Fibre is found in plant foods which have not undergone a lot of processing. These include cereal and cereal products, fruit, vegetables, dried peas and beans, lentils and nuts. Fibre is not digested and so it passes through your intestine and is not absorbed by your body.
During a flare up of diverticulitis, it is important to reduce your fibre intake and follow a low fibre diet. The aim of a low fibre diet is to reduce the amount of fibre you eat each day, by avoiding foods which are high in fibre. For a low fibre diet choose:
- Refined breads and cereals: white bread, white pasta, white rice
- Vegetables: well cooked and peeled, avoid seeds, peas, carrots and corn
- Fruit: fruit juice, tinned/canned fruit, stewed skinless fruit
- Dairy: avoid fruit yoghurt or containing nuts/seeds
- Spreads: avoid jam, peanut butter
- Soup: strained broth
Once the indications of a flare up have resolved, it is important to increase your fibre intake towards 25g/day for women and 30g/day for men. By increasing your fibre intake, you will reduce your risk of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, aid in satiety, for blood sugar control and weight maintenance. To meet your requirements for fibre, aim to increase your intake of fibre rich foods as indicated below:
- Breads & cereals: choose wholemeal, wholegrain varieties. Brown rice and pasta, quinoa, oat bran, bran flakes, buckwheat
- Vegetables: aim for 5 serves daily
- Fruit: aim for 2 serves daily (include the skin where practical)
- Nuts & seeds
- Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans
In addition to this, it is important to increase your fluid intake (aim 2L daily) and engage in regular, gentle exercise.
If you would like additional information I recommend you contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
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