Healthy Living

Click on the diets below for more information:

High Fiber Diet

A high-fiber diet helps to normalize the digestive process, avoiding unpleasant conditions such as constipation and diarrhea. This can be achieved by making some minor diet adjustments, such as: consuming more than 20g of fiber per day, and eating plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber supplements also work to help meet the daily fiber requirements.

Diverticular Diet

Diverticulosis is a condition in which small, bulging pouches (diverticuli) form inside the lower part of the intestine, usually in the colon. Constipation and straining during bowel movements can worsen the condition. A diet rich in fiber can help keep stools soft and prevent inflammation.

Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches in the colon become infected or inflamed. Dietary changes can help the colon heal. Once your condition starts improving, start adding low-fiber foods back into your diet. These include canned fruits, eggs, white breads, rice and pasta, low-fiber cereals, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish and cooked vegetables. Stay on this low-fiber diet until you are completely healed.

Increase your fiber intake once your condition has healed. A high-fiber diet softens and gives bulk to the stool, allowing it to pass quickly and easily. This decreases pressure in the digestive tract, which reduces the risk of inflamed diverticula.

High-fiber foods include brown rice, fruits, lentils, beans, whole-grain breads and cereals and vegetables. If you find it difficult to meet your fiber requirements through diet, consider supplements like Metamucil or Cirtucel. Drink plenty of water. Fiber absorbs water from the intestines, which helps give stool its bulk. Too much fiber and too little water can lead to constipation. A woman should consume at least 25g a day; a man 38g.

Constipation Diet

Some people may have a bowel movement more than once a day while others may have one every 2 to 3 days. Normal stools should not be painful or difficult to pass. Constipation is defined as bowel movements that are infrequent, hard or difficult to pass. Constipation may be a chronic (long-term) problem or occur occasionally. It may result from medications, a medical condition, not enough activity, or a diet too low in fiber or fluid. If you are using medications that have made you constipated, you may need to limit your use of high fiber foods, as they can make your constipation worse.

If you are not using medications that cause constipation, try using high fiber foods to help soften your stool and increase the fiber in your diet. The most common causes of constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese, eggs, and meats.

Diets that are low in fiber or high in fat are thought to be constipating:
  • Bananas 
  • Cheese 
  • Yogurt 
  • Ice cream 
  • Milk 
  • Cooked carrots 
  • French fries 
  • Fried foods 
  • Processed foods
  • White rice
A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is very effective in treating and preventing constipation. Adequate water intake and excercise are crucial. It is important to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluid a day. Exercise helps stools move through the intestines. A healthy diet and adequate activity is especially important for the elderly, for whom constipation is very common.

Foods and drinks that are thought to be important in a constipation diet are:
  • Beans
  • Raisins 
  • Prunes 
  • Figs 
  • Raw vegetables 
  • Fresh fruit with high water content like watermelon and honeydew 
  • Fresh fruit with skin on them like grapes, peaches and apples 
  • Whole grain foods like bread
  • Popcorn 
  • Fiber wafers 
  • Bran cereals 
  • Bran muffins

The National Cancer Institute recommends between 20-30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber adds bulk and texture to food as it passes through the body, keeping your system regular. Because of this, many doctors recommend fiber for the treatment or prevention of some digestive tract problems, like hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and even rectal cancer. Fiber regulates naturally by adding bulk to the diet. Unlike stimulant laxatives, bulk fiber supplements are not habit forming.

GERD Diet

For patients who need a diet for acid reflux or who want an acid reflux disease diet that will not hurt them, consider these foods, known to be a good option for most people.
  • Consider non-acid fruits including bananas and apples.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables including carrots, beans, baked potatoes, cabbage and broccoli, all known to be safe GERD diet foods.
  • You can also eat most meats such as chicken breast, lean ground beef, and London broil steak. Fish is particularly a good option.
  • Some cheese seem to be good GERD diet foods including cream cheese, feta or goat cheese and soy based cheeses.
  • Grains are always a good option as is water for drinks.
  • Look for all of your GERD diet to be low fat for the best results.
Here are some of the most common foods that trigger GERD pain and illness.
  • In fruits, juices in particular, you will find acid like foods to be a problem such as tomato and tomato juice, lemons and lemonade, grapefruit, orange and cranberry.
  • For vegetables, avoid French fries, raw onions and sometimes mashed potatoes.
  • Some meats can be painful for gerd sufferers, too, especially buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, ground chuck and marbled sirloin.
  • Be very careful with liquor and wines, coffee, tea and dairy products, all known to cause problems for the GERD patient.
Additional tips:
  1. Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
  2. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux. 
  3. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks. 
  4. Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
  5. Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed. 
  6. Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux. 
  7. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.

Food Groups

Group Recommend  Avoid 
Milk or milk products  Skim, 1% or 2% low-fat milk; low-fat or fat-free yogurt  Whole milk (4%), chocolate milk 
Vegetables  All other vegetables  Fried or cream-style vegetables*, tomatoes 
Fruits  Apples, berries, melons, bananas, peaches, pears  Citrus* such as oranges, grapefruit, pineapple 
Bread & Grains  All those made with low-fat content  Any prepared with whole milk or high-fat ingredients 
Fats & Oils  None or in small amounts  All animal or vegetable oils 
Sweets & Desserts  All items made with no or low-fat (less than or equal to 3g fat/serving)  Chocolate, desserts made with oils or fats 
Beverages  Decaffeinated, non-mint herbal tea; juices (except citrus); water  Alcohol, coffee (regular or decaffeinated), carbonated beverages, tea, mint tea 
Soups  Fat-free or low-fat based  Chicken, beef, milk or cream-based soups 

*Individually determined