In this study, it was found that those who drank prune juice were able to increase their stool weight.
Additionally, this beverage can increase stool consistency and frequency.
But, how does it promote these effects?
In this article, we will discuss the relationship between bowel movements and constipation, the causes of constipation, how prune juice can manage constipation, how to use this beverage for constipation, and the other benefits of prune juice.
Moreover, there would be times when you ask, how come I am constipated but still have regular bowel movements?
Well, there is this acute constipation or occasional constipation and chronic constipation or long-term constipation.
The former may only last for up to three days and it is not that discomforting.
On the other hand, chronic constipation is something more serious. If not treated as soon as possible, it can last for months to years.
Eventually, it can also cause dangerous complications, especially in children and those who are immunocompromised.
Causes of Constipation
There are many causes of constipation. It is important to learn these causes as they can also be relieved by drinking prune juice.
Some of these causes will be discussed in this section.
a) Lack of exercise and poor diet
The major causes of constipation include lack of exercise and poor diet.
In a clinical trial in Hongkong, it was reported that physical activity plays a big role in the gut health of adolescents.
In this study, it was found that insufficient activity is positively associated with constipation.
Interestingly, even just a 60-minute exercise already promotes bowel movements and improves stool consistency.
Certain medications can also cause constipation.
Usually, pharmaceutical products come with a constipation side effect. Some of these medications include the following:
Opioid pain relievers
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Blood pressure medications
Take note that not all patients taking these medications can experience constipation.
The side effects of these drugs will still depend on the patient’s gut sensitivity.
In a study from Australia, it was reported that around 33.9% of patients taking some of these medications have experienced constipation as an adverse effect.
c) Certain medical health conditions
Certain health problems are also associated with constipation.
For example, if the patient is bedridden, he or she cannot be active physically.
Thus, the patient’s metabolic process is altered.
Other medical health conditions that can cause constipation include the following:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Pelvic floor muscle damage
It is important to mention that even mental health problems can cause constipation. Remember, there is this gut-brain connection.
According to a study from Iran, these mental health problems include depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Prune Juice: Chemical Composition and Health Effects on Constipation
So, what are the effects of prune juice on constipation?
According to a study from Korea, prune juice, apple juice, and lemon juice are one of the fruits that are usually recommended for constipation, especially in children.
These fruits work by acting on the intestinal epithelial ion channels, thus increasing intestinal water content.
In this study, it was also found that prune fruits contain high levels of fiber, fructose, sorbitol, and phenolic compounds.
All of these can provide mild laxative effects that can increase stool consistency and contraction of digestive system muscles.
In another study from the United States, it was reported that a dried plum can act as a natural laxative because it contains the following substances:
Generally, these beneficial components of prunes can increase satiety and reduce appetite.
Thus, they can help in controlling obesity, diabetes, and health problems.
According to a review in Chicago funded by the California Dried Plum Board, prune juice and dried plums contain around 6.1 grams of sorbitol and this explains their mild laxative effects.
Based on a study from London, consuming prunes is the first-line therapy for constipation because whole prunes and soaked prunes work better than medications that contain psyllium.
To understand better, psyllium has a mild laxative effect.
Moreover, in a report from California, the soluble fiber you get from eating prunes can improve not just the frequency of your stool but its consistency as well.
In addition to this, if you drink prune juice, you help yourself prevent the trigger of colon cancer cells, development of liver disease by regulating the levels of bile acids, and early macular degeneration.
This is because this dried fruit called prune reduces oxidative stress.
How to Use Prune Juice to Relieve Constipation and Improve Bowel Movement
Generally, there are no set guidelines on how much prune juice is required for relieving constipation.
Still, one should limit his or her intake of this beverage.
Since this beverage is rich in dietary fiber, too much prune juice can cause complications, such as the malabsorption of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
For other digestive issues, it was found that eating 100 grams of whole prunes once a day can help.
However, if you are getting these fruits from a local store, make sure that the products have followed a safe drying process.
Usually, during the drying process, a chemical acrylamide is produced.
According to the National Cancer Institute, this chemical is a human carcinogen. To avoid ingesting this, homemade prune juice is highly recommended.
A homemade one is even safer for children because it is filled with fresh foods.
For this age group, the recommended amount of prune juice for constipation is around 2-4 ounces a day, and for adults who would like to take prune juice as a constipation remedy, the amount required is 4-8 ounces each morning.
Again, depending on your health condition, your prune juice intake should be controlled.
It does not mean that the more fiber, the better.
Sometimes, too much fiber intake can lead to dehydration.
If you want to know how much is suitable for you if you want to prevent constipation or cure constipation, it is highly advised to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or nutritionist.
Doing this will also prevent further health complications.
Risks and Side Effects of Prune Juice
Generally, taking prune juice for constipation is safe.
However, there are still some common side effects that are manageable and tolerable.
Some of these include flatulence or gas.
In addition to this, dried plums contain high amounts of calories and sugar alcohol.
So, too many of these fruits can lead to weight gain and small effects on blood sugar.
If you have constipation and you have taken prune juice, make sure to speak with your medical provider if you experience any of the following constipation symptoms:
Severe stomach pain
Rectal pain and blood in the stool
Unexplained weight loss
Lastly, although prunes can be used for digestive problems, many people can also abuse them. According to a study from North Dakota, dried plums are still stool softeners and can be one of the causes of laxative dependency in some adults.
Other Benefits of Prune Juice
Apart from helping you treat and prevent constipation, prune juice also offers other health benefits.
Some of these will be discussed in this section.
1) Prevents overactive bladder and diseases related to the bladder
If you are constipated, the frequency of urination increases.
Fortunately, adding fiber can help address this issue.
If you want to incorporate prune juice with other fruit juices, you can consider mixing it with apple juice.
2) Builds bone and muscles
It is interesting to say that prune juice can also help build strong bones and muscles.
Prune juice is high in Boron, and according to a randomized clinical trial from the United States, this fruit can increase mineral bone density, improve mental acuity, and support muscle coordination.
This means that these fruits have the potential to treat osteoporosis, especially in menopausal women.
c) Prevent heart disease
Another benefit prunes can give is the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
According to a study from Minnesota, prune juice can prevent the development of atherosclerosis, thus reducing your risk of developing stroke and heart attack.
Additionally, according to a study from Australia, it was reported that prunes can reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels.
Additionally, these fruits can also regulate blood pressure.
Indeed, prunes can support a healthy digestive tract.
These fruits are rich in beneficial compounds that can improve your bowel movement, prevent colon cancer, and improve your overall gastrointestinal function.
Because of these effects, sometimes, you may wonder, can prune juice help relieve constipation?
The answer would be yes.
Generally, prunes are considered stool softeners that manage irregular bowel movements.
However, you should know how much of it is required for you to avoid adverse effects like flatulence.
Additionally, aside from constipation relief, prunes also offer other health benefits such as bladder control, bone and muscle growth, and cardiovascular support.
Lastly, for those who wish to drink or eat prune, a homemade one is highly recommended.
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