– Diverticulitis is an extremely unpleasant digestive disease. Now those diagnosed will know
it’s worth taking measures to avoid any future episodes, unfortunately, one in five will experience another flare-up within five years. In this video I’m looking at
what diet changes may help, as well as some myths about
common foods to avoid. (tinkling chimes) Just to clarify, diverticulosis, refers to having diverticula,
which are the small pockets that form in your large intestine, that have not yet become
infected and painful. Now diverticulitis, occurs
when those diverticula become inflamed and infected. So diverticulosis will always
occur before diverticulitis, and together, these two conditions are known as diverticular disease. Unfortunately the risk of
diverticulosis increases as we grow older, to about 70%
of people aged 80 and above. Fortunately, it only
progresses to diverticulitis, the inflamed version,
about 4% of the time. With regards to diet, the
first thing I want to look at is probiotics, which
are bacteria that we eat specifically for health benefits. Studies show a variety of
different probiotic strains are effective in reducing
symptoms of diverticulitis. Particularly those of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus paracasei, and this was seen in tandem
with a high-fiber diet. Probiotics have also been
successfully combined with the anti-inflammatory drug Mesalamine to help reduce acute
symptoms of diverticulitis. However, it’s uncertain if probiotics reduce the risk of recurrence. The best food sources of
probiotics are fermented foods like yogurt, quark, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh, et cetera. Probiotic supplements
are also a great option, but the recommended dosages
have yet to be determined. Now I mentioned just before
that the benefits of probiotics were seen in tandem
with a high-fiber diet, and it seems that the
more fiber, the better. One observational study found
those who ate 25 grams or more of fiber per day, had a 41% lower risk of being hospitalized for diverticulitis, compared to those who ate
less than 14 grams per day. Another study that followed
more than 690,000 women without diverticular disease, found that each additional
five grams of fiber per day, was associated with a 15% reduction in risk of diverticulitis. Now considering that fiber has numerous other-known benefits for health, particularly in maintaining
healthy gut bacteria, it makes sense to recommend
a high-fiber diet. Unfortunately these days
most people only eat about half of the recommended amounts, women should aim for
about 25 grams per day, while men should be eating
upwards of 38 grams per day, so basically it means eat more
vegetables and more legumes. OK, so let’s move on to some common rumors surrounding diverticulitis and diet, and the first one is that you should avoid nuts and seeds and corn and popcorn. For years we’ve been taught these foods can literally get stuck
in the diverticula, causing irritation and
eventually diverticulitis, but this theory has never been proven and research actually shows no link. This large study in 47,228
men found no associations with nut, corn, or popcorn consumption, and diverticulitis after
18 years of follow-up. If anything, these foods are
more likely to be protective of diverticulitis because
they tend to be high in fiber. The next rumor or myth that
I want to address is the idea that red meat increases
your diverticulitis risk. The idea is unproven, and was formed on the back
of observational studies that found vegetarians
were much less likely to develop diverticular disease
than the average person. But the reason vegetarian and
vegan diets are advantageous is because they’re almost
always higher in fiber than the typical Western diet. Additionally, non-meat
eaters tend to be more health-conscious than the average person. So it’s considerably more likely the real benefits lie
in eating more fiber, rather than cutting meat or animal foods. In other words, just
ensure your eating pattern encourages you to eat more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other high-fiber foods. Lastly I just want to mention vitamin D, which is kind of diet-related, but, we actually get most of it from the sun. Now low vitamin D levels
are strongly linked with increased risk of diverticulitis, so you should definitely get that screened at your doctor in a routine checkup, and supplement and correct
that deficiency if necessary. Thanks for watching, if you
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button below this video. (vibrant rock music)