Increasing the intake of dietary fiber is one of the most recommended actions for easing and preventing constipation and hemroids. Dietary fiber can be found in all plant foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. It can also be found in the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster and crab, which is called chitin.
Types of Fiber
There are two main types of dietary fiber: those that are soluble in water and those that are non-soluble. Soluble fiber can be viscuous or prebiotic, easily dissolves, and is fermented into gases and byproducts in the colon. It helps slow digestion and helps the body absorb nutrients from other foods. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is metabolically inert and absorbs water throughout the digestive system. It adds bulk to the stool and makes stool easier to pass through the intestines. Most plant foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Foods that have high levels of soluble fiber include oat bran, oats, dried beans, rice bran, citrus fruits, barley, potatoes, peas, strawberries, and apples. Foods that have high levels of insoluble fiber include whole grains, wheat bran, seeds, cereals, and the skins of most vegetables and fruits.
High Fiber Foods
The best type of fiber for easing constipation and hemroids are non-soluble fiber, particularly cereals, whole grains, and wheat bran. These types of foods retain water within their cellular structures, adding bulk to stool and making stool easier to pass. Wheat bran is also known to be a highly effective natural laxative. Eating citrus fruits, vegetables and legumes such as lentils and beans are also great for stimulating the growth of colonic flaura which increases the amount of good bacteria and adds weight in the stool. Colonic flaura promotes a healthy intestine which helps ease or eliminate constipation and hemroids. Prunes are also popular natural laxatives and are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. In addition, they are high in antioxidants and help boost the immune system and help prevent disease. Three dried plums contain 3.9 grams of fiber, while one cup of uncooked and pitted prunes contain about 12 grams of fiber. Although rich in fiber, nuts are not recommended for those suffering from hemroids as these can aggravate the hemorrhoids even more.
Recommended Amount of Daily Fiber
According to the American Dietetic Association, the average American takes in 11 grams of fiber a day, which is a lot less than the recommended diet. In general, women should get about 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should eat about 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends nine servings (or four and a half cup) of fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds. Too much fiber intake, on the other hand, can cause stomach cramps or gas pains. Fiber in the diet should be increased gradually depending on the person's comfort.
Fiber for Chronic Constipation
If increasing the intake of whole grain fiber, vegetables and fruits still do nothing to help ease constipation and hemroids, eating foods that contain bran, psyllium husk and methylcellulose may do the trick. These have higher fiber content and have a laxative effect. Water intake should also be increased when taking these foods as they can clog the intestines and cause even more constipation. Water is vital for fiber to sweep the colon and move the stool out of the body.