Diverticulosis is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 40, and half of those over 60 years of age. Diverticulosis represents the chronic phase of diverticular disease and diverticulitis is the acute inflammatory phase of diverticular disease. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders, most medical experts say diverticulosis is caused by inadequate intake of dietary fiber from whole grains, vegetables and fruits, such as strawberries.
Video of the Day
The soluble fiber in strawberries and other fruits combines with water in your intestines to create a jellylike waste product that promotes normal bowel function and prevents constipation. The NIDDK advises Americans to eat foods high in fiber to lower the risk of developing diverticular disease. Once you have diverticulosis, that same high-fiber diet will reduce your symptoms and help prevent flare-ups of diverticulitis. Strawberries and other fruits with their skin and seeds intact are an important part of a high-fiber diet.
One cup of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 cup of strawberry halves holds 3.0 grams and 1 cup of pureed or frozen strawberries boasts 4.6 grams of dietary fiber. Since they contain between 2.5 and 4.9 grams of fiber per serving, these strawberry options are considered good sources of fiber, but not high-fiber foods. Continuum Health Partners identifies strawberries, raspberries and blackberries as one of the top 20 fiber foods in the American diet.
Adjusting Your Diet
Tufts University advises people with diverticulosis to ingest at least 25 grams of fiber each day. That guideline can seem daunting until you start adding up the fiber content of common foods. A snack that includes 1 cup of sliced strawberries at 3.3 grams and a slice of toasted whole-wheat toast at 2.3 grams serves up 5.6 grams of fiber, or more than 22 percent of your daily minimum. At 129 calories for the whole snack, these nutrient-dense fiber sources make a healthy addition to your diet.
For many years, doctors told patients to avoid strawberries and other fruits with seeds, believing they could irritate the diverticula and cause a flare-up of diverticulitis. Today, however, the NIDDK states there is no need to eliminate any specific foods from your diverticulosis diet and specific says strawberries are generally considered harmless. However, you should keep a food diary so you can identify any foods that make your symptoms worse and discuss these findings with your doctor.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- NIDDK: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
- Drugs.com: High-Fiber Diet
- USDA: National Nutrient Database
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Continuum Health Partners: Bowel Function and Dietary Fiber
- Cleveland Clinic: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
- MedlinePlus: Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis