Diet for Diverticular Disease Can Include Seeds

Article excerpt

Dear readers: You are sending me lots of great questions. But even though I write six columns a week, I cant answer them all.

Sometimes my answers prompt you to send additional questions and comments. Sometimes your comments take issue with something Ive said. Periodically, Ill devote the column to the questions and comments youve sent me.

* Seeds, corn, nuts and diverticular disease: In a recent column I recommended a high-fiber diet for diverticular disease. Among the good sources of fiber I recommended were seeds, corn, nuts and popcorn. Several readers who have diverticular disease wrote me that their doctors had told them to avoid these foods.

Their doctors were taught the same thing I was: Seeds, corn, nuts and popcorn were bad for people with diverticular disease. In this disease, small balloon-like pouches push out from the wall of the large intestine. These little pouches can bleed or become infected, inflamed and painful. The theory behind the dietary advice was that a small and hard-to-digest piece of food like a kernel of corn, or a piece of a nut or popcorn could get stuck in the neck of the pouch. That, in turn, could cause the pouch to become infected and inflamed.

It was a reasonable theory, and in the absence of evidence against it, I thought it probably was true. Like your doctors, for many years I told my patients with diverticular disease to avoid these sources of fiber.

However, a major study based here at Harvard called the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found no link between these foods in the diet and flare-ups of diverticular disease. …