Hemorrhoids are veins in your anus and rectum that have become inflamed and swollen. According to MayoClinic.com, hemorrhoids are a common condition that affects at least half of adults by the age of 50. Dietary changes, like increasing your fiber intake through the consumption of fruit, may help reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids. Consult your doctor before starting a high-fiber diet for hemorrhoids.
Your anus and rectum are lined with mucus membranes that cover clusters of veins. When you strain during a bowel movement, the amount of pressure in these veins increases. If you suffer from chronic constipation, most of your bowel movements may require straining. Constipation may also lead you to sit on the toilet for an extended period of time in an effort to complete a bowel movement. Over time, this straining and prolonged sitting can produce enough pressure to cause the swelling and inflammation of the veins that is characteristic of hemorrhoids.
Fiber and Hemorrhoid Prevention
Many cases of constipation are a result of a lack of fiber in the diet. Fiber, which is found in many fruits, helps pull water into your digestive tract, softening your stool and making it easier to pass. This results in less straining, and thus less pressure, during a bowel movement. Because of this, regularly eating enough fiber helps reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids.
The average American consumes around 15 g of fiber each day, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. This is insufficient, as the general recommendation for fiber is 25 g per day for women and 38 g per day for men. Meeting your fiber recommendations is important if you are prone to developing hemorrhoids.
Fiber Content of Fruit
Fruits that contain at least 5 g of fiber, which is approximately 20 percent of the daily value, per serving are allowed to carry the label "high in fiber," according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation. These fruits include apples, blackberries, raspberries and pears.
Fruits that contain between 2.5 g and 5 g of fiber per serving, or 10 to 19 percent of the daily value, are described as a "good source of fiber." These fruits include blueberries, bananas, dates, figs, kiwis, guava and oranges.
While eating fruit can help you meet your fiber needs, you should not rely on just fruit for fiber. Other fiber-rich foods, such as beans, whole grains, vegetables and nuts, are other components of a healthy diet.
Increase your intake of fruit and other fiber-rich foods gradually. If you increase your daily fiber consumption too quickly, it doesn't give your body time to adjust and may cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms like gas, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal cramps.