Diet and Appendicitis

Diet and Appendicitis

Diet as a Cause of Appendicitis

Diet plays an important role in the onset of appendicitis, that feared inflammatory process that affects a small diverticulum, called the vermiform appendix, located in the initial tract of the large intestine.

On this website it is customary to dispense information and advice relating to the relationship between diet and health.

Often, it is at least a complicated relationship, where there is a lack of confirmed scientific evidence on a large scale, and there is only timid evidence, which is why we tend to generalize by repeating the general rules of a healthy and balanced diet.

Speaking specifically of appendicitis, we know that the disease is extremely rare among the indigenous peoples of tropical Africa, while it is much more common in the African-American population of the United States. Since it cannot be linked to genetic differences, this phenomenon can be explained on the basis of lifestyle and environmental differences.

In this regard, it is now established as an axiom that:

an adequate dietary intake of fiber and an eating style based on sobriety and moderation of energy intake (getting up from the table with a little hunger), helps to prevent many of the main diseases of well-being that afflict Western countries, including 'appendicitis.

Food risk factors

The greater frequency of episodes of appendicitis in Western countries therefore seems to be related - at least in part - to a generally refined and waste-free diet.

Added to this is the lack of physical activity and the tendency to maintain a static position, such as sitting, for many hours a week.

From Constipation to Appendicitis

These habits tend to slow down the motility of the colon, increasing the retention time of the stool in the intestine and with it the amount of water reabsorbed by the fecal mass.

The stools, therefore, become harder, more compact and difficult to evacuate.

When fecal material accumulates in the vermiform appendix, compacting to the point of causing local obstruction (fecaloma → inorganic salt deposit → coprolyte), the diverticulum is very likely to become inflamed. The local accumulation of mucus and exudate contributes to dilating the walls of the appendix, compressing, therefore occluding, the lymphatic and blood vessels that flow inside it; the lack of blood, together with the lymphatic stasis, favors the proliferation of germs inside the inflamed appendix, causing local necrosis up to the rupture of the same with consequent peritonitis (very fearful complication because it is potentially lethal).

Diet and prevention of appendicitis

With a view to a healthy and thoughtful prevention of appendicitis and other important intestinal diseases (diverticulosis, diverticulitis, colon cancer, chronic constipation, haemorrhoids, colon polyposis), it is advisable to take advantage of the rules drawn up by INRAN in this regard. to the guidelines for a healthy diet in your country, with particular reference to the intake of liquids and fibers, but also to the practice of basic physical activity.

If you have constipation, our diet tips to combat constipation can be helpful.

Check your weight and stay active at all times:

  • Your weight also depends on you. Weigh yourself at least once a month by checking that your BMI is within normal limits.
  • If your weight is outside normal limits, gradually bring it back within those limits
  • In case of obesity or overweight consult the nutritionist or dietician, reduce the energy "income" by eating smaller portions, always preferring low calorie foods that satiate more, such as vegetables and fruit, increase the energy "outputs" by carrying out a greater physical activity and appropriately distribute nutrition throughout the day starting with breakfast, which must not be neglected.
  • In case of underweight consult the nutritionist and in any case maintain the right level of physical activity and a varied and balanced diet, consuming all meals at the usual times.
  • Get used to moving more every day: walk, go up and down stairs, do small housework, etc.
  • Avoid unbalanced or very drastic "do it yourself" diets, which can be harmful to your health. A good weight loss diet should always include all foods in as balanced a way as possible.

Eat more grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits:

  • Consume more portions of vegetables and fresh fruit every day, and increase the consumption of both fresh and dried legumes, always taking care to limit the additions of oils and fats, which should eventually be replaced with aromas and spices.
  • Consume bread, pasta, rice and other grains regularly (preferably wholemeal), avoiding adding too many fatty seasonings.
  • When you can, choose products made from wholemeal flours and not with the simple addition of bran or other fibers (read the labels).
  • To put these tips into practice, refer to the portions indicated in guideline number 8 “Vary your choices at the table often”.

