Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It occurs when you have infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stool. Constipation can make you feel sluggish, bloated, and uncomfortable. While there are many medical treatments available, some people look to natural remedies like juice to help relieve their symptoms.
What Causes Constipation?
There are several potential causes of constipation:
- Not enough fiber in your diet
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Lack of exercise
- Certain medications
- Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
- Health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome
The most common cause is a diet low in fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps move it through your digestive system. When you don’t get enough, your stool can become hard and difficult to pass.
How Juice May Help Relieve Constipation
Drinking juice is one natural way people try to get things moving when constipated. Juices made from fruits and vegetables provide fluids and nutrients that may help soften stool and act as a natural laxative.
Here are some of the ways juice may help:
- Provides fluid: Staying hydrated is key for preventing constipation. Juice adds fluid which helps soften your stool.
- High in fiber: The fiber found naturally in juice can add bulk to your stool and stimulate your digestive system.
- Packed with nutrients: Juices made from fruits and veggies provide important vitamins and minerals that support your overall health.
- Natural laxative effects: Some juices made from prune, pear, apple, and celery contain sorbitol, a natural laxative.
While juice can be helpful for constipation in moderation, it should not completely replace eating whole fruits and vegetables which provide more fiber.
Best Juices for Constipation Relief
Certain juices may be better than others at helping get things moving. Here are some of the top juices to try when constipated:
1. Prune juice
Prune juice is commonly used as a natural laxative. Prunes contain something called dihydrophenylisatin, which has a laxative effect by stimulating the nerves in your digestive tract. The high sorbitol content also pulls water into the intestines to help soften stool.
Some research shows prune juice produces a laxative effect within 6-12 hours. Start with 4-8 ounces per day and be sure to drink lots of water with it.
2. Pear juice
Like prune juice, pear juice contains sorbitol which acts as a mild laxative when consumed in large amounts. Pears also provide fiber and potassium which can help relieve constipation.
Aim for about 8 ounces of pure pear juice on an empty stomach in the morning. You can also try mixing it with prune or apple juice.
3. Apple juice
Apple juice contains sorbitol, vitamin C, and antioxidants. The sorbitol provides a laxative effect while the nutrients support your overall digestive health.
Drink an 8 ounce glass of apple juice first thing in the morning. You can also mix it with prune juice or lemon juice to enhance the benefits.
4. Cherry juice
While not quite as potent as prune or pear juice, cherry juice contains sorbitol and potassium which make it a good choice when constipated. It also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Aim for about 8-12 ounces of tart cherry juice per day. Sweet cherry juice may not have the same benefits.
5. Lemon juice
Some people find that lemon juice helps stimulate bowel movements. Citric acid may help your body better absorb fluids which softens stool. Lemon also contains vitamin C.
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to warm water first thing in the morning. You can also mix lemon juice with other fruit juices.
6. Wheatgrass juice
Wheatgrass is a source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. It contains fiber and chlorophyll which may help stimulate digestion. Wheatgrass is also a natural laxative.
Start with 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice per day mixed with other fruits and veggies. It has a strong taste so adding sweet juice can help.
7. Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera has long been used to help improve digestive regularity. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and contains compounds that stimulate the intestines.
Drink 2-4 ounces of aloe juice daily. Look for juice that is at least 99% aloe vera.
8. Celery juice
Celery juice contains antioxidants and polysaccharides that have a beneficial effect on your gastrointestinal system. It also provides electrolytes like potassium.
Drink 2-4 ounces of pure celery juice on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before eating. Start slow as it can act as a diuretic.
9. Spinach juice
Spinach is high in fiber, vitamin K, and magnesium – all of which support healthy digestion. The nutrients help move stool through your colon.
Enjoy 2-4 ounces of spinach juice per day. Combine it with sweet fruits like apple or berries.
10. Carrot, apple, ginger juice
For a combo approach, try juicing carrots, apples, and ginger. Ginger acts as a stimulant for your digestive system. Apples provide sorbitol. Carrots offer antioxidants.
Drink 8-12 ounces of this juice per day. Adjust ratios to suit your tastes.
Other Tips for Making and Drinking Juice for Constipation
Here are some other pointers to follow when using juice to relieve constipation:
- Use a slow juicer – This preserves more nutrients compared to fast, centrifugal juicers.
- Drink juice on an empty stomach – This allows it to move through your system easier.
- Focus on lower sugar options – Too much fruit sugar can have the opposite effect.
- Add chia seeds – They absorb liquid and add fiber to help “bulk up” your juice.
- Avoid overdoing it – Too much can cause diarrhea so start with small amounts.
- Pair with food – Eat balanced meals with fiber while also drinking juice.
- Watch caffeine – Beverages like coffee and tea can dehydrate you and worsen constipation.
Juice Recipes to Try
Here are some tasty juice recipes to help get things moving when you’re backed up:
- 1 cup prune juice
- 1 small apple, peeled and cored
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 inch ginger, peeled
- 1 cucumber
- 2 stalks celery
- Handful of spinach
- 1 apple
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 2 celery stalks
- 2-4 ounces aloe vera juice
- 1 inch ginger
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 pear
- 1 apple
- 5 carrots
- 1 inch ginger
Benefits Beyond Constipation Relief
Drinking juice for constipation can provide additional benefits beyond just keeping you regular. Some of the positives include:
- Weight loss – Juices are low in calories and drinking them can lead to reduced body weight over time.
- Clearer skin – The nutrients in juices, especially greens, can improve skin tone and appearance.
- Energy boost – Juices provide easily absorbed nutrition to make you feel energized.
- Improved immunity – The antioxidants and nutrients in juice support immune function.
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds in juice like beta-carotene have anti-inflammatory properties.
Precautions with Juicing
While drinking juice can be an effective natural laxative, there are some precautions to keep in mind:
- Avoid juicing daily long-term – It may cause dependence for bowel movements.
- Don’t completely replace whole fruits/veggies – Juice removes important fiber for digestion.
- Watch sugar content – Some juices have high amounts of natural sugars.
- Introduce slowly – Start with small amounts and work up to avoid diarrhea.
- Not a cure-all – See your doctor if constipation persists or if you experience pain.
When to See Your Doctor
While using juice to relieve occasional constipation is usually fine, make sure to see your doctor if:
- Symptoms last more than 3 days
- You experience abdominal pain or vomiting
- Stool contains blood or mucus
- Changes in bowel habits last more than 2 weeks
- You lose weight unintentionally
Chronic constipation may be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs proper diagnosis and treatment. Seek professional help to find relief and avoid complications.
The Bottom Line
When you’re constipated and feeling backed up, drinking certain juices may help stimulate bowel movements and restore regularity. Juices like prune, pear, apple, lemon, and aloe vera contain compounds that draw water into your colon to soften stool. They also provide fluid, electrolytes, and nutrients that support healthy digestion.
Aim for about 8 ounces of juice at a time, focusing on milder options to avoid diarrhea. While juice can be an effective natural laxative, make sure to also eat plenty of high fiber whole foods and stay hydrated. If constipation persists or you experience other symptoms, see your doctor to address the underlying cause.