Discovery Fit & Health
Hemorrhoids, the inflammation of veins along the lower rectum and anus, can cause pain and itching. Straining to pass a bowel movement or passing hard, dry stools like those that come with constipation can cause the irritation that leads to hemorrhoid formation.
Nutritionists recommend preventing hemorrhoids by eating plenty of foods high in natural fiber, which speeds the movement of stools through the bowel. This includes whole grains, fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables and beans or nuts. Nutritionists say that if you have not been eating a lot of fiber, you should add it to your diet slowly to avoid creating problems with gas. They also recommend avoiding certain foods to prevent hemorrhoids, and especially once they've formed. Mustard, red (chili) pepper and alcohol all can irritate hemorrhoids when the foods are being excreted from the body. Any food that can cause constipation is one to avoid, at least in large quantities. Many refined sugars and starches are examples, such as pastries and white breads, along with most pastas.
Coffee is another irritant people with hemorrhoids should avoid: Caffeine works as a laxative that could prohibit natural bowel movements and might make the colon "lazy." Excessive consumption of caffeine may also lead to a dependence upon artificial stimulants for bowel regularity. In addition, if people with hemorrhoids choose to replace too many clear fluids (aka water) in their diets with caffeine, all that fiber they eat simply hardens up, which their bowels must strain to pass [source: Better Health Journal]. To add to the problem, caffeine is a stimulant and increases blood flow, which pumps more blood into inflamed hemorrhoids.
Staying hydrated is one of the reasons that alcohol and caffeine are important foods to avoid. Alcohol can dehydrate your system, which makes stool harder and the bowels less regular. If the diet consists of too much of either of these beverages in relation to water and clear fluids, the person with hemorrhoids can have worse symptoms. Both caffeine and alcohol should be used in moderation.
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