I am not a big purveyor of prunes, but I have had to deal with the occasional “backup” and constipation after eating lots of full fat dairy or other really rich and heavy foods. I have some family members who have really suffered with this issue and while suppositories do indeed work, it’s not always the most practical or enticing solution, and many people prefer going with a more dietary and natural lifestyle based approach. Thankfully, after some research and much testing I have found that indeed, prune juice, as well as prune based smoothies work fantastic for constipation.
Prune Juice Works!
So, exactly how much prune juice for constipation is sufficient? Well, that depends on you age, size, and level of constipation, but there are some general guidelines that work with basically everyone, including the elderly and children, toddlers included (adjusting for volume of juice when using prune juice for infant constipation or your other young ones). Keep in mind though, that treating constipation might require you to use over-the-counter or prescription medications along with healthy changes to your diet.
But I tend to prefer the more natural dietary approach, so using prune juice or prune smoothies along with these dietary changes can go a long way. Prune juice acts as natural laxative, and has apparently been used for a good long time for constipation, not only because prunes have some insoluble fiber (the kind that helps you pass food through your digestive system), but prunes contain sorbitol and dihydrophenylisatin which are natural laxatives. (We now have boring medical journal proof this stuff really works, hurray!)
How Do You Know If You Have Constipation?
As I mentioned earlier constipation is something that happens to almost everyone at some point including myself, especially when I wasn’t eating as well. The basic medical definition of constipation means you have less than 3-4 bowel movements a week, but really, if your having only 5 or 6, that isn’t exactly great either, better, but not great. There is no “official” medical measure of “healthy bowel movements” but generally it can range from 5-6 times a week to 2-3 movements a day, generally. I personally have found that folks who have a couple movements a day tend to lead healthier lifestyles, not a coincidence I suspect.
Ok, So are There any Other Causes of Constipation?
There can be additional causes like certain medications, but that will often wear off over time. But here is a small list of common causes, they are by no means exhuastive, but are often associated with constipation and a less healthy lifestyle in general:
- Sedentary Lifestyle and Lack of Regular Exercise
- Not Getting Enough Fiber Into Your Diet Through Whole Grain, Fruits, and Vegetables
- Not Drinking Enough Water Which Helps The Body Hydrate and Flush Out Waste
- Excessive Use of Laxatives
- Underlying Medical Conditions (that’s why I still feel it’s important to speak with your family doctor too)
What are the Symptoms of Constipation?
- Bowel Movements That Feel “Hard”
- Movements That Feel Dry or Particularly Painful to Pass
- The Feeling You Get When You Have The Urge to Go Right After You Just Has a Movement Shortly Before
- Bloody Stools
- Cramps or Abdominal Pain, Particularly During a Bowel Movement
Alrighty, So What’s The Secret Cocktail for Relief? Is Prune Juice Good For Constipation in Practice?
There isn’t one universal cocktail or volume/proportion of prune juice you should have, but if you don’t mind swigging a glass back, as some people don’t like the taste, I suggest starting with a 8oz “normal person” sized cup of pure prune juice, preferably not from concentrate if possible. If you are not crazy about guzzling some prune juice, you can mix half a glass of prune juice or about 4-5oz with another juice you like, I reccomend a mild juice like pear or apple juice. Go with a cloudier pulpier juice if you can, as this is the type of insoluble fiber you need to help have healthy bowel movements. You can drink this a few times throughout the day if able, and this should do the trick provided you are using high quality prune juice. Some folks like to use warm prune juice for constipation as well, I find it doesn’t make a difference for me personally, but some may simply prefer it that way, and it can’t hurt.
Prune Juice May Not Be Sufficient in Improving Your Constipation
Just like there is no single or set of magic pills to make all of your ills and ailments go away, the same can be said for just drinking a single type of fruit juice or eating a particular piece of fruit or vegetable all the time. Here are some lifestyle changes I have found to work for me and my friends and family:
- You need to be active and engaging in regular physical activity in addition to planned exercise. Park Farther away from the place your visiting and walk, use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Minor daily and regular changes make for big differences in our bodies.
- Most people simply do not drink enough water, and dehydration often leads to constipation. 1½ to 2 quarts of water is a good goal to shoot for, and while juice and other liquids have water too, I reccomend that you stick to mostly water for that goal, your body and bowels will thank you! Just make sure you use filtered water and not raw tap water or bottled water if at all possible, it not only improves the taste, but its healthier too. (no nasty toxins or bph).
- Also, while this may seem obvious, many people tend to make themselves “believe” they do not need to “go” and will therefor let the initial feeling of needing to pass a bowel movement go away. This is not healthy at all, and this habit over time can lead to constipation. When natures calls, make sure you answer!
I Have Another Optional Remedy For those of You With Blenders! Smoothies!
Last and certainly not least, for those of you with a blender, is one of my go to methods for improving my bowel movements and digestion in general, in fact, I find that smoothies are some of the most effective delivery systems for health in general. I like to use high fiber fruits along with fresh prunes to make a tasty fruit smoothie that has the natural laxatives of prunes and the high fiber of certain fruits like raspberries or blackberries to make for a strong natural and safe laxative that tastes great too! Here is a great recipe that I have found works really well:
Raspberry and Prune Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 5-6 fresh prunes
- 1/2 fresh banana in small chunks
- 1 cup prune juice
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 tsp of organic ground Stevia for a safe and natural 0 calorie sweetener
- Pour in your water and prune juice
- Then add in your fresh prunes and raspberries
- Put in your banana chunks and Stevia
- Blend until you get your desired consistency
- Drink Up!
If You Guys Have Any Other Prune Juice or Constipation Tips, Let Me Know in the Comments and Feel Free to Ask Any Questions! Here’s To Your Improved Digestion!