You Wanted To Know: Seeds and Diverticuolosis

The Wonderful Colon

A while back, I shared the 3-day detox cleanse, which can help restore your GI system and reset your body. I was asked many questions on Twitter regarding this cleanse, including this interesting one from @janharris229:


While you can try to avoid or strain away the seeds, you may not need to if you have diverticulosis.

Diverticulosis, also known as diverticular disease, is a very common GI disorder that leads to outpouching of the colon. It’s like having potholes in your colon. It’s very common in older individuals: At least one-third of the US population will develop diverticulosis by the time they turn 60; two-thirds will develop it by the time they are 85.

Those potholes pose a problem because they risk getting clogged, infected, injured or inflamed, leading to a potentially deadly diverticulitis episode (“-itis” this time, not “-osis”), which sometimes requires hospitalization and/or antibiotics. To avoid this, doctors used to tell patients to avoid seeds, nuts or popcorn because they risk getting clogged in one of the potholes, causing irritation.

However, it turns out that this is just an old wives’ tale. To prove it wrong, one group of researchers followed over 47,000 men between the ages of 40 and 75 for 18 years. They assessed how much nuts, corn or popcorn they ate and found no correlation between that and the number of diverticulitis episodes. In fact, they found that the men who ate more nuts and popcorn actually had fewer diverticulitis complications.

If you already have diverticulosis, a good way to prevent diverticulitis is to eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Multiple studies suggest that a diet high in fiber is associated with a lower risk of developing diverticular disease. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, the positive benefits of a high fiber diet are obvious! A recent observational study found that individuals who consumed a great amount of fiber actually lived longer. Take Andrew Weil’s fiber shopping list to the grocery store and stock up on fiber for a healthier colon!