Vegetarian diet helps ward off bowel disorder

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London: Suffering from irregular bowel movements? Turn vegetarian if you want to ward off the disorder, scientists say.

Researchers led by Dr Francesca Crowe at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit of Oxford University found that vegetarians were a third less likely to get diverticular disease — a condition thought to be caused by eating too little fibre.

For their study, the researchers looked at 47,033 British adults, of whom 15,459 were vegetarian.

After an average follow-up of 11.6 years, there were 812 cases of diverticular disease, which causes cramps, wind, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.

After adjusting the factors such as smoking, alcohol and body mass index (BMI), the researchers found vegetarians had a lower risk of diverticular disease compared with meat eaters, the Daily Mail reported.

The reasons, according to the researchers, could be the consumption of meat altering the metabolism of bacteria in the colon, which weakens the colon wall and increases the risk of diverticular disease.

The potential protective benefits of vegetarianism could be obtained even in a short time, the study found.

There also seemed to be a link between eating more fibre and being at lower risk of the disease.

Patients who consumed the most fibre, more than 25.5g per day for women and more than 26.1g for men, had a 42 per cent lower risk than those who ate less than 14g per day.

The new findings were published in the British Medical Journal.

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