Diverticular disease is a chronic digestive disorder with two phases: a chronic condition known as diverticulosis and an acute disorder called diverticulitis. Most medical experts believe a low-fiber diet causes diverticulosis and recommend a high-fiber diet to prevent flare-ups of diverticulitis, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders, or NIDDK. Once you develop acute diverticulitis, however, your physician will instruct you to stop eating blueberries and other foods that contain significant amounts of fiber.
Diverticulosis creates small bulging pockets, or diverticula, along the inside lining of your colon, or large intestine. Although most people with diverticulosis have no symptoms, you may experience intermittent abdominal pain or tenderness, constipation, bloating or gas. If the diverticula become inflamed, however, you develop diverticulitis. Learn to identify diverticulitis symptoms such as significant pain in your lower left abdomen, cramping, nausea, vomiting, chills and fever. When these symptoms occur, it’s time to stop eating blueberries and switch to a clear liquid diet that leaves little residue for your colon to digest.
Clear Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet includes most liquids you can see through, along with foods that melt to form clear liquids at room temperature. Clear liquids are low in fiber, leaving little or no residue for your colon to manage. Clear fruit juices such as apple, cranberry or grape are allowed on a clear liquid diet. These juices are low in fiber; a cup of apple or grape juice contains only 0.5 grams of fiber, while a cup of cranberry juice cocktail has no measurable fiber. Blueberry juice, on the other hand, has 5 grams of dietary fiber in the same size serving. Your physician will tell you to stay away from blueberry juice and other juice products with a significant fiber content during your diverticulitis attack.
If your diverticulitis symptoms improve after a few days of clear liquids, you can slowly add low-fiber foods and beverages back into your diet. A 1 cup serving of raw blueberries contains 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, making it a moderate-fiber food. The 8-ounce. serving of blueberry juice with its 5 grams of fiber is considered a high-fiber beverage, so both blueberry foods are prohibited on a low-fiber diet.
Blueberries and other high-fiber fruits are forbidden during an attack of diverticulitis, but they still play an important role in diverticular disease. If you have diverticulosis, your health care provider will recommend a diet high in fiber, and suggest incorporating fruits with skins and seeds into your daily menus. Although some physicians advise their patients to avoid fruits with seeds, the NIDDK says it’s not necessary to eliminate these high-fiber options from your diet. After your diverticulitis has completely resolved, you can safely enjoy blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries as part of your diverticulosis diet.