Now a study out of Britain theorizes that vegetarians have a reduced risk of developing diverticular disease. The disease is usually described as small pouches in the colon that bulge outward through weak spots, and the condition doesn’t necessarily cause discomfort.
But when the pouches, or diverticula, become infected or inflamed, that’s diverticulitis, which can be quite painful and can progress to bleeding, tears, infections, blockages and other serious problems.
The recent Oxford University study, which was published online by the British Medical Journal on July 19, 2011, included data from 47,033 men and women living in England and Scotland, 33 percent of whom reported themselves as being vegetarians. The researchers had measured their dietary fiber intake, then looked at records of hospital admissions and deaths from diverticular disease.
The study lasted more than a decade, and came up with 812 cases of diverticular disease (806 hospital admissions and six deaths).