Dealing with hemorrhoids is no walk in the park, but knowing the right kinds of food to incorporate into your daily diet can make a major difference in treating and preventing flare-ups. While it’s always encouraged to fill your diet with high-fiber foods, the vast amount of fiber-filled options can be pretty overwhelming! Below is a quick and dirty breakdown of the best and worst foods to consume while dealing with hemorrhoids.
EAT plenty of fruits and vegetables. Apples, berries, broccoli, leafy greens and winter squash are great options. It goes without saying that fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients, and most people don’t consume enough of them. In addition to easing constipation symptoms, fruits and vegetables add bulk to your stool and may reduce strain during bowel movements.
EAT whole grains. Oatmeal is one of the most popular whole grain foods, as well as whole grain breads, brown rice and popcorn. Whole grains have NOT been refined and contain all the nutritious parts of the original grain, providing more fiber, protein and micronutrients.
EAT more legumes (beans, lentils, nuts). Black beans, almonds, chickpeas and edamame contain large amounts of fiber even in very small portions. The legume family is also credited for helping decrease blood sugar levels and increase healthy gut bacteria.
EAT flax, hemp and chia seeds. These are all good sources of soluble fiber.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER! In addition to helping with your increased fiber intake, water throughout the day is crucial for good digestion. Aim for at least eight cups of water daily.
Remember: Shoot for 25-50 grams of fiber everyday. Too much fiber in one sitting can cause gas and bloating, so be sure to add it to your diet in small increments.
AVOID refined grains. This includes white bread, bagels, white rice and pretty much anything made from white flour. Refined grains have been milled, which removes the bran and germ and, consequently, any nutrients the grain originally contained.
AVOID processed foods as much as possible. Fast food, frozen meals and pre-packaged junk food are absolutely terrible options, as they contain few nutrients and tons of sodium. They also contain inflammation-promoting ingredients that increase constipation and bloating.
AVOID excessive alcohol. This can be tough, but alcohol dehydrates your body and can lead to constipation and disrupt the digestive balance in your stomach.
AVOID dairy. Milk and cheese products can irritate hemorrhoids since they often cause gas and bloating, which can contribute to hemorrhoid pain and stomach cramps if you are already constipated.
AVOID fried, salty food. Fries, fried chicken, fritters, the list goes on. These items scream inflammation and can cause your body to hang onto water, putting more pressure on your blood vessels. More pressure means more likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Fried foods are also difficult to digest.
AVOID spicy food. Again, inflammation.