The Best Probiotic for Diverticulitis

Best Probiotic for diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a gut-related disease that progresses from diverticulosis. 

Probiotics are one of the factors that can promote gut health. This article provides an overview of diverticulitis and discusses the best probiotic for diverticulitis available.

Background of Diverticulitis

Diverticulosis occurs when pockets form in the lining of the digestive tract. These pockets are called diverticuli. When the pockets become infected or inflammed, diverticulitis gets diagnosed. 

Common symptoms of diverticulitis are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, bloating, constipation, and/ or loose stools. 

It was previously believed that diverticulitis was caused by a low-fiber diet.  As we learn more about the disease, we now know there are many factors that contribute in addition to diet. 

Risk factors for developing Diverticulitis

Many diet and lifestyle factors cause diverticulitis to develop.

Diet

Strong evidence shows fiber plays a primary role in developing diverticulitis. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. It helps boost the protective bacteria in the gut and reduce the number of inflammatory bacteria. 

Some fibers can be challenging for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) to digest. Check out this article on High Fiber Low FODMAP foods if you suffer from IBS or IBD and don’t tolerate high-fiber foods. 

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans are high-fiber foods that help meet daily fiber needs. 

Smoking

Individuals who smoke tobacco are more likely to develop diverticulitis than people who don’t. 

Genetics

Like many other gut health conditions, there is a genetic component to the risk of developing diverticulitis. 

Age

The risk of diverticulitis increases as a person ages. More than 70% of adult Americans older than 80 have it. 

Gender

Men are more likely to develop Diverticulitis than women.

Drug use

Using NSAIDs, aspirin, steroids, and opioids can increase the risk of diverticulitis. 

Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle correlates with an increased risk for diverticulitis. 

Treatment for Diverticulitis 

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are a first-line treatment. They clear the inflammatory bacteria responsible for diverticulitis. Antibiotics also eliminate many protective bacteria in the gut. 

If you get prescribed antibiotics, it’s important to repopulate your microbiome with protective bacteria. The best probiotic for diverticulitis is discussed below. 

Surgery

If someone has complications of diverticulitis, they may need surgery to improve their condition. If a person has high levels of inflammation, a bowel resection and in some cases, a colostomy may be necessary.  

Diet

As mentioned above, a high-fiber diet is essential for people at risk of diverticulitis. Men need a minimum of 38 grams of fiber per day. Women need a minimum of 25 grams. A high-fiber diet supports regular bowel movements and decreases pressure on the digestive tract. These lower the risk for diverticulitis.

In the past, people with diverticulitis were discouraged from eating seeds, popcorn, and nuts. This recommendation is no longer supported. Include these foods to improve fiber intake without increasing the risk of diverticulitis.

Hydration

Meeting hydration needs daily promotes regular bowel movements and reduces constipation and pressure in the colon. 

Optimize the microbiome

Some studies demonstrate the gut microbiome contributes to the risk of developing diverticulitis. Improve the microbiome by eating a variety of plant foods and including the best probiotic for diverticulitis in your diet.

Probiotics

Probiotic foods and supplements contain living microorganisms that can benefit your health. Probiotic foods are fermented, but not all fermented foods are probiotic. In order to call a food “probiotic,” it has to benefit your health.

The Best Probiotic for Diverticulitis: Supplement Form

At this time, there are limited studies suggesting probiotic supplements improve diverticulitis. While the data on this topic is limited, one study highlighted that a bacteria strain called Limosilactobacillus reuteri significantly reduced symptoms in uncomplicated diverticulitis cases. 

Other studies showed promising outcomes when the participants were treated with antibiotics in addition to Lactobacillus probiotic supplements to manage their diverticulitis. The patient’s inflammatory markers and length of hospital stay were reduced in these outcomes. 

Currently, data from studies isn’t strong enough to recommend the best probiotic for diverticulitis. 

What can you do instead?

Since there is a lack of evidence to recommend the best probiotic supplement for diverticulitis, probiotic foods are the best probiotic for diverticulitis at this time.

The Best Probiotic for Diverticulitis: Food Form

Pickled onions

Yogurt

Milk that has live cultures added to it to thicken it.

  • Layer as a parfait with berries, nuts, and granola
  • Add to smoothies for additional protein 
  • Use as a replacement for sour cream in recipes like chili, soup, tacos, or burritos

Kefir

Kefir is a form of fermented milk. 

  • Blend into a smoothie
  • Pour over cereal
  • Use as a base for overnight oats 
  • Blend with fruit and freeze to make a lactose-free dessert

Sauerkraut

Sauerkarut is fermented cabbage.

  • Layer into a sandwich 
  • Add to salads 
  • Sprinkle over avocado savory toast
  • Garnish tacos, grain bowls, burritos, or scrambled eggs
  • Mix into egg salad or tuna salad for some extra crunch

Miso

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that is full of umami flavor. 

  • Mix with avocado and spread on top of toast 
  • Use in a dip for roasted veggies, meat, stir fry, or seafood
  • Add to a soup broth

Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is a fermented vinegar made from apples, yeast, and sugar.

  • Make a salad dressing using ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup ACV, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp honey, salt, and pepper
  • Add a splash to a fruit-forward smoothie to brighten it up
  • Opt to use ACV in any recipe that calls for vinegar

Kimchi

Kimchi is a collection of fermented vegetables, often cabbage, flavored with other herbs and spices like garlic, onion, chilies, and salt.

  • Add to grain bowls
  • Eat it with eggs
  • Flavor a braise

Tempeh 

Tempeh is a mild-flavored, fermented soybean.

  • Crumble over salads
  • Mash with avocado, lemon, dairy-free mayo, garlic powder, salt, and eat with whole grain crackers
  • Slice tempeh into thin slices and layer into a sandwich
  • Crumble, season, and use as a meat replacement for recipes that use ground beef

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented tea often flavored with fruit and herbs. Read the labels and choose kombucha lower in added sugar.

  • Use in mocktail recipes
  • Add to fruit smoothies

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