Cranberry juice is the perfect superfood as it contains a substantial amount of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Some studies have shown that cranberries lessen the risk and slow the progression of certain cancers, decrease bad cholesterol and blood pressure, promote better circulation, prevent heart disease, and boost immune function.
But what many people don’t know is that this tasty beverage can also help relieve constipation.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about why cranberry juice can help make you poop, the causes of constipation, and how to use cranberry juice for constipation relief.
Cranberry Juice and Bowel Movements
How does cranberry juice help with bowel movements? Find out below.
Salicylic acid or salicylate is the compound that gives the juice its tart flavor.
A study aimed at isolating the effects of cranberries reported that natural salicylate in cranberry juice might increase good gut bacteria and decrease the amount of Enterobacteriaceae, including E. coli, which are found in higher levels in those with digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This study emphasized the potential benefit of cranberry juice for a specific population, those with IBS, who may struggle with symptoms like constipation.
However, there may be other possible reasons for constipation.
Increase of fluids
Increasing the intake of fluids, including cranberry or prune juice diluted with water, is a great way to help relieve constipation.
When the body consumes the right proportion of food and drink in the form of calories and fluids, it stimulates the large intestine to contract and move the stool along.
Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice
There are some benefits of drinking cranberry juice:
Good source of vitamin C and E
Pure cranberry juice is a great source of antioxidants that play an important role in overall health.
It contains additional vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin E: 20% of the DV
- Copper: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin K1: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 8% of the DV
Prevents urinary tract infections
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), phytochemicals that give the berries their red color.
PACs can prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and causing an infection.
Improves risk factors for heart disease
Cranberries also contain other phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation plays a role in damaging blood vessels over time, including the arteries.
These anti-inflammatory compounds in cranberries may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
Cranberries contain unique antioxidants that aren’t found in other fruits and vegetables.
Research has shown that cranberries might also play a role in preventing cancer through dietary changes.
Improves digestive health
Studies have found that cranberries prevent the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) from growing and multiplying in the stomach lining. H. pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer.
Cranberries may also help improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as constipation.
Causes of Constipation
If you have experienced the discomfort and abdominal pain that accompanies constipation, you will surely want to know what causes constipation.
There are many possible causes of constipation:
Not enough fiber in the diet
A lack of fiber is one of the most common reasons for constipation.
Fiber helps add bulk to the stool as it absorbs water, adds moisture to the stool, and makes it easier to pass.
A high-fiber diet can help prevent constipation.
Lack of exercise
Lack of exercise can also lead to constipation.
Exercise helps stimulate the digestive system and keeps waste moving along the tract.
A sedentary lifestyle could be a contributing factor to constipation.
Too much iron in the diet can lead to constipation. Iron is a mineral that can help the body create new red blood cells.
However, too much iron can be toxic and cause constipation.
If you take iron supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.
Pregnancy is another common cause of constipation.
Hormonal changes and the added weight of the baby can slow down the digestive system.
Pregnant women should drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods to help prevent constipation.
Certain medications can also cause constipation. This includes pain medications, antacids that contain aluminum, and antidepressants.
If you think a medication you’re taking is causing your constipation, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
How to Relieve Constipation
There are a few things you can do to relieve constipation:
Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking enough fluids is one of the most important things you can do to help relieve constipation.
Cranberry juice is a great option because it not only helps increase fluids but also contains calories, which could help stimulate a bowel movement.
Eat high-fiber foods
Including high-fiber foods in your diet is another key way to relieve constipation.
Fiber helps add bulk and moisture to stool, making it easier to pass.
Some good high-fiber foods include:
- Fruits like apples, pears, and prunes
- Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains like barley, buckwheat, and quinoa
- Nuts and seeds
Take a fiber supplement
If you’re having trouble getting enough fiber from food alone, you may want to try taking a fiber supplement.
Just be sure to drink plenty of fluids when taking a fiber supplement because it can also cause constipation if you don’t drink enough.
Get regular exercise
Exercise is another great way to help relieve constipation.
Exercise keeps all parts of your body, including your digestive system, active.
On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle could contribute to constipation.
Prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics are compounds in foods that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms or good gut bacteria in the intestines.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep the digestive system healthy.
Prebiotics are found in certain foods like onions, garlic, and leeks.
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or found in certain foods like yogurt.
Taking prebiotics and probiotics may help relieve constipation.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Addition of cranberry to proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori eradication. (2016).
A Review of Microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Future in Therapies. (2018).
Comparison of health-relevant flavonoids in commonly consumed cranberry products. (2012).
Cranberry and Its Phytochemicals: A Review of In Vitro Anticancer Studies. (2007).
Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health. (2013).
Cranberry extracts promote the growth of Bacteroidaceae and decrease the abundance of Enterobacteriaceae in a human gut simulator model. (2019).
Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis. (2012).
Ferrous Sulfate Supplementation Causes Significant Gastrointestinal Side-Effects in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (2015).
Impact of Cranberries on Gut Microbiota and Cardiometabolic Health: Proceedings of the Cranberry Health Research Conference. (2015).
Treating constipation during pregnancy. (2012).