Join us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in celebrating this September, â€œFruit and Veggies- More Matters Monthâ€ with the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of maintaining pelvic floor health by providing fiber, a crucial bulking agent that contributes to normal stool consistency. In addition, adequate fiber intake promotes the normal movement of stool through the large intestine (colon).
There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber allows for proper sugar absorption in the stomach, and it decreases the amount of harmful low density lipoproteins (LDLs) in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, dried peas, prunes, psyllium husks, nuts, barley, oranges, pears, peaches and apples. Insoluble fiber is directly related to the passing of regular bowel movement, to preventing constipation, and to maintaining a healthy pH in the large intestine. Foods that provide insoluble fiber include whole wheat products, brown rice, popcorn, green beans, potato skins, cauliflower, and flax seeds.
Constipation prevention and maintaining normal bowel movements is an important piece in pelvic floor health. Otherwise, excessive straining and bearing down while attempting to pass a bowel movement can overly stretch and stress the pelvic floor muscle. This may result in pelvic organ prolapse. Healthy, normal bowel movements stimulated by proper fiber intake is the best form of prevention. Nutrition labels can be include information about the amount of dietary fiber per serving, so try to be mindful of your fiber intake- aim for 25-35 grams per day. Just make sure to drink enough water to ensure proper movement of the fiber through your system- aim for 8 cups of 8 fluid ounces of water per day. Happy fruit and veggie month!