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“Prevention is the best medicine” does this quote ever say it all.  Living in the 21st century has its many wonderful conveniences; however some of these conveniences are not always the healthiest way to go.  Ever since the early 1900’s when processed foods were first introduced cases of diverticulosis & diverticulitis have become more and more common.  Once foods become processed they lose so much of the whole grain and freshness that the fiber levels are tremendously reduced.  Our bodies need those higher levels of fiber to keep the intestinal tract running smooth.  Here are some suggestions to keep your body running smooth and help to avoid any diverticulitis attacks from occurring.

Diverticulitis generally occurs when a small piece of hard dry stool gets itself wedged into a diverticula pouch.  Stool contains more toxins and microorganisms than anything else in our body, thus we call it waste.  Because of this when it becomes stuck in the pouches it will infect the tissue around it causing inflammation and/ or infections.  Your ultimate goal is to keep your stool soft and moving smooth so it can’t get lodged into the pouches and turn into a diverticulitis attack. 

Following these steps really are easier than they seem and it may take a little extra time in the beginning to get adjusted to it.  But once you get yourself into this lifestyle habit you’ll feel physically and mentally better, not to mention your energy level will get a little boost too.

DIET:
This is always the most important one.  Stick to a high fiber diet containing a minimum of 20 -35 grams of fiber a day.  Choose only whole grain products including: breads, tortillas, baked goods, bagels, crackers, cereals, pastas, etc.  Don’t let the word whole grain scare you most whole grain products actually taste better than processed ones, for some of you it will take a little getting used to.  Try to eat only fresh vegetables and fruits, if you have to, go to frozen first and canned last.  Frozen products seem to hold the nutrition levels a bit higher than canned.  Cook or bake fresh wholesome meals and treats, and if you don’t have the time read labels, my general rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce the ingredient I don’t want it going through my body.  Fast food can be mystery food, if you absolutely have to do it try a sandwich shop and get a whole wheat sandwich or a great salad.

Avoid laxative use; it’s not necessarily good for the colon.  If your body needs assistance look into a psyllium seed supplement, or other soluble fiber supplements, sprinkling a little bran or wheat germ on your foods can be helpful. However please don’t use it as a crutch to make up for all the processed food you’re still trying to sneak in, studies are realizing that adding bran in everyday is basically only putting a band aid on the problem and not solving it.

WATER, WATER, WATER,
Need I say anymore?

EXERCISE:
Any form of exercise can do, just get off the couch or take a break from the computer.  A nice stroll after a meal or training for a marathon, either way you are getting your body moving and that includes your insides too.

STRESS RELIEF
More and more studies are actually pointing to stress as an additional culprit in diverticular disease.  Emotional stress can actually increase spasms in the colon which could perhaps add to the formation of diverticuli.  Try to keep your stress under control use deep breathing, yoga, nice walks, etc..  I realize we all have daily stress, if you can’t get yours under control talk to your doctor.

Just following these simple starter steps can and will get you healthier and help in the control of the diverticular disease and the avoidance of diverticular attacks.

 
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