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Flax Seeds & Hemorrhoids

By Bridget Coila

A high-fiber diet can help relieve or prevent hemorrhoids, and flax seed is a nutritious way to add more fiber to your diet. The impact of flax seed on hemorrhoids may even be better than other forms of fiber that contain lower percentages of fiber per gram. Because flax seed can be incorporated into the diet as well as taken in supplement form, it is simple to include it in your total daily fiber intake.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids occur when veins in the anus and rectum become swollen, painful and itchy. Anal itching, bloody stool and pain during bowel movements can all be signs of this common condition. While hemorrhoids may be the result of chronic or temporary medical conditions, constipation can sometimes cause or exacerbate hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet can help reduce hemorrhoids and prevent recurrences.

Flax Seeds

The high fiber in flax seeds makes them a good dietary addition for individuals with hemorrhoids. About 40 percent of a flax seed is made up of fiber, about 10 percent soluble fiber and 30 percent insoluble fiber. This is a higher percentage of total fiber than oat bran and a higher percentage of soluble fiber than wheat bran, oat bran, rice bran or corn bran. One fiber component of flax seed is mucilage, a gummy substance that adds bulk to stool and softens it. Softer stool is easier to pass and less likely to create or worsen hemorrhoids.

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How to Use Flax Seeds

Flax seeds can be eaten whole or ground. If you eat them whole, chew thoroughly to crush the seeds. If grinding flax seeds at home, use within 24 hours of grinding to avoid a reduction in nutritional value. You can take 1 tbsp. up to three times a day or 2 to 4 tbsp. at once every day. You can also use flax seed in cooking and baking. Include flax seed in recipes for pancakes, breads, muffins or cookies to add extra fiber that can help heal hemorrhoids.

Alternative Fiber Sources

If you don't like the taste of flax seeds or want to mix up your fiber sources, psyllium is another type of supplemental fiber that can help prevent and treat the constipation that causes hemorrhoids. Foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, can also help increase your fiber intake and help you get the recommended 25 to 30 g of fiber per day that can keep hemorrhoids at bay.

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