Hemorrhoids are common and cause a range of symptoms, from anal itchiness to blood in stool. However, despite the variation in symptoms, chronic constipation is one of the most common causes of the embarrassing condition.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in St. Louis, Missouri, our board-certified family physician, Dr. Betsy Clemens, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhoids.
Though we develop hemorrhoid treatment plans specific to your needs, we always provide diet recommendations to improve bowel health and function to alleviate and prevent constipation.
We know how hard it is to make changes to your diet. To keep things as simple as possible, we’ve created a list of foods that promote bowel health to get you going.
1. Whole-grain cereal
Though daily fiber needs vary, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet, you should aim for 28 grams of fiber a day.
When it comes to improving bowel health and bowel movements, fiber is essential. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest and adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass. It also speeds up the movement of food through your digestive tract to prevent constipation.
Adding whole-grain cereal to your morning routine is an easy way to boost your daily fiber intake. A cup of cooked oatmeal has 5 grams of fiber, and 3/4 cups of dry bran cereal 5.5 grams.
It’s not just whole-grain cereal that can boost your daily fiber intake — any whole-grain food will do, such as whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, brown rice, or quinoa.
2. Fiber-filled berries
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries can satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your gut healthy. Like whole grains, berries are an excellent source of fiber. One cup of fresh raspberries has 8 grams and makes a healthy snack or sweet addition to your morning cereal or lunchtime salad.
Pears and apples also help you meet your daily fiber needs when berries are out of season. Be sure to eat the skin of these fruits to get all the fiber and other health-promoting nutrients.
3. Beans for your bowel
Kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas are filled with nutrients that support health and wellness. In addition to being an excellent source of fiber for your bowes, these beans are rich in protein, B vitamins, iron, and potassium.
Beans are also a prebiotic and help promote the health and growth of the good bacteria in your gut. Your large intestine contains trillions of bacteria that help digest food, make essential nutrients, and support your immune system.
4. Fermented foods
The balance of good and bad bacteria in your large intestine affects bowel health. Fermented foods contain bacteria called probiotics that your bowel needs to maintain a healthy balance.
Examples of fermented foods include:
In addition to improving bowel health, probiotics may also boost immunity and overall health.
5. Fluids to keep things moving
Adding healthy high-fiber foods to your diet is one of the most important things you can do to improve bowel health and prevent or alleviate your hemorrhoids.
However, if you’re adding more fiber to your diet without increasing your fluid intake, you may worsen the constipation and straining that caused your hemorrhoids in the first place.
Your daily fluid needs depend on many factors, including diet, health, and physical activity. In general, you should aim for 11.5 to 15.5 cups of fluid a day.
Though any liquid can help you meet your daily fluid needs, water makes the best choice because it provides your body exactly what it needs without extra sugar or unnecessary calories.
When it comes to treating and preventing hemorrhoids, bowel health matters. For expert care from a team who specializes in the treatment of all types of hemorrhoids, call our office at 636-228-3136 or contact us online today.