Have you ever heard of diverticulitis? It’s a condition (usually in the large intestine) in which balloon like bulges called diverticula rupture in the walls of the intestine. The weakest part of the intestinal wall is where the blood vessels pass through the outer surface of the muscular wall into the inner surface of the intestine. This occurs because of a diet consisting of too much animal and processed food (no fiber) and not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans (high fiber). It is estimated that half the people who have eaten the typical American diet for over 50 years have diverticular disease. That’s unfortunate.
Most people don’t have any symptoms. However, having those little balloons is a problem waiting to happen. When waste (feces) becomes trapped in the little diverticula symptoms can occur such as bloating, cramping and bleeding. That sounds terrible! This can lead to some unpleasant consequences as you might guess. Pain medications and antibiotics are prescribed but consuming a whole food, plant based diet is the easiest and best way to prevent the symptoms from recurring and keep them from happening in the first place. People are often told to stop eating nuts and seeds and anything that contains small seeds like some berries but there is no evidence to support this.
Researchers with the EPIC Study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) reported last year that “Consuming a vegetarian diet and a high intake of dietary fiber were both associated with a lower risk of admission to hospital or death from diverticular disease.” Subjects consuming more than 25 grams of fiber daily had a lower risk than those consuming less than 10 grams per day of fiber. That’s pretty interesting. Eating the foods that you have learned about in our Six Sessions not only help you lose weight, increase your energy, help you to think better but it also gives you lots of fiber… you can easily reach up to 45 grams a day. Oh, this is good news! We want to keep things moving along and not get stuck in little balloons along our intestine. Now there’s a good reason to choose those fiber rich beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.