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Best Foods for Diverticulosis
Question: I've been diagnosed with diverticulosis. Does that mean I can no longer eat nuts, seeds, and popcorn?
Answer from: Kathleen Zelman, R.D., nutrition expert
Even with diverticulosis, you may be able to tolerate nuts, seeds, and popcorn. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.
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Meet Kathleen Zelman, Nutrition Expert
Answering your questions about diet and nutrition
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD is a nutrition expert with more than 30 years of experience helping people eat better. For years, Kathleen has spread the word about good nutrition as a radio host, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and as an award-winning nutrition journalist. She has been recognized by the Academy and the American Society for Nutrition for her work in translating scientific recommendations into user-friendly advice that motivates people to lead healthier lifestyles.
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One of our viewers just got diagnosed with diverticulosis and she wants to know does that mean I can no longer eat nuts, seeds, and popcorn. Well diverticulosis is a very individualized condition and you definitely need to check with your health care provider. Let me tell you a little bit about the condition, it occurs in the colon where there are small bulging pouches that can get infected and it used to be thought that bits of undigested food like the tiny seeds in berries or nuts or the shells of popcorn, things that had not been digested, could potentially be caught in these pouches. But studies have shown there’s no evidence to support this theory. So in general, if you tolerate popcorn and it doesn’t cause that cramping or bloating or those problems then you’re probably safe, but again, you really do need to check with your health care provider to make sure, but the studies say that nuts and seeds and popcorn are ok on your diet. The important part of the diet is to make sure you have a high fiber diet and you drink lots of water. Fiber is going to add bulk to your stool. So high fiber diet means you’re eating fruits, and vegetables, and legumes and nuts, if you’re comfortable with that. Whole grains, that will add bulk to your stool, help things go through more rapidly and give you comfort. Drinking lots of water is also really important. If you don’t get enough bulk in your diet, you might want to consider some forms of laxatives that might be helpful as well. So the diet for someone with diverticulosis according to that medical literature is really one of high fiber and plenty of water and the caveat is really individualized – if it bothers you or you’re nervous about it, well then I would say don’t eat it. But nuts are super nutritious. Popcorn is a whole grain. I love all of those so I would hate to have a diet without them. So maybe what you want to do if you’ve eliminated them is try them in a small quantity to make sure that you’re tolerating them. But according to the scientific literature they’re safe to eat.