Diverticulosis, a condition in which pockets called diverticula form in the colon, and diverticulitis, the swelling of these pockets that causes symptoms, occur in approximately 10 percent of people older than 40 years of age in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. Diverticular conditions are more common in countries that use high amounts of processed foods. Selecting proper foods for diet and nutrition may help prevent diverticulitis.
Because low fiber appears to be the main cause of diverticulitis, maintaining high levels of fiber in the diet is important to prevent the disease. High-fiber grains like oatmeal and bran, as well as products that supplement the diet with fiber, are effective ways to obtain effective amounts of fiber each day. Approximately 30 g of fiber each day is suggested to keep stool moving through the colon and to avoid excessive colon pressure that could form diverticula.
Adequate liquid intake, defined as at least 8 cups of fluid each day, also contributes to stool softness and diverticula prevention. The best fluid option for nutrition is water. Caffeinated products, including iced tea and coffees, do not contribute to nutritional fluid needs and will not help prevent diverticulitis.
Fruits and Vegetables
Other good sources of fiber are beans, green leafy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears and berries. A fresh apple or pear with its skin on provides 3 to 4 g of fiber. Replacing canned fruits and other processed foods with fresh fruits, vegetables and beans in your diet is key to preventing diverticulitis.
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