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Is Orange Juice Good For Constipation? Everything You Need To Know

| Reviewed By Karthika Thirugnanam

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world and are in fact a cross between the pomelo and mandarin fruit. A storehouse of nutrition and various other beneficial compounds, oranges can benefit your health in numerous ways [1].

The wide popularity of oranges can be attributed to the natural sweetness and versatility, making it an ingredient for juices, jams, pickles, candied orange slices, stir-fry dishes and even cosmetics [2].

Health Benefits Of Orange Seeds

A healthy source of fibre, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants, these fruits serve an excellent component of one's daily diet [3]. The health benefits of oranges are plenty such as regulating high blood pressure, relieving constipation, protecting the cardiovascular system, boosting immunity, improving bone health and oral health, and purifying the blood amongst many [4].

As most of us are well-aware of the health benefits of oranges and mainly because oranges have been explored excessively linking to its health benefits, let's divert a bit and explore the possible benefits of orange juice, with special attention on the question - "is orange juice good for constipation?."

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Whole Fruit Vs Fruit Juice: Which Is The Better Option?

Before exploring the role orange juice plays in constipation, let's explore one of the most asked questions: What is the difference between eating fruit and drinking the fruit juice? We will be checking out real fruit juices made from fresh fruit and not the packed ones you get from the supermarket.

Vegetables To Relieve Constipation

Fresh juice extracted from fruits helps nourish your body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients available in the whole fruit which can be readily absorbed by your body [5]. However, juicing fruits can sieve off the fibre content that the pulp and skin of the fruit have, which help in boosting digestion, controlling blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol [6]. In addition to this, eating a whole fruit keeps you full for longer, particularly if you are looking to lose weight.

As a concluding thought, in terms of quality both fruit and fruit juice are the same, except for the fact that in juices dietary fibres are sieved off. However, if you have to choose between fruit and mass-produced commercial juices, choose the fruit. Packed juices tend to contain large amounts of preservatives (such as sugar) which are never good for your health [7].

Fruit juices can indeed be beneficial for your health. But people with diabetes should avoid fruit juices due to the lack of fibre as well as concentrated sugar content which can cause a dramatic spike in blood glucose [8].

Why Is Your Body Craving Orange Juice?

The nutrient content of whole oranges and juice is similar where both are excellent sources of vitamin C and folate [9].

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Are Fruits Juices Good For Constipation?

All fruit and vegetable juices contain water and nutrients, and some contain fibre as well. Constipation occurs when a person has fewer than three bowel movements per week, where the stool that is supposed to be excreted from the body will remain in the digestive tract and harden over time, causing difficulty and pain while passing [10].

The symptoms of constipation include the following [11]:

  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Hard or lumpy stools
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Feeling like you cannot fully empty your bowels

In most cases of constipation, especially occasional ones, making diet and lifestyle changes is very effective [12]. Taking over-the-counter laxatives can be followed as a short-term solution because prolonged use of laxatives can result in dehydration and in some cases, addiction [13].

Drinking certain types of fruit juices can help in relieving constipation in some people. These juices, that are made from fresh fruits and vegetables contain dietary fibre and sorbitol, both of which help regulate bowel movements [14]. Also, the large quantities of water can also soften hard stool while keeping the body hydrated [15].

Fresh fruit juices are naturally good for your health and can do wonders, especially during the summer season. Some of the most effective fresh fruit juices that help relieve constipation are mosambi juice, pineapple juice, watermelon juice, lemon juice, orange juice, apple juice and cucumber juice [16].

And today, we will explore how orange juice can help in relieving constipation.

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Is Orange Juice Good For Constipation?

As we all know, orange juice is the liquid extract of the orange tree fruit. Commercial orange juice that is available at supermarkets has a long shelf life - which does not necessarily mean it is good. The fruit juices with a long shelf life are made by pasteurising the juice and removing the oxygen from it, which removes much of the taste (creating the need for artificial flavour) [17].

On exploring the overall health benefits of orange juice, it has a high concentration of vitamin C, but also a very high concentration of simple sugars that are comparable to soft drinks [18].

Here are some of the benefits of drinking orange juice in controlled quantities [19][20]:

  • Orange juice is high in antioxidants and thereby may help protect against chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes [21].
  • Orange juice may help prevent kidney stones as it can increase the pH of urine, making it more alkaline [22].
  • Orange juice has also been shown to increase levels of good HDL cholesterol and hence, improve heart health.
  • Orange juice possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

While making fresh orange juice, it is advised NOT to drain out the fibre and pulp of the fruit as it is where some of the most beneficial components of the drink are. So, how does orange juice with pulp help relieve constipation, let's take a look?

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Orange Juice For Constipation

  • Fibre promotes bowel movement: One of the major causes of constipation is the lack of fibre in one's diet [23]. A diet inadequate in fibre content can cause internal problems with your digestive system and worsen constipation [24]. Drinking orange juice with the pulp can provide the required fibre and stimulate your bowels, easing the process of emptying your system off wastes every day.
  • Enhances peristaltic movement: The peristaltic movement also called as the Peristalsis refers to the contraction and relaxation of food in the oesophagus and the food pipe when the food is forced down the track to the stomach [25]. Peristaltic movement is essential for the movement of food down the stomach and bowels down the anus. Orange juice helps enhance the peristaltic activity, thus eliminating the waste from the body and relieving constipation [26].
  • Acts like a laxative: Studies have pointed out that orange juices have lots of stool-softening vitamin C and naringenin, a flavonoid that can work as a laxative [27].

