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We have decided to present some interesting and useful information since a lot of people who suffer from hemorrhoidal disease feel unable to eat various foods because of the unpleasant way their bodies respond. Although piles can be very challenging when it comes to food, it is important to remember that there are many foods to enjoy.
Physiology and function of the hemorrhoids
The straight intestine or rectum (lat.) represents the ending part of the colon. It is divided into two parts – it begins at the end of the sigmoid colon, then there is the anal canal, that starts at the level of the prostate gland and is then followed by the anal verge (anus). The length of the anal canal is about 2-3 cm and is covered with mucous membrane. Below the mucous layer are located the vascular structures that we all know as hemorrhoids (or piles).
Normally, piles are just cushions that help with the stool control and everyone has them. However, when they become inflamed or swollen, people usually use the term hemorrhoids to refer to the actual disease.
The hemorrhoidal disease is very common. It is reported that men suffer from hemorrhoids more often due to work-related factors. In women, the occurrence of symptomatic hemorrhoids is often associated with pregnancy. The predisposing factors are various – straining during bowel movements and sitting for long periods of time on the toilet (all due to chronic constipation), decreased physical activity, dietary factors, and family predisposition.
The presence of these risk factors is important for the occurrence of inflammatory changes and enlarged hemorrhoids. The first symptoms of internal hemorrhoids are mild discomfort and itching during or after defecation, while in the later stages hemorrhoids are usually presented with the appearance of bright red blood and prolapsing tissue that may or may not be retracted back. External hemorrhoids are located outside on the border of the anus. They may rupture due to pressure and cause severe pain.
Conservative management of hemorrhoids typically consists of raising the dietary fiber intake, maintaining hydration and all kinds of anti-inflammatory drugs. A number of operative procedures may also be performed for hemorrhoids in later stages.
Hemorrhoids friendly diet
However, the diet is also very important when dealing with persistent symptomatic hemorrhoids. It is essential to restore the normal defecation since the discomfort often causes people to avoid bowel movements. Most of us have a bowel movement once a day, but it might be different for you and that should not be a major source of concern. However, constipation is one of the risk factors for the development of hemorrhoids. Avoiding constipation might be hard enough without laxatives, but you have to try maintaining a high-fiber diet. Fiber will actually give bulk to your stools and that will make them easier to expel. You will spend less time straining and sitting on the toilet, which will alleviate the symptoms.
Whole grains are suitable and should be part of your diet – whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice. You should also add pulses (legumes) – beans, lentils, and peas. If you want to add some whole-grain bread to your menu, make sure that you double-check the product label. Many marketers are trying to trick us with terms like “multigrain”. If you are shopping for instant oatmeal, avoid those that contain high-fructose corn syrup and old-fashioned unsweetened kind.
Patients should increase the consumption of fruits (apples, pears, kiwis, plums) and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, broccoli, spinach, lettuce – the greener, the better) as they are rich sources of fiber – both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is more important for improving the passage of food through the intestine. If you don’t know what to do with all these products, take inspiration from the Mediterranean cuisine. The famous Greek salad is made with pieces of tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, lettuce, Feta cheese, and olives. Apples and pears should be consumed with the fruit skin because the dietary fiber is actually contained in the skin. Bananas have constipating properties and are only good when they are ripe. We should also note that plum and prune juices exhibit laxative properties. A glass of plum juice every morning before breakfast can help stool become easier to pass and with regularity to get rid of toxic substances and clean intestines.
Taking more fluids is very important for the prevention of constipation. The recommended daily intake of water equals 8 water cups or about 2 liters per day. This amount of liquids does not include the consumption of soups, coffee or juices. The water intake should be spread evenly during the day so that you can stay well hydrated.
It’s well-known fact that the consumption of spicy foods and alcohol leads to additional discomfort and irritation for those suffering from hemorrhoids, so it is advisable to discontinue their intake. Spicy foods can increase the inflammatory response of the hemorrhoids, while excessive alcohol intake can slow down the bowel transit time or lead to dehydration, which is a prerequisite for constipation.
However, the increased consumption of foods fiber-rich foods can lead to an embarrassing gas formation or even abdominal discomfort. For this reason, we recommend a gradual change in diet, with a consistent substitution of the non-whole foods with fiber-rich ones.
A fiber rich recipe for your hemorrhoids diet
Greek Salad recipe
1 lettuce chopped
3 big tomatoes; Cut into several wedges each, then each wedge cut in half
1 large cucumber; Peel, then cut into fourths lengthwise, and dice into large chunks
1 red onion; medium size
1 green pepper; sliced
20 kalamata olives; cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
250 g feta cheese
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp died oregano
1. To make this Greek salad recipe (Horiatiki), start by preparing your ingredients. Wash the vegetables thoroughly and then strain them. Cut the tomatoes into several wedges each, then each wedge cut in half. The lettuce should be chopped. Peel the cucumber carefully, then cut into fourths lengthwise, and finally dice into large chunks
2. Cut the onion in half from root to tip, then slice it into thin rings. Slice the green pepper in small pieces. Place everything in a large bowl. Don’t forget to add the kalamata olives as well.
3. Season with salt and pour over the extra virgin olive oil. Toss everything together and then add the red wine vinegar. Toss again, so that the flavours mix nicely. Sprinkle all of this with salt, but be careful not to add too much, as the feta cheese and the olives are salty themselves.
Finishing the dish
4. Greek salad (Horiatiki) is always served with thin slices of feta cheese on top. Pour some olive oil and dried oregano. You’re done! Now enjoy this healthy and delicious Greek salad!