Natural Pure Organics

Mixed NutsDon't Let Diverticulitis Drive You Nuts

With the stress of today's fast-paced lifestyles, many people resort to eating quick and convenient meals on the run. These meals may be from fast-food or even from 5-star restaurants. They may even be "home made" meals that were conveniently opened from a box or can and popped in the microwave.

Often, these meals are marketed as nutritious. Words such as low-fat, fat-free, low-calorie, no trans fats, all natural, no MSG and others trick people into thinking that they are making healthy choices for their bodies. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.

Most people do not read ingredient labels. They are more apt to read things such as calorie content, fat content, or sodium content.

Although quick and convenient meals taste delicious, they can play havoc with your long-term health. For many people the repercussions come in the form of a diagnosis of diverticulitis.

What Is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is a condition which occurs when pouches form and bulge out of the walls of the large intestine. When these pouches become inflamed, the condition is referred to as diverticulitis.

Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Symptoms of diverticulitis may include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or a change in bowel habits. The pain may be sudden and severe, or it may come on slowly and become worse over several days.

Possible complications of diverticulitis include infections, abscesses (pus pockets), perforations (tears in the intestinal wall), fistulas, and intestinal obstruction by scar tissue.

Causes of Diverticulitis

In addition to diet, other factors in the development of diverticulosis include chronic dehydration, straining during bowel movements, poorly managed stress levels, and a lack of exercise.

Chronic dehydration and/or a diet of processed food makes constipation more likely, which consequently leads to straining during bowel movements. Straining during bowel movements increase the pressure against the walls of the intestine which can lead to the development of bulging pouches. Chances of dehydration may be increased when diuretics (caffeine, alcohol, some medications) are regularly consumed.

Poorly managed stress levels interfere with proper digestion by increasing adrenaline levels. When your body is in the "fight or flight" mode, blood is diverted away from your digestive tract and towards your extremities. This is not optimal for proper digestion of food.

Prevention of Diverticulitis

According to a recent study, it is probable that probiotics may be the future best treatment for mild-to-moderate uncomplicated attacks of acute diverticulitis1.

Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, is associated with a lower risk of diverticulitis. On the other hand, omega 6 fatty acids, which are commonly found in meat and dairy products are pro-inflammatory. When Omega 6 fatty acids comprise a significant percentage of your daily fat intake, they increase your risk of inflammatory conditions, including diverticulitis.

Prevent Diverticulits Symptoms For Good

  • Eat plenty of fresh, raw, whole fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of processed foods
  • Take probiotics
  • Explore options to manage your stress levels
  • Increase intake of Omega 3s (fish oil and fresh ground flaxseeds (aka linseeds)
  • Drink adequate amounts of water for proper hydration
  • Do not strain during bowel movements
  • Exercise regularly

Great News

Some people believe that once diagnosed, they can no longer eat nuts, seeds, or popcorn for fear that they will become trapped in one of the pouches and cause a flare-up of symptoms. However, no scientific data supports this treatment measure2,3. The seeds in tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and berries, as well as poppy seeds are also generally considered harmless. In fact, a study at Harvard School of Public Health found that frequent consumption of nuts and popcorn actually decreased the risk of diverticulitis. This is great news since all of the above-mentioned foods are extremely nutritious.


References:
1. Tursi A. Acute diverticulitis of the colon - current medical therapeutic management. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2004 January;5(1):55-59.
2. Strate L, Liu Y, et. al. Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease. JAMA. 2008 August;300(8)907-914.
3. Schechter S, Mulvey J, et. al. Management of uncomplicated acute diverticulitis. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 1999 April;42(4):470-


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