Diet can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of diverticulosis. Comparative studies have shown that citizens of the Western world have higher rates of diverticula in the intestine that citizens of the most humble places. Other studies have shown that the incidence of this disease among vegetarians is 30% lower.
Many researchers have linked this superiority with a diet low in fiber. It appears that, in addition to some family predisposition, people who eat little fiber have little amount of peristalsis in the intestines. Peristaltic movements are movements that intestinal muscle exercises to expel the stool. These movements, in addition to expelling the stool, help strengthen the muscles themselves.
People with little movement tend to have problems with constipation but also are more likely to develop intestinal diverticula or herniated bowel muscle weakness caused by lack of training. Weak walls easily transferred to the external pressure produced these bumps. When diverticula are filled internally from faeces, these, by being retained, develop bacteria that cause inflammation in the area, called diverticulitis.
A diet rich in fiber helps prevent constipation and improve bowel motility that promote the prevention of this disease. Moreover, this diet can help clean the waste deposited in the intestine preventing inflammation and infection of the diverticula.
Diets rich in soluble fiber are preferable to those that contain insoluble fibers because the latter inhibits the absorption of minerals such a calcium and magnesium that are necessary for the intestinal muscle strengthening.
Recommended food for diverticulosis
Among all the foods, these are especially recommended:
- Fruits: rich in soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals appropriate to strengthen the intestinal muscle. Many of these are soluble fiber, especially pectin and mucilages which by its special texture, also exert a soothing and protective role of the intestinal mucosa. Among the main fruits, we emphasize apples, carrots, pumpkins, figs, bananas, or pears. Plums are especially interesting to prevent the formation of diverticula, nevertheless we would have to be prudent in their use during times of inflammation because they can excite too much intestinal motility and worsen symptoms.
- Vegetables: They contain components similar to fruit and are very interesting in the diet of people with diverticulosis. Cabbage family members are extremely interesting (brussels sprouts , broccoli, cauliflower, etc.).
- Insoluble Fiber: A diet rich in insoluble fiber such as bran intake may prevent diverticula, although it inhibits the absorption of many minerals and vitamins necessary to strengthen the intestinal muscle. Besides their extensive use may increase the peristaltic movements too much which worsen the symptoms of diverticulitis. We must be cautious in using supplements rich in insoluble fiber when the diverticula are inflamed.
It is more convenient to combine whole grains, more aggressive fibers such as cellulose with other less aggressive and more suitable, such as starch. Whole grains or their derivatives (brown rice, oats, brown bread, wheat, etc.) are more advisable than refined. Potatoes, rich in starch, are highly recommended.
Yogurt: Yogurt is rich in Acidophilus that helps maintain beneficial intestinal flora that can prevent the emergence of other more harmful flora. The routine use of this type of yogurt helps prevent intestinal infections.
- Dried fruits and nuts: they are are suitable for their fiber content, provided they are chewed well so that there is no possibility that a small piece may be housed in a diverticulum.
- Seeds: Some seeds such as sesame or psyllium are well suited for their fiber content, but they must also be chewed very well.
- Legumes: Its use is appropriate in people with not inflamed diverticulosis . We must use this food group with caution in people with diverticulitis, because, although they contain plenty of fiber, they are responsible for flatulence that can worsen the symptoms of this disease.
Non-advised food for diverticulosis
Among the foods that should be avoided we find:
- Red meat: This type of food is usually responsible for many cases of inflammation. Its digestion seems to weaken the bowel muscles, and will also help the development of putrefaction.
- Refined sugar or sugary foods: They have little fiber so they do not favor the peristaltic movements or the strengthening of the intestinal musculature.
- Refined foods: They are poor in fiber, so they can cause of low intestinal motility and may promote the development of diverticula or diverticulitis. Therefore, avoid foods such as cakes, ice cream, cookies and be cautious in the intake of white bread, white rice, etc.
- Exciting drinks: Coffee, chocolate and fizzy drinks are irritating for the bowel and should not be taken, although wine can be sparingly consumed. Caffeine and theobromine, very abundant in the previous foods and drinks,, besides getting the extra intestinal muscles, have the ability to remove water from the stool and contribute to constipation. Decaffeinated coffee may be taken, although it is better to dispense of it when possible.
More information on diverticulosis and its natural treatment the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.