I have diverticular disease. Should I avoid eating nuts and seeds? I've heard conflicting advice.
Answers from Michael F. Picco, M.D.
In the past, many doctors recommended that people with small pouches in the lining of the colon (diverticula) avoid seeds and nuts, including foods with small seeds, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries. It was thought that these tiny food particles could lodge in diverticula and cause inflammation (diverticulitis). But there is no scientific evidence that seeds and nuts cause diverticulitis flares.
In fact, eating a high-fiber diet — which may include nuts and seeds — might reduce your risk of diverticulitis.
However, people differ in the amounts and types of foods they can eat. Decisions about diet should be made based on what works best for you. Just make sure you're eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
Feb. 11, 2014
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diverticulosis/. Accessed Aug. 22, 2013.
- Strate LL, et al. Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease. JAMA. 2008;300:907.
- Weisberger L, et al. How can you help prevent a recurrence of diverticulitis? Journal of Family Practice. 2009;58:381.
- Boynton W, et al. New strategies for the management of diverticular disease: Insights for the clinician. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology. 2013;6:205.