Ask the NUTritionist
Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D. co-author of "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!" answers questions about diets, health and pecans.
Q: My doctor says I have diverticulosis; do I have to stop eating pecans?
A: No. There’s no evidence that Georgia pecans or any other nut, for that matter, aggravates diverticulosis.
Diverticulosis is a condition of the large intestine in which small pouches called diverticula develop in the wall of the intestinal tract. When these pouches become inflamed and infected, it’s called diverticulitis.
The main symptom is pain in the lower abdomen, but, cramping, constipation and fever can also result. For years, experts believed that eating any food with seeds, like tomatoes or strawberries, or hard foods like nuts, would result in them getting lodged in the diverticula, irritating the intestinal lining and causing an infection.
However, there is no evidence that eating nuts and seeds actually causes this to happen.
In fact, experts now recommend that people with diverticulosis eat high-fiber diets, which should include seeds and nuts, like Georgia pecans, to prevent diverticulitis from developing.
However, everyone is different. If you find that eating nuts while you have active diverticulitis is problematic, avoid them during that time. Otherwise, make nuts, including Georgia pecans, a regular part of your healthy diet and chew them well to minimize the already slight chance they might cause problems.