If you are like many of us, you don’t get quite as much fibre in your diet as you should. The diagnosis of diverticulosis is becoming much more common, since a low-fibre diet is the most likely cause. Diverticulosis means having diverticula without any symptoms. Diverticula are small pouches or sacs in the wall of the colon (large intestine). The pouches form when pressure inside the colon builds, usually because of constipation.1
When these pouches are inflamed or infected it can cause pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen. Other symptoms are fever and diarrhea.2 This is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can lead to complications such as bleeding, infections, tears or blockages in the bowel. Treatment is very important and usually consists of a short hospital stay, antibiotics and a liquid diet to give the bowel a rest. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the infected part of the colon.*
So what can be done to lower the chances of diverticula becoming inflamed or infected? The first line of defense is a high-fibre diet and lots of fluids. Aim for 38 grams of fibre per day for men and 25 grams per day for women.3 Fluids will help the fibre to work and to prevent constipation. Have at least 6-8 cups of water every day.
As they do contain some fibre and have a high water content, fresh mushrooms can be part of a healthy diet to help prevent diverticulosis.
Fresh Mushrooms Can Help!
Fill up on Fibre
- The type of fibre found in fruit and vegetables in particular may prevent diverticula from forming.4
- Aim for 7-10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables to help you get enough fibre.5
- Being at a healthy weight is a smart overall strategy for disease prevention and wellbeing.
Watch the Weight
- Fresh mushrooms are a perfect choice for weight management, since they have high water content, are low in fat and contain some fibre: three factors that will help you feel full with fewer calories. That means less room for calorie-laden foods.
Mushrooms Make a Difference
- Add ½ cup white button mushrooms to omelets and frittatas. Benefit: an extra one 1 gram of fibre.9
- Add great flavor to pasta sauces, rice dishes and casseroles with 1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms. Benefit: an extra two 2 grams of fibre.9
- Toss ½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms into stir-fries. Benefit: an extra four 4 grams of fibre.9
For more about diverticular diseases visit the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House, Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (CSIR), or Dietitians of Canada.
*For diet recommendations for acute diverticulitis, please contact your family physician or a registered dietitian immediately.