The reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables and eschew meat is just mounting, folks. Not only can a vegetarian diet improve your mood, decrease your risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases, but now it seems that fruits and veggies, especially the highest fiber ones, are important in preventing a common digestive disease called diverticulitis. In a recent study, those with a high-fiber diet were found to have 40 percent less incidence of diverticular disease.
This study was a prospective study looking at the incidence of diverticular disease in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. The vegetarians were roughly 30 percent as likely to develop diverticular disease. When looking at the study population by fiber intake, those with the highest fiber intake (more than 25g/day) were 41 percent less likely to develop diverticular disease than those with the lowest fiber intake (less than 14g/day). The highest fiber group also happened to be vegetarians.
So what is diverticular disease? Diverticular disease is characterized by pockets that form in the intestine, or diverticula. When one develops these pouches they have diverticulosis, when the pouches get infected, you have diverticulitis; which can cause fever, chills, abdominal pain and possibly death. The cause is not known but one strong hypothesis is that it is caused by a low fiber diet. A low fiber diet increases intestinal transit time, meaning that fecal matter is “stuck” in the intestines for a longer periods…making the chances that diverticula formation more likely. And what is the fastest road to a low fiber diet? A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
To beef up the fiber content of your diet try incorporating the following high fiber foods: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans, potatoes, bananas, fiber cereals and breads, and nuts.