Diverticulosis: Top 6 Hazards to Watch Out For

Steer clear of these six potential troublemakers that can literally leave your intestines tied up in knots.

High-protein diets: These eating plans call for you to cut your carbohydrate intake. This means losing out on fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some doctors and nutritionists think diverticulosis can be avoided by eating foods high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And even if you already have the little pouches, you can avoid infection by eating lots of fiber to keep your digestive system squeaky clean.

Refined grains: When it comes to flavor, refined grains are the featherweights of the grain world. The refining process strips the fiber out of bread, cereal, and other grain prod¬ucts – and the hearty flavor goes out right along with it. Trade in your white bread for whole grains, like whole wheat and rye and brown rice instead of white. It may take a while to get used to the nutty taste and heavier texture of these foods, but after a while, white bread and white rice will taste bland by comparison.

Drinking lots of water should also make your stools softer and decrease the chances that you’ll develop diverticula. And if you already have the little pouches, extra water can help fiber flush out bits of food that could cause problems.

Red meat: Harmful bacteria form in your gut when you digest red meat. They weaken your colon walls and make you more prone to those diverticular pouches. As if that weren’t bad enough, the fat in red meat raises your risk of diverticulosis, too. For better results, beef up your diet with chicken and fish, and avoid red meats. For anyone who wants to avoid diverticular disease, red meats are just a bum steer.

Stimulant laxatives: They irritate your colon more than they help. Instead of stimulants like senna, try natural laxatives like prunes, prune juice, or psyllium.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): You risk severe complications if you have diverticulosis and use NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Seeded foods: Traditional wisdom says pass up foods like popcorn, strawberries, and tomatoes. The kernels and seeds may get stuck in the diverticula and cause diverticulitis. Yet many scientists say there’s no proof. So ask your doctor what’s safe for you.