Today, diverticulosis is the most common gut disorder in the United States. This disease affects more than half of people over the age of 60 in industrialized nations. But a hundred years ago, it wasn’t even mentioned in medical and surgical textbooks.
What is diverticulosis?
Diverticula are small pouches or pockets in the wall or lining of any part of your digestive tract. These pockets are irreversible, and occur when the layer of the digestive tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer.
If the pockets become inflamed or infected, it’s called diverticulosis. When this happens, people may have abdominal pain, usually on the left side. Other symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation. Most people will experience few or no symptoms, yet complications can be life-threatening.
So is diverticulosis an inevitable consequence of aging?
In populations that eat whole food, plant-based diets, diverticular disease is almost nonexistent.
For more insight, watch this video by our Food Revolution Summit speaker Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org:
Then, you can watch his follow-up video, which explains the flaw in the study that found no relationship between dietary fiber intake and diverticulosis.
What can you do to prevent this common gut disorder?
If you want to reduce your risk of this unpleasant and unnecessary condition, choose to eat a diet high in fiber.
Where can you find fiber? In plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Also, if you have diverticulosis, a high-fiber diet can be an effective treatment.
But as Dr. Greger says: “It only works if you do it.”