FAQ: I have diverticular disease. Can I eat flaxseed?

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Answer

Diverticulosis is the formation of tiny pockets, called diverticula, in the wall of the large intestine. Many people with diverticulosis do not even know that they have it. However, some people experience symptoms due to diverticular bleeding or diverticulitis (infection of the diverticula). In the past it was recommended that people with diverticulosis avoid seeds, nuts, corn, and popcorn because it was believed these foods might get caught in the diverticula. However, research shows that these foods may actually protect against diverticulitis. Thus, flaxseed is generally considered safe for people with diverticular disease.

A high fibre diet is recommended for people with diverticulosis. Increasing dietary fibre will not result in adverse symptoms in people with existing diverticula and is associated with a decreased risk of developing more pockets. However, fibre will not repair diverticula that are already present. As a fibre-rich food, flaxseed can help boost fibre intake for people with diverticular disease. Increased fibre intake should go hand-in-hand with increased fluid intake. Treatment of acute diverticulitis depends on the severity of the symptoms that may include a low fibre, high fluid diet, but once symptoms improve, dietary fibre intake usually is recommended to be gradually increased.

 

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