Do you often suffer from constipation? Is it frustrating you? Do you feel uncomfortable discussing it? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. This is a common problem affecting millions of people all over the world, though the causes and symptoms may vary. The good news is that it can be treated by employing natural methods and you do not need laxatives, prescription or OTC medications to get rid of this problem. This post discusses the causes and diagnosis of constipation and explains how the constituents of prune juice can help cure constipation. Do you want more information? Keep reading.
Diagnosis Of Constipation:
When you have bowel movements that are less frequent than usual or if you have less than three bowel movements in a week (1), you are likely to be diagnosed with constipation. You know that you are suffering from this problem if you experience the following symptoms:
- Infrequent bowel movements than normal
- Dry, hard or painful bowel movements
- The need to go again right after one bowel movement
- Difficulty in passing stools
- Stools with blood
- Cramps and abdominal pain
Constipation occurs when the intestines absorb too much water or when there is inadequate water in your diet. The natural waste removal process in your body gets disrupted as waste moves slowly through your intestines because it is too dry. The most common causes of constipation are lack of dietary fiber (2) and inadequate fluid intake. It can also be caused due to lack of exercise, excessive laxative use, an underlying medical condition or as a side effect of certain medications that you may be taking.
How Prune Juice Helps In Relieving Constipation:
If you suffer from constipation, you will be glad to know that there are many natural home remedies for treating it. They are a better option as they do not contain chemicals unlike OTC or prescription medications. One of the most recommended natural remedies for constipation is prune juice. There have been many studies that prove the efficacy of this juice for the treatment of constipation. It contains certain nutrients and compounds that make it an effective laxative aid, which helps in relieving this problem.
Here is a look at what prune juice and prunes contain that makes them so effective in the treatment of constipation:
Needless to say, prunes and prune juice contain quite a large amount of sugars, giving them their sweet taste. However, you should know that not all sugars are equal when it comes to constipation. Prune juice contains sorbitol, known as a “non-stimulating laxative”, which is one of the reasons it is so beneficial for this problem (3). Other sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose are quickly absorbed in the gut, meaning that by the time the residues of food have reached the colon, they have been digested. This is not the case with sorbitol. Its concentration in the colon remains high as it is not as easily absorbed as other sugars. Water gets absorbed from stools by the colon to prevent dehydration. Sorbitol opposes this action. As water is driven back to the body by the colon, sorbitol reverses the water into the colon. Therefore, it decreases dehydration of stools and fights constipation.
Prunes are known for their high fiber content(4). Obviously, prune juice does not contain as much fiber as the dried fruits themselves but nowadays, there are plenty of brands that include prune pulp in juices to provide the much-needed extra fiber. This nutrient passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed through the intestines and without breaking down. It helps in drawing water to stools, making them softer as well as bulkier. With 1 cup of prune juice, you get 2.6 grams of fiber out of the 20 to 25 grams that you need every day. There are two forms of fiber – soluble and insoluble – and they both have their individual health benefits (5). Soluble fiber dissolves in water and when it gets to the intestines, it has a texture that is gel-like and soft. This makes stools soft and easier to pass. On the other hand, insoluble fiber passes through the intestines without changing. However, it helps in strengthening the intestinal muscles, enabling them to push waste out of the body efficiently. This type of fiber also provides the good bacteria present in the large intestine with food and when this food is used, the good bacteria produce butyric acid. This short-chain fatty acid is what helps the cells in the intestines maintain a healthy colon.
3. Phenolic Compounds:
These are constituents that are found abundantly in plants. They are a rich source of antioxidants that protect your body against cell aging and oxidative stress. A benefit of using phenolic compounds in treating constipation is that they function as stimulating laxatives. They provide stimulation to the enteric nerves and trigger peristalsis. This results in stools moving faster in the colon, thus causing them to be less dehydrated.
The phenolic compounds that are found in prunes are found in smaller quantities in prune juice (6). Here is a look at the compounds and the amount of each one in 100 grams of prune juice:
- Neo chlorogenic acid: 22.5 milligrams
- Chlorogenic acid: 19.3 milligrams
- Coumaric acid: 0.4 milligrams
- Caffeic acid: 0.3 milligrams
- Rutin: 0.4 milligrams
Although fewer phenolics are found in prune juice compared to the actual dried fruits, it is still a substantial amount that makes it highly effective for curing constipation.
4. Dihydroxyphenyl Isatin:
Studies on prune juice have found that it contains many compounds that produce remarkable effects on constipation (7). Recent research led to the discovery of another compound that acts a chemical laxative. This compound is known as dihydroxyphenyl isatin. According to researchers, it has the ability to stimulate muscle contraction in the intestinal wall as well as increase fluid secretion, which helps in softening stools.
