Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable, irritating, and oftentimes painful so finding a way to do away with its symptoms can be a major cause of relief. Flare-ups of hemorrhoids symptoms can be triggered by eating certain foods and you can also reduce them by eating other food types. This article will tackle which foods improve the symptoms of hemorrhoids; foods to avoid that make them worse as well how you can prevent hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids - What Foods to Avoid
The main reason why people get hemorrhoids is straining in the toilet which is a result of constipation. Eating foods low in fiber is what leads to constipation, consequently making hemorrhoids develop or exacerbating the symptoms. Health experts recommend that you eat at least 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories that you take in. If the nutrition facts list on the packaging of food is less than this, you should avoid it.
The foods that have low fiber that you should avoid include:
- Dairy products – These include foods like cheese, ice cream, and milk.
- Processed and red meats – Not only are they low in fiber content and high in sodium, but they also take longer to digest so they make constipation worse.
- Refined flour – When flour is refined, the components that have fiber like bran and germ are eliminated. Foods made with this flour include pasta, noodles, bread, and bagels.
- Salty foods – They make you become bloated and your hemorrhoids more sensitive.
- Processed foods like hot dogs, pizzas, sandwich, meats, or frozen foods.
- Fried foods like fries which are hard for the digestive tract to digest.
Other foods that may not necessarily have low fiber but nonetheless make hemorrhoids worse include:
- Caffeinated beverages – These are like coffee and tea which harden your stool so you strain more while moving your bowels.
- Spicy foods – Like salty foods, spicy foods make hemorrhoids sensitive so you feel pain and discomfort while using the toilet.
- Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages drain the moisture from the stool and hardens it so passing it becomes strained and painful.
Hemorrhoids – What Foods to Eat
Your diet should include foods that make your stool softer so that you don’t have to struggle in the toilet and trigger hemorrhoids flare-ups. This includes foods rich in fiber and fluids. Fiber exists in two types; soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves to become a gel-like substance so it softens stools while insoluble fiber, often called roughage, doesn’t dissolve but adds bulk to your stool so it facilitates movement. Fluids, on the other, hand, soften stool to make it easier to pass.
The foods that you should embrace to treat your hemorrhoids include:
Whole grains have their endosperm, bran, and germ intact so they contain a lot of fiber. Their fiber is insoluble so it reduces the pain and discomfort of passing stool associated with hemorrhoids. Whole grains that you should include in your diet are barley, brown rice, corn, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, oats, and whole rye.
Legumes contain both types of fiber but especially the soluble one. Legumes include beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts. Eating these will soften and add bulk to your stool so it prevents and relieves hemorrhoids.
Root vegetables which include carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, and beets are a rich source of fiber. This fiber is mostly found on their skin so boil, roast, sauté, or steam them with their skin on to get the most out of them. The fiber is also very healthy for your gut because gut-friendly bacteria feed on it.
Cruciferous vegetables are like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, radishes, turnips, and arugula. They are a good source of insoluble fiber so they add bulk to your stool to ease hemorrhoids or altogether prevent them. Additionally, they have anti-cancerous benefits so you’ll be better off eating them in plenty.
Squash not only adds color to your food but also has plenty of fiber. The types of squash you can eat to give you fiber include acorn squash, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, and butternut squash. Whatever way you cook it, it will help digestion and excretion move along smoothly.
Artichokes have high fiber content even when you eat them in small amounts. It also has soluble fiber, inulin that promotes the increase of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Fruits like melons, pears, bananas, raspberries, apples, and prunes are packed rich in fiber and water. They will, therefore, soften stool and add bulk to it so it’s easier to move your bowels.
Fluids soften stool and reduce the discomfort of straining while passing stool. Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily and you’ll be good to go. You can also drink other fluids with low or no sugar and salt occasionally.
Dietary and Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Hemorrhoids
Apart from including plenty of fiber and fluids in your diet, here are some tips you can follow to avoid getting hemorrhoids or prevent them from recurring after treatment:
- Avoid sitting in the toilet for too long because it stretches your rectum and anal muscles so the veins in these areas may swell
- Regularly exercise to improve bowel function. It also prevents you from becoming overweight which is a cause of hemorrhoids
- Detox every once in a while so that hydration and digestion in the body is in balance. You can do this by taking probiotics that encourage increase of healthy bacteria in your gut. These bacteria clean your digestive tract.
A big part of preventing the occurrence of hemorrhoids and reducing its symptoms lies in the dietary choices that you make. Therefore, avoid foods that cause flare-ups and go for those that will leave you hemorrhoids-free!