Therefore, in conclusion, it is safe to say that orange juice WITH PULP is good for relieving constipation [28]. Now, let's take a look at some healthful and fun juice mixes that can help relieve constipation.

7 Yoga Poses To Get Relief From Constipation

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1. Orange and prune juice for constipation

Ingredients

  • ½ cup prune juice
  • ½ cup orange juice (with pulp)

Directions

  • Take a glass, pour the juices together.
  • Mix well and drink.

Note: If required, you can drink this juice combination again after a few hours

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2. Orange and aloe vera juice for constipation

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 cup of orange juice (with pulp)

Directions

  • Take the aloe vera leaf and extract fresh aloe gel from the leaf using a spoon.
  • Mix this with the orange juice and drink it.

Note: Repeat this after 4-5 hours if there is no relief.

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3. Orange juice with olive oil for constipation

Ingredients

  • 1 glass orange juice (with pulp)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

  • Add the olive oil in a glass with the orange juice.
  • Mix well and drink for relief.

Note: You can also use castor oil or flaxseed oil instead of olive oil.

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How Much Orange Juice Should I Drink For Constipation?

If you decide to try drinking orange juice to relieve constipation, keep in mind that a small amount of juice may be all you need. According to the guidelines of CDC, adults can drink just a half to a full cup of juice, once per day, preferably in the morning [29].

People who can tolerate small amounts of juice can slowly increase their juice intake to an upper limit of 1-2 servings per day. The small increase is because a sudden increase in fibre consumption can cause digestive discomfort, diarrhoea and even worsen constipation [30].

If you cannot make some at home, make sure you buy 100 per cent fruit juices and not the ones with added preservatives.

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Does Orange Juice Have Any Side Effects?

Like any other food item, orange juice is not without some potential downsides. These are the downsides of orange juice, so remember to always drink in moderate quantities [31][32].

  • It is high in calories
  • It may raise blood sugar levels (overconsumption)
  • Not safe for diabetic individuals
  • Individuals with diarrhoea should avoid orange juice as the different types of sugar may worsen diarrhoea and stomach pain
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On A Final Note…

The takeaway from this article is that, if you want to get constipation relieving properties of orange juice, drink it with the pulp so that the fibre content is not lost. Apart from drinking fresh fruit juices, people can find relief from constipation by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes.

Diets high in fibre and low in processed foods also help reduce constipation. If constipation continues for a longer period of time, consult a doctor immediately as it could be an indication of other diseases.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can orange juice cause constipation?

A: No.

Q. Which juice is good for constipation?

A: Apart from orange juice, prune, apple and pear juice are extremely beneficial for treating constipation.

Q. Why does orange juice give me diarrhoea?

A: In some people, orange juice can cause diarrhoea as it contains different types of sugar such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, and sorbitol. In people who are already suffering from diarrhoea, the fruit juice can make it worse and cause stomach pain.

Q. Can orange juice hurt your stomach?

A: Generally, fruit juices are good for your health but in some people, it can upset their stomach. People, medically termed as "fructose malabsorbers" can find it impossible to drink orange juice due to the adverse effect it can have on their digestive system - that is their body has difficulty processing the natural sugar in the juice.

Q. Can you drink too much orange juice?

A: Overconsuming any particular food can have detrimental effects on health and orange juice is no exception to this. Drinking excessive amounts can cause problems, including an increased risk for obesity, tooth decay, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas and abdominal discomfort.

Q. Is Orange Juice Good for flu?

A: Orange juice is a good source of vitamin C, which some studies suggest may help lessen the duration of colds and flu.

Q. What happens if I drink orange juice every day?

A: As mentioned above, drinking ½-1 cup of orange juice a day can be a healthy addition but more excessive consumption can harm your tooth enamel and wear it down.

Q. Why orange juice is bad?

A: In addition to the plethora of health benefits the juice offers, orange juice is also high in calories and sugar which may contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar. Drink it in moderation and opt for fresh-squeezed or 100 per cent orange juice.

Q. Can orange juice make you feel sick?

A: Generally, no. In fact, it can help ease nausea.

Q. Is Orange Juice hard to digest?

A: No. Orange juice is an easily digestible carbohydrate source. For people with digestion problems, a small glass of orange juice with a balanced meal can be a great addition.

Q. How much orange juice should you drink a day?

A. Experts recommend ½ to 1 cup of 100 per cent fruit juice per day for adults and older children, and ½ cup for younger kids each day.

Q. When should I drink orange juice?

A: It is always better not to drink it on an empty stomach.

Q. Is Orange Juice fattening?

A: While it is a healthy choice for a fresh fruit drink, orange juice is also high in calories and sugar, so it is best to consume it in moderation.

Q. Can drinking too much orange juice cause urinary tract infection?

A: It will not cause it but can worsen it as a lot of acid content in your body can irritate the bladder.

Karthika ThirugnanamClinical Nutritionist and Dietitian
MS, RDN (USA)
Karthika Thirugnanam
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