Are there trigger foods I should avoid to prevent diverticulitis attacks?

Answers from Michael F. Picco, M.D.

Actually, no specific foods are known to trigger diverticulitis attacks. And no special diet has been proved to prevent attacks.

In the past, people with small pouches in the lining of the colon (diverticula) were told to avoid nuts, seeds and popcorn. It was thought that these foods could lodge in diverticula and cause inflammation (diverticulitis). But there's no evidence that these foods cause diverticulitis.

If you're trying to prevent diverticulitis attacks, focus on eating an overall healthy diet that's high in fiber. High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, soften waste and help it pass more quickly through your colon. This reduces pressure within your digestive tract, which may help reduce the risk of diverticula forming and becoming inflamed.

If you think that you're having a diverticulitis attack, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will likely prescribe treatment and suggest that you follow a clear-liquid diet for a few days, gradually add in low-fiber foods and eventually get back to your usual diet. This kind of diverticulitis diet helps your digestive tract rest and heal during treatment.

Feb. 11, 2014