If you’re constipated or just having trouble with regular bowel movements, it may be time to look for a method to ease your digestion.
Prunes, now officially named “dried plums,” and prune juice are great options for relieving constipation and helping you to stay regular. Even better, they help your body function in a variety of ways and can even prevent the onset of certain conditions.
Keep reading to learn about the various benefits of adding prunes to your diet.
The Basics of Constipation
Constipation is a condition that affects your gastrointestinal system, making it difficult to have a bowel movement. While everyone’s regular bowel movements vary, if you haven’t passed stool in two or three days, you may be constipated.
Symptoms of Constipation
There are a number of reasons you may be constipated. These include:
- low-fiber diet
- consumption of a large amount of dairy products
- certain medications
- medical conditions such as pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome, and neurological disorders
Constipation can be treated with a variety of methods. Adding exercise to your lifestyle, drinking more water, and allowing yourself plenty of time in the bathroom may help.
Stimulating the gastrointestinal system may take some planning on your part. Adding a laxative to your diet may be necessary. Over-the-counter medications and natural remedies can also help. Stool softeners, fiber products containing psyllium, and foods high in fiber may also be considered when you are feeling constipated.
Prunes and Prune Juice: A Natural Remedy for Constipation
Eating prunes, or dried plums, can alleviate constipation. According to a study in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, dried plums and their derivatives, such as prune juice, can prevent constipation and even possibly colon cancer. The nutrients found in prunes may also help control obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Research also shows that using prunes and prune juice can be more effective than other constipation-relieving methods. One study in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics states that prunes work even better than medications containing psyllium. Another study says that prunes should be used as a first-line therapy for constipation.
A Super Fruit
Dried plums are considered to be very good for your overall health. Prune juice is filtered, so it doesn’t have the high fiber content of dried prunes. Still, both are laxatives because of their high sorbitol content. Dried plums also contain iron to help prevent anemia, potassium that aids in healthy blood pressure, sugars combined with soluble fiber that provide sustained energy, phenolic compounds that can help prevent chronic diseases, and boron that can help prevent osteoporosis.
Prune juice is an effective remedy for constipation in both children and adults. When giving prune juice to an infant, the Mayo Clinic recommends trying 2 to 4 ounces at a time and adjusting the amount as needed. For adults, drink 4 to 8 ounces of prune juice each morning to stimulate a bowel movement.
Just remember that more isn’t always better. Adding more fiber doesn’t always help stimulate a bowel movement. It can make you feel worse if you are dehydrated. It’s important to only stick with one serving of dried plums per day.
If you experience chronic constipation, or if eating prunes and drinking prune juice doesn’t solve your problems, contact your doctor for professional advice. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor if you begin to experience:
- rectal or abdominal pain
- blood in stool
- thin stool
- unexplained weight loss
Want more information about the health benefits of prunes? Click here for The Top 7 Benefits of Prunes and Prune Juice.