Quite obviously, there is a lot of actual scientific evidence that shows the efficacy of prune juice as a natural treatment for constipation. In a recent study where the effects of prune juice were tested against psyllium which is a soluble laxative, it was found that 40 people who suffered from chronic constipation found more relief from prune juice than they did with psyllium. Research has shown that prune juice helps immensely in increasing fluid volume that remains in stools and at the same time, causing contractions that stimulate the bowel movement.
How To Use Prune Juice For Constipation:
To eliminate constipation, you can use two effective prune juice remedies.
- Prune Juice And Apple Juice: This is a very effective remedy for those who suffer from chronic constipation or have not had a bowel movement for 2 to 3 days. First drink 2 to 3 glasses of prune juice in the morning on an empty stomach. After 30 minutes, drink a glass of apple juice. Generally, this is enough to kick-start a bowel movement even when you are suffering from a particularly severe case of constipation. Drink another glass of apple juice 1 hour after the first glass to help in cleaning out your bowels properly and making sure that they function as they should.
- Prune Juice And Oat Milk: This is another effective way to get rid of constipation for good. You need to mix half a glass of prune juice and an equal amount of oat milk together. Drink this mixture in the morning on an empty stomach. Do not drink even a glass of water before you take this drink. After a few days, you will find your bowel movements much easier and less painful.
The amount of prune juice that needs to be consumed for relief from constipation varies from person to person as not everyone responds to dietary changes in the same fashion. You may need to experiment with this juice until you find the optimum quantity that helps you find relief from constipation. Experts recommend starting with one third of a cup. Wait 2 hours to see if it takes effect. If it does not, drink another third of a cup and wait 2 hours again. Continue to drink the juice every 2 hours until it works. This way, you find out how many cups of prune juice you need every day for painless bowel movement.
Drinking prune juice is not enough to treat constipation. Other healthy habits also need to be adopted including drinking at least 2 quarts of water and other fluids every day. This is important because dehydration, as you know, is one of the most common causes of this problem. Making lifestyle changes like getting regular exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables are another great way to make sure that you keep your bowels in good working condition and get relief from constipation.
Prune Juice For Hemorrhoids:
One of the results of constipation is hemorrhoids. They are dilated blood vessels that have a higher chance of forming when there is too much strain while trying to make bowel movements (8). This is a painful problem that can make you dread going to the bathroom and occurs more on a frequent basis when you have constipation and stools are hard and dry. If you suffer from hemorrhoids, you should definitely make prune juice a part of your daily diet. It can help you eliminate painful hemorrhoids and make bowel movements a whole lot easier. Being a high-fiber fruit, experts recommend prunes and prune juice as they are highly effective for the prevention and improvement of hemorrhoids.
Other Health Benefits You Gain With Prune Juice:
Apart from treating and preventing constipation, prune juice has many other health benefits, giving you even more reasons to start drinking this juice daily. These benefits include:
- Prunes, like many other fruits, contain many essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. By drinking prune juice every day, you get the benefits of these nutrients as well as an excellent source of energy.
- Prune juice contains beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant (9). It helps in neutralizing oxygen molecules that are harmful in your body.
- Prune juice also contains loads of potassium (10). This helps in maintaining normal blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that when the levels of potassium in the body are decreased, it results in high blood pressure.
- You can improve your health and prevent many conditions by drinking prune juice daily. It will provide wonderful health benefits while helping you gain relief from the discomfort and pain that comes with constipation.
Prune Juice As A Remedy For Constipation:
You have learned about how prune juice is an effective remedy for constipation (11). It has been found to be better than modern laxatives. While past generations have valued it as a home remedy that works wonders on the digestive system, in recent years, its efficacy as a treatment and preventive measure for this painful problem has been scientifically proven as well. It is no wonder that it is one of the most recommended natural treatments for constipation.
You do not have to go through painful bowel movements any longer when you have prune juice. Let the fiber, phenolic compounds and sugars that it contains help in providing you with relief. As mentioned earlier, start at a slow pace so that you can find out the right amount that works for you. With prune juice and certain lifestyle changes, you can eliminate this problem and prevent it from recurring. Keep in mind that you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fiber and drink plenty of fluids.
Although prune juice is not the most delicious juice, you cannot ignore it if you suffer from constipation. If you do not want to take OTC or prescribed laxatives and medications, this is your best option. With this excellent juice, you can ensure that your bowel movements are regular, easy and pain-free.
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