The term Diverticular disease covers both diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
Diverticulosis is the formation of sacs in the bowel wall due to herniation.
Diverticulitis is when the diverticular (or the sacs) become infected, causing inflammation, and even perforation of the bowel wall.
The symptoms linked with this vary, but include excessive flatulence, bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite, bleeding from the bowel, bowel obstruction, fistula, abscess and perforation.
It is considered a very western disease, and is really common among people aged 80 and over. The low fibre content (we will go through 10 fibre sources below) in a typical Western diet is why it is a relatively new disorder.
It is strongly linked with obesity and constipation, and this brings us to the Western diet again. It’s been shown to be linked with diets high in saturated fats and red meat and low in fibre.
A high fibre diet is protective against developing diverticular disease and is used therapeutically to help improve symptoms.
Let’s look at 10 fibre sources that can help:
- Psyllium husks: Bulk up your stools and help improve constipation.
- Slippery Elm: Is an indigestible fibre high in mucilage that increases transit time.
- Chickpeas: Just 2 cups of chickpeas meets your whole days fibre needs. Use it in hummus or salads!
- Lentils: contains both soluble and insoluble fibre, so it will improve bowel frequency and motions.
- Chia seeds: by weight chia seeds are 40% fibre. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can improve the slipperiness of your bowels and reduce constipation.
- Linseeds: 1 tbsp of linseeds contains 10% of your daily needs. Start your day with some sprinkled in your porridge or in your smoothie.
- Almonds: A Spanish study showed that eating nuts at least twice a week improved your weight maintenance.
- Quinoa: A low GI grain that contains insoluble fibre. Helps improve gut health.
- Oat Bran: Containing more fibre than rolled oats or quick oats, oat bran can be added to your porridge, smoothies or used in bliss balls.
- Green banana flour: high in resistant starch and prebiotic fibre, this can really improve gut health.
When adding in fibre sources, be mindful of these two things:
- Make sure you drink PLENTY of water. Adding fluid and not drinking enough fluids is a sure fire combo to get constipated.
- Go slow. If you’ve never had chickpeas, don’t start with 2 cups! Too much too soon can create bloating, discomfort and even trigger your IBS-like symptoms linked with diverticulitis.
Aside from increasing fibre, there may be foods you need to avoid. It is unique to everyone; however, little seeds can get caught in the sacs and fester there.
Be aware of poppy seeds, multigrain bread, strawberries etc. and see if they are problematic for you. Soaking seeds like chia or linseeds first, or using them in their powdered form might be better.
Herbal medicine can help in the prevention and treatment of attacks. To find out how we can help you in addition to these fibre sources, book your free 20min assessment by clicking below.