Fats: choose the quality and limit the quantity:

  • Moderate the amount of fats and oils you use for seasoning and cooking. If necessary, use non-stick pans, foil cooking, microwave oven, steam cooking, etc.
  • Limit the consumption of seasoning fats of animal origin (butter, lard, lard, cream, etc.).
  • Prefer seasoning fats of vegetable origin: especially extra virgin olive oil and seed oils.
  • Use seasoning fats preferably raw and avoid reusing cooked fats and oils.
  • Do not exceed in the consumption of fried foods.
  • Eat fish more often, both fresh and frozen (2 - 3 times a week).
  • For meats, prefer lean ones and eliminate visible fat
  • If you like eggs, you can eat up to 2 per week, spread over the various days.
  • If you consume a lot of milk, preferably choose skim or semi-skimmed milk, which still maintains its calcium content.
  • All cheeses contain high amounts of fat: choose the leaner ones anyway, or eat smaller portions.
  • If you want to check what and how much fats are contained in foods, read the labels.

Sugars, sweets and sugary drinks: within the right limits:

  • Moderate your consumption of sweet foods and drinks throughout the day, so as not to exceed the amount of sugar allowed.
  • Among the desserts, you prefer traditional baked goods from your country, which contain less fat and sugar and more starch, such as biscuits, non-stuffed cakes, etc.
  • Use sweet products to spread on bread or rusks in controlled quantities (such as jams, fruit jams, honey and creams).
  • Limit the consumption of products that contain a lot of sucrose, and especially those that stick to the teeth, such as soft candies, nougats, etc. However, brush your teeth after consuming them.
  • If you want to consume low-calorie sweet foods and beverages sweeteners with substitute sweeteners, read on the label the type of sweetener used and the warnings to follow.

Drink plenty of water every day:

  • Always indulge the sense of thirst and indeed try to anticipate it, drinking enough on average 1,5 to 2 liters of water a day. Also remember that children are more at risk of dehydration than adults.
  • Drink frequently and in small amounts. Drink slowly, especially if the water is cold: in fact, a sudden drop in the temperature of the stomach can create the conditions for dangerous congestion.
  • Older people need to get used to drinking frequently throughout the day, during and outside meals, even when they don't feel thirsty.
  • The water balance must be essentially maintained both with that of the tap and that bottled, both of which are safe and controlled. Remember that different drinks (such as orange soda, cola-like drinks, fruit juices, coffee, tea) as well as supplying water also carry other substances that contain calories (for example simple sugars) or which are pharmacologically active (for example caffeine). These drinks should be used in moderation.
  • It is wrong to avoid drinking for fear of sweating excessively (sweating is essential for regulating body temperature) or gaining weight (water does not provide calories).
  • During and after physical activity, drink to promptly and promptly replenish the losses due to sweating, mainly using water.
  • In certain pathological conditions that cause a greater loss of water (for example febrile states or repeated episodes of diarrhea), the lost water must be adequately and promptly replenished.

Salt? Better a little

  • Progressively reduce the use of salt, both at the table and in the kitchen.
  • Prefer salt enriched with iodine (iodized salt) to common salt.
  • Do not add salt to baby food, at least for the entire first year of life.
  • Limit the use of alternative sodium-containing condiments (bouillon cube, ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, etc.)
  • Flavors foods with aromatic herbs (such as garlic, onion, basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, mint, oregano, marjoram, celery, leek, thyme, fennel seeds) and spices (such as pepper, chilli, nutmeg, saffron, curry ).
  • Enhance the flavor of foods by using lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Choose low-salt product lines (unsalted bread, canned and low-salt tuna, etc.) when available.
  • Only occasionally consume processed foods rich in salt (snacks, potato chips, table olives, some cured meats, and cheeses).
  • In moderate sporting activity, it replenishes the liquids lost through sweating with simple water.

Alcoholic beverages: if yes, only in controlled quantities.

  • if you wish to consume alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation, during meals according to your country's tradition or in any case immediately before or after eating.
  • Of all alcoholic beverages, give preference to those of low alcohol content (wine, beer)
  • Avoid alcohol intake altogether during childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding, reduce it if you are elderly.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages if you have to drive a car or use equipment that is delicate or dangerous to yourself or others.
  • If you are on any medications (including many non-prescription medications), avoid or reduce alcohol consumption unless you have obtained explicit permission from your doctor.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages if you are overweight or obese or if you have a family history of diabetes, obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, etc.

Vary your choices at the table often

  • Choose adequate quantities (portions) of foods belonging to all the different groups, alternating them in the various meals of the day.

Other articles on 'Diet and Appendicitis'

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  2. Appendicitis
  3. Treatment and care Appendicitis
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