London: A vegetarian diet seems to stave off common bowel disorder, characterised by cramps, gas, feeling of fulness, bouts of constipation or diarrhoea, say researchers.
The disorder, known as diverticular disease, can attack suddenly. It causes intestinal bleeding, serious infections, blockage in the digestive system and can rupture the colon, which empties stools into the abdomen.
Previous research has blamed low fibre diet for diverticular disease but there was little evidence to substantiate this, the bmj.com reports.
Francesca Crowe and team from the Cancer Epidemiology unit at the University of Oxford examined the link between a vegetarian diet and fibre intake with the risk of diverticular disease, according to an Oxford statement.
Their findings are based on 47,033 British adults who were taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study. Of those recruited, 15,459 reported consuming a vegetarian diet.
After an average follow-up time of 11.6 years, there were 812 cases of diverticular disease (806 admissions to hospital and six deaths).
After adjusting the factors such as smoking, alcohol and body mass index (BMI), vegetarians had a lower risk of diverticular disease compared with meat eaters.
Furthermore, participants with a relatively high intake of dietary fibre (around 25g a day) had a lower risk of being admitted to hospital with or dying from diverticular disease, compared with those who consumed less than 14g of fibre a day.