Are you a seafood lover who has been diagnosed with diverticulitis?
If so, you may be wondering if you can still enjoy your favorite shellfish, such as oysters.
While it’s important to be cautious about what you eat when dealing with diverticulitis, the good news is that oysters can still be a part of your diet.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of eating oysters with diverticulitis, as well as provide some tips on how to prepare them safely.
So, grab a seat and let’s dive in!
Can You Eat Oysters With Diverticulitis?
The short answer is yes, you can eat oysters with diverticulitis. Oysters are a great source of protein and essential nutrients, and can be a delicious addition to your diet. However, it’s important to be aware that some people with diverticulitis may be allergic to shellfish, so it’s always best to check with your doctor or allergist first.
Additionally, those with diverticulitis may need to avoid eating raw or undercooked oysters, as this can increase the risk of infection. When it comes to preparing oysters for a meal, it’s important to cook them thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present.
It’s also important to note that while oysters themselves may not trigger a flare-up of diverticulitis, certain foods that are commonly paired with oysters may need to be avoided. For example, spicy sauces or dressings, alcohol, and caffeine can all potentially trigger symptoms.
Understanding Diverticulitis And Diet Restrictions
Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches called diverticula form in the lining of the digestive system, usually in the colon. These pouches can become inflamed or infected, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. While the exact cause of diverticulitis is not known, it is believed that a low-fiber diet may contribute to its development.
When it comes to managing diverticulitis, diet plays a crucial role. For mild cases, treatment may involve antibiotics and a low-fiber diet. In more severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. During flare-ups of diverticulitis, a clear liquid diet may be recommended to give the bowel time to rest. This typically involves consuming clear liquids such as broth, fruit juices without pulp, gelatin, and ice chips. Gradually, low-fiber foods such as canned or cooked fruit without seeds or skin, well-cooked vegetables without seeds and skin, dairy products, eggs, low-fiber cereal, ground or tender meat that is well-cooked, pasta, white bread and white rice can be added back into the diet.
It’s important to note that while certain foods were previously thought to be harmful for those with diverticulitis, more recent research suggests that they may not be. For example, nuts, popcorn, and seeds were once believed to cause flare-ups of diverticulitis but are now considered safe to consume. However, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or a dietitian about what foods to include in your diet.
In general, a high-fiber diet is recommended for those with diverticulitis to help fight constipation and prevent flare-ups. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes. Doctors recommend consuming 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. It’s also important to limit processed and high-fat foods.
During a flare-up of diverticulitis, it’s important to give the bowel time to rest and follow a clear liquid diet before gradually reintroducing low-fiber foods. While oysters themselves may not trigger symptoms of diverticulitis, certain foods commonly paired with oysters such as spicy sauces or dressings should be avoided. It’s always best to consult with your doctor or a dietitian about what foods are safe to consume with diverticulitis.
Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Oysters
Oysters are a highly nutritious food that can offer numerous health benefits. They are low in calories but high in essential nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Oysters are particularly rich in vitamin B12, zinc, copper, selenium, iron, and manganese. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked wild eastern oysters provides more than 100% of the daily value for vitamin B12, zinc, and copper, plus a good amount of selenium, iron, and manganese.
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy brain, and a deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to dementia and mental health symptoms such as depression and suicidal thoughts. Oysters are also a rich source of vitamin D, copper, zinc, and manganese. These micronutrients, along with calcium, are thought to be key to slowing or even preventing bone loss in older women due to osteoporosis.
Oysters are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which play important roles in regulating inflammation, supporting heart and brain health, and protecting against type 2 diabetes. Additionally, oysters are a naturally rich source of selenium. Selenium is a mineral that the body needs in very small quantities to function properly. When consumed at too high a level, selenium is toxic; however, a deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease, infertility, and cognitive decline.
Risks Of Eating Oysters With Diverticulitis
While oysters can be a nutritious and tasty addition to your diet, there are some risks associated with eating them if you have diverticulitis. Oysters can contain Vibrio bacteria, which can cause the illness vibriosis. This is especially true for raw or undercooked oysters.
For people with diverticulitis, consuming foods that can increase the risk of infection should be avoided. This means that raw or undercooked oysters should be completely avoided, as they can contain harmful bacteria that could lead to infection.
It’s important to note that even if an oyster appears to be healthy, it can still contain Vibrio bacteria. This means that you cannot rely on the appearance, smell, or taste of an oyster to determine whether it is safe to eat.
To reduce the risk of infection, it’s important to cook oysters thoroughly before consuming them. Cooking oysters properly can kill Vibrio and other harmful germs they might contain.
In addition to the risk of infection, certain foods that are commonly paired with oysters may need to be avoided by those with diverticulitis. Spicy sauces or dressings, alcohol, and caffeine can all potentially trigger symptoms and should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether.
How To Safely Prepare Oysters For Consumption
If you’re planning to prepare oysters at home, it’s important to follow some basic safety guidelines to avoid any potential health risks. Here are some tips on how to safely prepare oysters for consumption:
1. Start with fresh, live oysters: When purchasing oysters, make sure they are fresh and alive. Look for tightly closed shells that don’t have any cracks or chips. If the shell is open, give it a tap – if it doesn’t close, it’s dead and should be discarded.
2. Clean the oysters: Rinse the oysters under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a scrub brush to gently clean the outside of the shell.
3. Purge the oysters: Some oysters may contain sand or grit inside. To remove this, place the oysters in a bowl of saltwater (1/4 cup of salt per 4 cups of water) for about an hour in the refrigerator. This will help the oysters filter out any sand or grit.
4. Shuck the oysters: Use a clean dish towel and an oyster knife to shuck the oysters. Make sure to follow proper shucking techniques to avoid injury.
5. Cook the oysters: If you plan to cook the oysters, make sure they are thoroughly cooked to kill any bacteria that may be present. Steaming or microwaving for about a minute is a good option.
6. Avoid risky pairings: While oysters themselves may be safe for those with diverticulitis, certain foods that are commonly paired with them may need to be avoided. Spicy sauces or dressings, alcohol, and caffeine can all potentially trigger symptoms.
By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy delicious and nutritious oysters as part of your diet, even if you have diverticulitis.
Other Seafood Options For Diverticulitis Sufferers
If you’re a seafood lover with diverticulitis, there are still plenty of options available to you. When it comes to fish, low FODMAP options like swordfish, tuna, salmon, barramundi, striped bass, and mahi-mahi are all great choices. Flaky fish can be grilled or baked in a foil pouch with FODMAP-friendly ingredients, while shellfish lovers can still enjoy oysters, clams, scallops, and lobsters.
However, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients used when preparing these dishes. Steamers and mussels should omit any garlic or onion, but a can of beer or glass of wine can still be used as a steaming liquid. For those who love fried clams, a breading made of cornmeal is low FODMAP but be sure to check if wheat flour is used. Also, for chowders, omitting onion and garlic and using lactose-free milk or cream can make it low FODMAP.
When preparing seafood dishes, simple seasonings like olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper are great options. Most herbs and spices are also okay to use, but be sure to check the ingredients before using spice blends or rubs as they may contain garlic and onion powder.