In the western world, diverticular disease affects 1 in 10 people over the age of forty and 1 in 3 people over the age of sixty. Some evidence suggests that low fibre diets and other causes of constipation are to blame for this disease. A low fibre diet produces stools of small volume, which are difficult for the bowel to move along the colon. Excessive straining to pass these stools results in high pressure which forces pouches of the bowel lining out through the wall of the gut; these pouches become inflamed and infected causing pain, abdominal swelling, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Diet and lifestyle
A diet rich in soluble and insoluble fibres is recommended, including plenty of vegetables, soaked grains, nuts, ground seeds, oily fish, white meat, beans and pulses. Reducing red meat intake can be beneficial as red meat takes a long time to pass through the digestive tract.
Gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye and at low levels in oats) is best avoided as it can compromise intestinal integrity and contribute towards inflammation.
Bran fibre has not been shown to have a beneficial effect, and may instead be too harsh and dehydrating for the colon. Hot spicy foods, salty foods, tea and coffee should be avoided. A high fluid intake and exercise are also important as these improve circulation and aid bowel movement.
Flaxseed (linseed) tea can be useful for hydrating the colon and softening stools: bring 2tbsp golden linseeds and a litre of water gently to the boil, leave for 12 hours and then simmer for an hour before straining and storing in the fridge. Dilute the mixture with plain warm water and drink 2-3 mugs per day.
Water and magnesium enemas can help to hydrate the bowel and increase bowel tone.
|Krill oil or marine fish oil||500-1000mg krill oil or 2000-4000mg marine fish oil (always take with protein)||Anti-inflammatory and beneficial for the health of the intestinal wall|
|Magnesium citrate||400-600mg daily||To ease muscular contraction and beneficial for the health of the intestinal wall|
|Aloe vera juice||10-50ml daily||Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory actions, supports beneficial gut flora, and assists in establishing and maintaining regular bowel movements|
|Psyllium||Available in capsule form this is an easy way to add fibre to the diet|
|High strength multi-strain probiotics||To help repopulate the bowel with friendly, healthy bacteria|
|Zinc citrate||30-60mg daily||Anti-inflammatory and beneficial for the health of the intestinal wall|
|Vitamin C||1–2 g daily||To help prevent localised infections|
|Ground flaxseeds||1-2 dessertspoons per day||Ground flaxseeds are rich in mucilage and fibres which soothe inflammation and aid stool formation|
Taken from a newsletter from Nutrigold on DIVERTICULITIS dated 9th April 2014