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Plant Slant: Boosting Your Health with More Plant-Based Foods

by Kelly Morrow, MS, RND, FAND; IMPEDE Study Dietitian

Bulk food bins at a grocery store

A plant-based diet primarily consists of foods derived from plants, including not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy; rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.


Plant based foods are the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet pattern, will gain you points on your MEDAS scoring tool, and are an excellent choice to support digestion. Eating any of the following will help you add an additional point to your MEDAS each week:


  • Fruits and Vegetables: More than five servings per day (at least 3 medium sized whole fruit servings and 2 vegetable servings of 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked).

  • Nuts and Seeds: Three or more servings per week (1/3 cup nuts or 2 Tbs nut butter).

  • Legumes: Three or more ½ cup (cooked) servings per week.

  • Sofrito (tomato, vegetable and olive oil condiment): 2 servings per week


Why Eat More Plant-Based Foods?

  1. High Fiber Content: Plant based foods are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is important for those with diverticulitis. Fiber helps to soften and add bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass and reducing the pressure inside the digestive tract. This can help prevent the formation of new diverticula and decrease the risk of a flare-up by keeping the bowels moving regularly and smoothly.

  2. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Most plants contain antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is a key component of diverticulitis, so consuming a diet high in these compounds can help reduce the inflammation associated with the condition.

  3. Promotion of Gut Health: Plants contribute to overall gut health not just through fiber, but also by providing a range of nutrients and phytochemicals that support the integrity of the gut barrier and the balance of gut microbiota. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for preventing infection and managing inflammation, both of which are important for those with diverticulitis.


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