Hemorrhoids are caused by an increase of pressure in the anal and rectal veins. This pressure can be caused by standing or sitting for too long, poor posture, anal intercourse, and many other things. However, the most common root causes of hemorrhoids are dietary and lifestyle choices. This means that an adjustment to your diet and lifestyle can help you gain control over the situation.
Pressure in the anal and rectal veins can be caused by constipation and diarrhea, both of which are directly linked to the gut. To prevent diarrhea, you simply need to observe food-hygiene practices and proper sanitation. However, to prevent constipation and hardened stool, you will have to regulate your diet.
Foods to Eat
Below are the key components of the best diet for hemorrhoids:
Fiber is a key part of a hemorrhoid diet. Fiber is essential for the smooth digestion of food and the softening of stool. Without fiber, you are likely to get constipated due to poor digestion and hardened stool. Constipation causes stress on the veins in the anus and rectum, and this stress causes a slow flow of blood in these blood vessels. This is the reason why hemorrhoids often develop when one is constipated. Increasing your consumption of fiber will help prevent such situation.
If you already have hemorrhoids, it is incorrect to assume that increasing the amount of fiber you consume will have no impact on your state. If you get constipated when you already have hemorrhoids, the problem is bound to get worse. In many cases, it results in the development of thrombosed hemorrhoids. These are hemorrhoids in which blood has clotted. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are much more painful compared to normal hemorrhoids and have to be treated urgently.
Foods that are rich sources of fiber include:
Make it a point to increase your vegetable intake, include lots of raw salads, and at least two servings of cooked vegetables a day. Moreover, incorporate fruit or fresh fruit juice into your daily diet.
Our gut flora plays a large part in aiding our digestion. Making sure that we have a healthy gut helps in forming healthy stools. Eating homemade yogurt, other fermented foods, or taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to help maintain a healthy gut and consequently ensure better digestion and smoother bowel movements.
Water helps to soften stool. Consuming sufficient amounts of water every day can help prevent constipation. Since constipation is one of the main causes of hemorrhoids, water should always be a part of a hemorrhoid diet. Whether you are healthy or already have hemorrhoids, you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Otherwise, the condition may develop or become further aggravated.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important for the development of healthy skin and healthy tissues, which include the blood vessels. A lack of vitamin C causes leaky blood vessels and can worsen hemorrhoids. To maintain healthy levels of vitamin C, you should avoid getting overly stressed and drinking alcohol. Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, lime, lemon, and grapefruit.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
With a condition such as hemorrhoids, you need to keep your levels of inflammation at the lowest possible. A good way to do this would be to lower the bad fats you consume and instead eat more good fats. In this case, the best option would be omega-3 fatty acids.
As most people already know, you can get lots of omega-3s from fish. Flaxseeds are a great vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acid. Take no more than two tablespoons of the seeds per day, grind them up, and add them to your salad.
6. Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin E helps in the prevention of inflammation and also in the healing of inflamed body tissues. Including foods such as seeds and nuts in one’s diet can increase your vitamin E intake. This will give your body an added boost when it comes to curing hemorrhoids. Many people are lacking important trace elements such as magnesium and zinc in their body. Both these minerals are important for healthy intestinal function, improved digestion, and better bowel movements. Dark green leafy vegetables and sprouted pulses are excellent sources of these minerals. In cases of extreme deficiencies, supplements can be taken.
Foods to Avoid
Now that we have covered some of the foods that you should incorporate into your diet, here is a list of a few things you should avoid to help prevent or heal hemorrhoids:
1. Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white flour and white rice have inflammatory properties. Inflammation causes the blood vessels to become unhealthy. Taking too much sugar and refined carbohydrates can further aggravate your condition.
2. Saturated Fat
Saturated fat causes inflammation and weakens gut health. This could lead to all sorts of digestive problems and could eventually lead to hemorrhoids. If you are already suffering from hemorrhoids, then it could delay the healing process.
3. Excess Fiber
Now, this might seem contradictory to the advice given earlier, but bear in mind that too much of a good thing can also be bad for you. While it is good to increase your fiber intake when suffering from hemorrhoids, too much fiber could actually bulk up the stool and make it harder to pass, thereby adding more strain to the affected area. Stick with moderation and you will be just fine.
There is more than enough evidence that excessive alcohol intake is bad for the body. The dehydrating effect of alcohol is especially bad when one is suffering from hemorrhoids. Avoiding alcohol when suffering from this condition will go a long way in speeding up your recovery.
Excessive salt consumption cannot only cause dehydration, which can make stools hard and more painful to pass, it can also cause bloating. Bloating can add more pressure on the hemorrhoids and worsen the condition. Keep your salt intake low while suffering from hemorrhoids.
Something important to remember is that even with the best diet, our bodies still need to be able to digest the food properly to experience the maximum benefits. Digestion begins in the mouth. Eat slowly and chew your food well, allowing the digestive enzymes present in your saliva to do their job before you swallow and pass on the process.
If you feel the urge to use the toilet, do not delay the process, listen to your body and allow the natural cycle to take place for optimal health.