If you have diverticulitis, you may be wondering what foods are safe to eat. One question that often comes up is whether or not canned tuna is a good choice.
The answer is yes, but with some important considerations. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between diverticulitis and canned tuna, and provide some tips for incorporating this popular fish into your diet in a way that supports your digestive health.
So, let’s dive in!
Can You Eat Canned Tuna With Diverticulitis?
As mentioned above, you can eat canned tuna with diverticulitis. In fact, tuna is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. However, it’s important to be mindful of how you prepare and consume your tuna.
Firstly, it’s recommended to choose canned tuna that is packed in water rather than oil. This will help reduce the amount of fat in your diet, which can be beneficial for those with diverticulitis.
Secondly, it’s important to consider the fiber content of your meal. While fiber is important for digestive health, it can also exacerbate symptoms of diverticulitis during a flare-up. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it may be best to avoid high-fiber side dishes and opt for low-fiber options instead.
Finally, it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any symptoms or discomfort after consuming canned tuna. While it is generally safe for those with diverticulitis, everyone’s body is different and may react differently to certain foods.
Understanding Diverticulitis And Diet
Diverticulitis is a condition that affects the digestive tract and is characterized by inflammation of one or a few pouches in the wall of the colon. Research suggests that a diet low in fiber and high in red meat may increase the risk of developing diverticulitis. On the other hand, a diet high in fiber and low in red meat may help lower the risk.
Fiber plays an important role in promoting gut health and preventing constipation. It can also help decrease pressure in the colon and prevent flare-ups of diverticulitis. High-fiber foods include beans and legumes, bran, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals such as oatmeal, brown and wild rice, fruits such as apples, bananas, and pears, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, corn, and squash, and whole wheat pasta.
It’s important to note that if you currently don’t have a diet high in fiber, it’s recommended to add fiber gradually to avoid bloating and abdominal discomfort. The target is to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. Drinking at least 8 cups of fluid daily can also help soften stools and prevent constipation.
During a diverticulitis flare-up, your doctor may recommend rest, antibiotics, and either a clear liquid or low-fiber diet. This is because reducing the fiber in your diet can help decrease traffic in your GI tract and reduce irritation to the inflamed polyps.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms from diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a liquid diverticulitis diet as part of your treatment. This can include water, fruit juices, broth, and ice pops. Gradually easing back into a regular diet with low-fiber foods before introducing high-fiber foods may also be advised.
The Health Benefits Of Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a great source of protein and contains many essential vitamins and minerals such as B-Complex vitamins, Vitamins A and D, as well as iron, selenium, and phosphorus. Tuna is also rich in healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are beneficial for heart, eye, and brain health. In fact, just 3 ounces of canned tuna can provide up to 50% of the recommended daily level of vitamin D, which is necessary for bone health, strengthening the immune system against disease, and ensuring optimal growth in children.
In addition to these essential nutrients, canned tuna is also a low-calorie food option that can aid in weight loss. High protein diets have been shown to reduce cravings and increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to consuming fewer calories overall. Canned tuna is also an inexpensive source of protein that can be stored for long periods of time.
While it’s important to be mindful of the amount of mercury in certain types of tuna, canned tuna contains less mercury than fresh tuna due to the smaller sized fish used for canning. The FDA recommends consuming no more than two or three servings per week of light tuna and only one serving per week of white tuna due to its higher mercury content.
The Risks Of Canned Tuna For Diverticulitis
While canned tuna can be a great addition to a diverticulitis-friendly diet, there are some risks to be aware of. Firstly, some canned tuna products may contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful in large amounts. It’s important to choose canned tuna that is labeled as “light” or “chunk” rather than “white,” as white tuna tends to have higher levels of mercury.
Secondly, some canned tuna products may contain added salt or sodium, which can be problematic for those with high blood pressure or kidney issues. It’s important to read the label and choose low-sodium options whenever possible.
Lastly, some people with diverticulitis may experience discomfort or digestive issues after consuming canned tuna. This could be due to the protein content or the way the tuna is prepared. If you experience any symptoms after consuming canned tuna, it may be best to avoid it and speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations.
Tips For Incorporating Canned Tuna Into A Diverticulitis-Friendly Diet
If you’re looking to incorporate canned tuna into your diverticulitis-friendly diet, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Choose canned tuna packed in water: As mentioned above, this will help reduce the amount of fat in your diet, which can be beneficial for those with diverticulitis.
2. Pair canned tuna with low-fiber side dishes: While tuna itself does not provide fiber, it’s important to be mindful of the fiber content of your meal. During a flare-up, it may be best to avoid high-fiber side dishes and opt for low-fiber options instead. Consider pairing your canned tuna with cooked vegetables or a small serving of white rice.
3. Pay attention to portion sizes: It’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any symptoms or discomfort after consuming canned tuna. While it is generally safe for those with diverticulitis, everyone’s body is different and may react differently to certain foods. Start with a small portion size and gradually increase as tolerated.
4. Consider other sources of protein: While canned tuna can be a great source of protein, it’s important to have variety in your diet. Consider incorporating other sources of protein such as chicken, turkey, tofu, or eggs.
By following these tips, you can safely incorporate canned tuna into your diverticulitis-friendly diet and enjoy its health benefits without exacerbating symptoms.
Other Foods To Consider For A Healthy Diverticulitis Diet
Aside from canned tuna, there are many other foods that can be beneficial for those with diverticulitis. Here are some options to consider:
1. Lean Proteins: Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu are great options for those with diverticulitis. These proteins are easy to digest and provide essential nutrients without adding unnecessary fat to your diet.
2. Low-Fiber Grains: During a flare-up, it’s important to limit your fiber intake. Low-fiber grains such as white bread, white rice, and low-fiber cereals can provide energy without exacerbating your symptoms.
3. Cooked Vegetables: While raw vegetables can be high in fiber and difficult to digest, cooked vegetables can be a great source of nutrients without causing discomfort. Steamed or roasted vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and zucchini can be a great addition to your diet.
4. Low-Fiber Fruits: Just like vegetables, some fruits can be high in fiber and difficult to digest during a flare-up. However, low-fiber fruits such as canned peaches or pears, applesauce, and ripe bananas can provide essential vitamins and minerals without causing discomfort.
5. Dairy Products: Dairy products such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, and cheese can provide essential nutrients without adding unnecessary fiber to your diet. These products are also easy to digest and can help soothe the digestive tract.
Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any symptoms or discomfort after consuming certain foods. Always consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.