Eating a high fiber diet is your key to preventing future outbreaks of diverticulitis
The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences has set dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for fiber based on research data that applies to American and Canadian populations. DRIs provide nutrition guidance to both health professionals and consumers. The current daily DRIs for fiber are as follows:
- Children ages 1-3 years: 19 grams
- Children ages 4-8 years: 25 grams
- Men ages 14-50: 38 grams
- Men age 51 and older: 30 grams
- Girls ages 9-18: 26 grams
- Adult women ages 19-50: 25 grams
- Women age 51 and older: 21 grams
- Pregnant women: 28 grams
- Breastfeeding women: 29 grams
As you begin to make your transition to a high fiber diet for diverticulosis, please note that fiber should be increased in the diet gradually. If fiber intake increases suddenly, abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea may result. The nutritional guidelines we follow allow for five grams or more fiber per serving. Also, it is best to increase the fiber gradually. Increasing it too quickly can cause abdominal gas and diarrhea. So, add just a few grams at a time to allow the intestinal tract to adjust. While increasing your fiber intake, be sure to increase your water consumption. As a good rule of thumb, if you are not already drinking over 6 glasses of liquid a day, drink at least 2 more glasses of water a day when you increase your fiber intake.
As a precaution, you may want to avoid eating certain foods that may aggravate your condition. A full list of foods to avoid for diverticulitis can be found on this page.