Having regular bowel movements is an important part of maintaining digestive health. Constipation, or difficulty having bowel movements, is a common problem that can cause discomfort. Some people find that drinking apple juice helps promote bowel regularity. Here’s a look at the evidence behind using apple juice for constipation relief.
How Apple Juice May Help With Constipation
Apple juice contains fiber, nutrients, and water content that may help get things moving in your digestive tract. Here are some of the ways apple juice may help with constipation:
- Fiber – Apple juice contains soluble fiber from apples, which adds bulk to stool and helps food and waste move through your system more easily.
- Sorbitol – Apple juice contains sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic laxative by drawing water into the intestines to soften stool.
- Fluids – Staying hydrated is key for healthy bowel function. Apple juice adds fluid volume to help loosen stool.
- Potassium – Apple juice is a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that helps regulate muscle contractions in the digestive tract to coordinate bowel movements.
The fiber, sorbitol, fluids and potassium in apple juice all work together to get your bowels moving more regularly when constipation strikes.
Apple Juice Nutrition Facts
Here’s a look at the nutrition facts for 1 cup (248 grams) of unsweetened apple juice:
As you can see, apple juice provides a decent amount of potassium and some fiber per serving, along with vitamin C, magnesium, and other nutrients.
How Much Apple Juice Should You Drink for Constipation Relief?
There’s no standardized amount of apple juice that’s guaranteed to help get things moving. Experts typically recommend drinking around 8 ounces (240 ml) of apple juice per day as a natural laxative.
You can try drinking a glass in the morning on an empty stomach or before bedtime. See if this small daily amount helps provide relief without excess calories or carbs from too much apple juice.
Some people report drinking larger amounts like 16-24 ounces (475-710 ml) when they feel constipated provides quick relief. Just keep in mind that too much apple juice can cause diarrhea, gas or bloating.
Tips for Using Apple Juice as a Laxative
Here are some tips to get the best results when using apple juice as a natural laxative:
- Shake it – Shake up the apple juice before you drink it. This mixes the insoluble fiber throughout the juice for better effects.
- Make it fresh – Drink freshly squeezed or pressed apple juice when possible. It will have more fiber and nutrients than store-bought juice.
- Drink it cold – Cold apple juice may work faster as the temperature change helps stimulate the digestive tract.
- Pair with probiotics – Drink apple juice along with probiotic foods like yogurt to support bowel regularity.
- Avoid excess sugar – Choose unsweetened apple juice and avoid added sugars that can worsen diarrhea.
Apple Juice Versus Prune Juice for Constipation
Prune juice is another popular natural laxative. So how does it compare to apple juice for constipation relief?
Both prune juice and apple juice contain fiber, sorbitol, and potassium to help get things moving. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each:
|Apple Juice||Prune Juice|
In general, prune juice may provide faster and more effective relief, while apple juice is gentler and tastes better. You can try alternating between the two or mixing a small amount of prune juice with apple juice.
Safety and Side Effects
For most people, drinking a moderate amount of apple juice to stay regular is safe. However, there are some potential side effects and cautions to be aware of:
- Weight gain – Apple juice is high in natural sugar and calories. Drinking too much can lead to extra calories and weight gain.
- Blood sugar spikes – The carbohydrates in apple juice can cause blood sugar spikes, especially in diabetics.
- Diarrhea – Excess apple juice may have a laxative effect and lead to loose stools or diarrhea.
- Bloating and gas – Too much fiber and sorbitol from juice can sometimes cause abdominal discomfort.
- Dental erosion – Acids in apple juice may erode tooth enamel over time, so avoid swishing it around your mouth.
Drink apple juice in moderation and avoid giving it to infants under six months old. Check with your doctor before using as a home remedy if you have diabetes or digestive issues.
The Bottom Line
Enjoying a small glass of apple juice per day may help get your bowel movements regular. The fiber, nutrients, fluids and compounds like sorbitol appear to help alleviate constipation for many people. Pair apple juice with other high fiber foods and stay active for the best results. But check with your doctor if problems persist.
Apple juice is a gentle and generally safe natural laxative to try when you’re feeling backed up. Just be aware of your individual tolerance and potential side effects with too much. Moderation is key to harnessing the benefits of apple juice for constipation relief.