis. These foods are high in unhealthy fats that are hard to digest, which can further irritate the digestive system and worsen diverticulitis symptoms.
  6. Process Grains & Sugars

    Foods such as white bread, pasta, sugary cereals, and white rice can all worsen symptoms of diverticulitis. These foods are often stripped of their dietary fiber and have a high glycemic index.
  7. Certain Fruits and Vegetables

    Those with symptoms of diverticulitis are advised to follow a low-FODMAP diet. Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, garlic, and onions can aggravate the gut, and fruits such as apples, pears, and cherries are high in FODMAPs and should be avoided.

Products To Help Manage Diverticulitis


When To Seek Medical Attention

We all get “tummy aches” from time to time. Still, if you experience constant, unexplained, terrible pain, you should see your physician, especially if a fever, constipation, or diarrhea accompanies it. As with anything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!



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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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