Diverticulitis (most commonly an inflammation of colonic diverticular) is a common health complaint, where gradual atrophy weakens peristalsis of the bowel, allowing small pockets to form (diverticuli).
They also form where there has been long term constipation.
Bacteria can collect in the diverticuli and cause pockets of painful inflammation which in turn can cause lower abdominal pain with diarrhoea or constipation.
To treat diverticulitis:
Keep the diet free of seeds, husks and harsh skins etc so that there is less likelihood of irritating inflamed tissues or of debris collecting in the diverticuli.
Keep sugars to a minimum so as to prevent bloating (which can occur if sugar levels are too high or bowel bacteria unbalanced) and help prevent making existing inflammation worse.
Take a small amount of slippery elm powder daily to keep the bowel moving easily.
Increase raw foods to improve enzyme action (or supplement with enzymes) so that your food is fully digested.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts’.
Add extra cold compressed oils to the diet so that the bowel is not ‘dry’. This is important because if you use bran, slippery elm, psyllium or any other bulking food without allowing sufficient water to reach the bowel, it will become clogged with ‘dry’ fibre and not move easily.
This can cause cramping and also make existing divertivuli larger. If the bowel ‘cramps’ you will get a stitch-like feeling in the lower bowel which can be very severe.
A deficiency in magnesium levels can also cause the bowel to be ‘dry’ and make cramping more likely.
Excess gas may also cause this feeling.
Bowel flora usually needs to be improved. Very specific probiotics have now become available to improve bowel healing and I have seen very good results using a specific strain of Lactobacillus Plantarum.
See page on Probiotics.
If pain persists, take one tsp of Colostrum powder daily.
This may be mixed with yoghurt or water. Colostrum is excellent for improving the immune status of the bowel and in doing so can eliminate persistent inflammation and/or infection. It is a good idea to do this in any case regardless of pain thresholds.
Herbal remedies that I have found very useful are Agrimony or White Oak bark if the bowel is very inflamed, or a mix of Slippery elm plus Golden seal and Licorice, if the problem is less severe and an on-going preventative is needed.
Also herbs such as Chamomile which has both a calming and an anti-inflammatory action on the intestine, or Lemon balm if there is anxiety present.
There is also now available a lovely blend of slippery elm powder, deglycyrrhizinated Licqurice, quercetin, plus other prebiotics that I have seen help an inflammed bowel very
As well as these Garlic is a very good preventative of infection and can be added to the diet.
Often it is also a good idea to supplement with vitamin B12, as this is manufactured by the intestinal bacteria and easily become deficient if bowel flora is not adequate.
See page on ‘Vitamin B12’.
APPROPRIATE DIET – FOODS ALLOWED
Breads and Cereals – Porridge, Weetbix, Bran flakes, Wheat germ, fine ground Wholemeal flour, fine wholemeal bread.
Cakes and Biscuits – Plain sponge or crackers or plain biscuits. Shortbread, bran biscuits, bran muffins. Keep these to a minimum!
Desserts – Plain desserts such as cereals. Gelatine desserts, milk pudding with fruit, plain yoghurt and Junket.
Sweets – A little manuka honey
Fruit – Pureed fruit, melons, banana, grapes without skins or seeds, apples, pears or peaches, without skins orange or grape-fruit segments without pith or skin.
Vegetables – Soft root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, swede, potatoes, kumera, yams, pumpkin – all without skins, baby vegetables.
Potatoes, pasta, rice – Boiled, creamed, mashed or jacket potatoes (without the skins) macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, white rice.
Nuts – Smooth peanut butter, finely ground nuts as in tahini.
Soups – Those made with ‘allowed foods’ pureed vegetables, creamed soups, clear soups.
FOOD TO AVOID
Breads and Cereals – Bread such as Vogel’s or Molenberg which contains Whole
Grains & seeds. Kibbled wheat. Cereals which contain nuts, seeds.
Cakes and Biscuits – Fruit cake, cakes or biscuits, biscuits containing dried fruit, coconut or nuts.
Desserts – Any containing seeds, pips or skins.
Sweets – Sweets containing nuts, raisins, coconut, jam with seeds.
Fruit – Fruits with seeds, pips or hard skins for example: tamarillos, berries, orange pith and membrane. Dried fruit – dates, figs currants.
Vegetables – Corn, baked beans, dried peas, seeds and tough skin of tomatoes.
Any coarse stalks, cabbage family, onion, cucumber, garlic, peas and broad beans.
Potatoes, Pasta, rice – Brown rice
Nuts – Crunchy peanut butter, nuts – whole or chopped.
Soups – Those containing onion or seeds, tough skins, coarse fibres or ‘non allowed list’