Diverticula are small pouch-like little sacs in the colon. They are formed over time due to a low fiber diet and constipation leading to inflammation and diverticular disease. Diverticulosis is the condition of having diverticula. Diverticulitis is the inflammation of the diverticula.
Diverticulitis is accompanied by pain and fever. Since the colon is inflamed the bowel needs rest with only a clear liquid diet for a couple of days and then gradually reintroducing solids making sure to increase your fiber.
Anyone that has had diverticulitis does not want a recurrence and is hesitant about eating certain foods, namely nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn. Studies in recent years have refuted this. Without any good evidence, certain foodstuffs such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, and corn have long been implicated in the development of diverticulitis and are often advised against by physicians. They were thought to provoke diverticulitis or diverticular bleeding by causing luminal trauma. In a large prospective study of men without known diverticular disease, Strate et al found that nut, corn, and popcorn consumption did not increase the risk of diverticulosis, diverticulitis, or diverticular bleeding (Beckham & Whitlow, 2009; Strate et al, 2008).
A high fiber diet will prevent and heal diverticular disease. Just remember if you are increasing your diet you would need to increase your fluids as well. Avoid processed and refined foods. Eating whole foods with whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables will ensure a healthy gut.
Beckham, H. & Whitlow, C. B. (2009). The medical and nonoperative treatment of diverticulitis. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, 22(3), 156 – 160.
Strate, L. L., Liu, Y. L., Syngal, S., Aldoori, W. H., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2008). Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 300(8), 907–914.