How will fiber help me prevent diverticulosis?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Diverticulitis is a common age-related disorder that is characterized by inflammation of the large intestine, causing symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. The Harvard School of Public Health says that a large study demonstrated that increased dietary fiber intake was associated with a 40 percent risk reduction of diverticular disease in aging men. The Institute of Medicine concludes that several other studies suggest increased dietary fiber intake protects against diverticulitis and also ulcers in the small intestine.

Dietary fiber can’t be digested and so it combines with water in your intestines to create large, soft stools that pass easily through your bowels. A high-fiber diet can lessen or prevent the abdominal pain, cramping or tenderness that sometimes occurs when you have to strain to pass hard, constipated stools. Eating a high-fiber diet is helps prevent development of pouches (diverticula) in the colon. The bulky, soft stools that happen with a high-fiber diet move easily through your intestines because of a wave-like motion known as peristalsis. Since you don't need to bear down forcefully to expel these stools, the pressure inside the diverticula stays low. This normal bowel function reduces the chance of inflammation or secondary infection in the diverticula, and helps you avoid painful bouts of diverticulitis.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Many adults suffer from diverticulosis, a serious condition that can cause bloating, constipation, gas -- and much worse. In this video, Dr. Oz discusses the critical food that can prevent this problem.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.