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 there are some important things to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between canned tuna and diverticulitis, and provide some tips for incorporating this popular fish into your diet.
So, if you’re a fan of tuna and want to know if it’s safe to eat with diverticulitis, keep reading!
Can You Eat Canned Tuna With Diverticulitis?
The short answer is yes, you can eat canned tuna with diverticulitis. In fact, tuna is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for your overall health. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your diet plays a crucial role in managing diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is a condition where small pouches called diverticula form in the colon and become inflamed or infected. One of the main causes of diverticulitis is a lack of fiber in the diet. Therefore, it’s important to consume foods that are high in fiber to prevent and manage this condition.
While canned tuna itself doesn’t contain fiber, it can be paired with fiber-rich foods to make a healthy meal. For example, you can make a tuna salad with chopped vegetables like celery, carrots, and bell peppers. You can also serve tuna steaks with a side of cooked vegetables or a salad.
It’s important to note that if you’re experiencing a flare-up of diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a low-fiber diet for a period of time. During this time, it’s best to avoid high-fiber foods like raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. However, canned tuna can still be incorporated into your diet as long as it’s paired with low-fiber foods.
Understanding Diverticulitis And Dietary Restrictions
Diverticulitis is a condition that affects the colon and causes inflammation or infection in small pouches called diverticula. The main cause of diverticulitis is a lack of fiber in the diet, which can lead to constipation and pressure in the colon. Therefore, it’s important to consume foods that are high in fiber to prevent and manage this condition.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms from diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a liquid diverticulitis diet as part of your treatment. This diet includes water, fruit juices, broth, and ice pops. Gradually, you can ease back into a regular diet, starting with low-fiber foods like white bread, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products before introducing high-fiber foods.
Fiber is an essential nutrient that softens and adds bulk to stools, helping them pass more easily through the colon. It also reduces pressure in the digestive tract and can help control diverticular symptoms. Women younger than 51 should aim for 25 grams of fiber daily, while men younger than 51 should aim for 38 grams of fiber daily. Women 51 and older should get 21 grams daily, and men 51 and older should get 30 grams daily.
Whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals are excellent sources of fiber. However, if you’re having difficulty structuring a diet on your own, consult your doctor or a dietitian who can set up a meal plan that works for you. Your doctor may also recommend a fiber supplement like psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) one to three times a day.
If you have diverticulosis or diverticular disease, you don’t necessarily need to avoid specific foods. In the past, doctors used to recommend avoiding nuts, popcorn, and seeds. However, recent research suggests that these foods are not harmful to people with diverticulosis or diverticular disease. If you have diverticulosis or diverticular disease, talk with your doctor about whether you should change what you eat and drink.
In general, it’s important to eat a high-fiber diet when you have diverticulosis. High-fiber foods include beans and legumes, bran, whole wheat bread and 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. If you currently don’t have a diet high in fiber, add fiber gradually to avoid bloating and abdominal discomfort. The target is to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily.
For milder cases of diverticulitis or during flare-ups of symptoms, eat a low-fiber or GI soft diet that limits fiber intake to between 8 and 12 grams of fiber depending on the severity of the flare-up. This type of diet includes grains like white pasta and white bread along with white rice and white crackers. Low-fiber starches like peeled potatoes without skin can be included along with certain low-fiber cereals like corn flakes and puffed rice cereal. Proteins like eggs and egg whites, tofu, meat or seafood can be included as long as they are tender. Fruits should be consumed with caution since they have lots of fiber. Good options include canned fruits such as peaches or pears, applesauce, ripe bananas and soft ripe cantaloupe and honeydew without the skin. Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are excellent choices since they are high in protein but don’t contain any fiber.
Nutritional Benefits Of Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a nutritious food that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It contains B-complex vitamins, vitamins A and D, iron, selenium, and phosphorus. Additionally, it is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.
One of the benefits of canned tuna is that it can last for a long time in your pantry, making it a convenient food to have on hand. Another benefit is that it is low in calories yet high in protein, making it a good option for those looking to lose weight. High protein diets have been associated with benefits for weight loss, including increased feelings of fullness and reduced cravings.
Canned tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential dietary fats that are beneficial for heart, eye, and brain health. Vitamin D and selenium are also present in canned tuna. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health, strengthening the immune system against disease, and ensuring optimal growth in children.
It’s important to note that pregnant women and young children should consult with a doctor before eating tuna due to its potentially higher mercury content. The FDA recommends about two or three servings per week of light tuna and only one serving per week of white tuna due to the higher mercury content in white tuna.
Risks And Precautions Of Eating Canned Tuna With Diverticulitis
While canned tuna can be a healthy addition to your diet, there are some risks and precautions to keep in mind when consuming it with diverticulitis. Firstly, it’s important to choose canned tuna that is low in sodium, as high sodium intake can lead to increased inflammation in the body.
Additionally, some canned tuna products may contain added oils or sauces that can be high in fat and calories. It’s important to read the nutrition label carefully and choose canned tuna that is packed in water rather than oil.
Another precaution to take when consuming canned tuna with diverticulitis is to avoid consuming it in large amounts. While tuna is a great source of protein, consuming too much of it can lead to an overload of protein in the body, which can be harmful for those with kidney problems.
Finally, if you’re experiencing a flare-up of diverticulitis, it’s important to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian before incorporating canned tuna into your diet. They may recommend a specific dietary plan based on your individual needs and condition.
How To Safely Incorporate Canned Tuna Into Your Diverticulitis Diet
If you want to safely incorporate canned tuna into your diverticulitis diet, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Pair it with fiber-rich foods: As mentioned earlier, canned tuna itself doesn’t contain fiber, but you can pair it with fiber-rich foods to make a healthy meal. For example, you can add chopped vegetables to your tuna salad or serve tuna steaks with a side of cooked vegetables.
2. Choose low-sodium options: Many canned tuna products are high in sodium, which can be harmful for people with diverticulitis. Look for low-sodium options or rinse the tuna before using it in your meal.
3. Avoid spicy seasonings: Spicy seasonings can irritate the digestive system and worsen symptoms of diverticulitis. Stick to mild seasonings like lemon juice, herbs, and black pepper.
4. Follow your doctor’s recommendations: If you’re experiencing a flare-up of diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend a specific diet plan for you to follow. Make sure to follow their recommendations and avoid any foods that could worsen your symptoms.
Other Foods To Consider Adding To Your Diet For Diverticulitis Relief
In addition to canned tuna, there are a variety of other foods that can be added to your diet for diverticulitis relief. These foods are low in fiber and easy to digest, making them ideal for those experiencing a flare-up. Here are some options to consider:
1. Lean protein: In addition to canned tuna, other lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, and fish can be beneficial for those with diverticulitis. These foods are easy to digest and can help promote healing.
2. Cooked fruits and vegetables: While raw fruits and vegetables can be difficult to digest during a flare-up, cooked versions are often easier on the digestive system. Try cooking apples, pears, carrots, and squash until they are soft and tender.
3. Starchy foods: Starchy foods like potatoes, white rice, and pasta can be a good source of energy during a flare-up. Just be sure to avoid adding high-fiber ingredients like beans or whole grains.
4. Dairy products: Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt are low in fiber and easy to digest. They can also provide a good source of calcium and vitamin D.
5. Clear liquids: During the acute phase of diverticulitis, clear liquids like broth, Jell-O, and popsicles may be recommended by your doctor. These can help give your digestive system a break while still providing some hydration and nutrients.
It’s important to work with your doctor or a dietitian to create a meal plan that works for you during a flare-up of diverticulitis. They can help you identify trigger foods and suggest alternatives that will help promote healing and manage symptoms.