Why are my smoothies making me constipated?

Smoothies are often touted as a healthy, fiber-rich food that can help improve digestion. However, some people find that drinking smoothies, especially green smoothies containing leafy greens and fruits, actually makes them feel bloated and constipated. So what gives? Here’s a look at some of the potential reasons smoothies may be binding you up.

Too Much Fiber Too Quickly

One of the main potential culprits behind smoothie-induced constipation is the fiber content. Smoothies are often loaded with high-fiber ingredients like leafy greens, flaxseeds, chia seeds, berries, and more. Fiber is essential for digestive health, but ramping up your fiber intake too quickly can overwhelm your system.

Your body needs time to adjust to increased fiber intake. If you go from 15 grams of fiber per day to 30+ grams overnight by drinking green smoothies, it may cause temporary constipation while your digestive system gets used to the change. Try gradually increasing the amount of high-fiber foods in your diet over several weeks.

Not Enough Fluid

Smoothies are thick and frozen smoothies, in particular, can be quite viscous. All that fiber needs plenty of fluid to move through the digestive tract with ease. If your smoothie is low in liquid or you’re drinking it slowly over time, it may not provide enough hydration to balance out the fiber.

Aim to include a liquid base of at least 1 cup per serving of smoothie. Water, coconut water, almond milk and other liquids help thin out the consistency. Drink your smoothie quickly rather than sipping it gradually so the fluid and fiber move through together.

Raw Leafy Greens

Raw kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are nutritious but can be tough on some people’s digestive systems, especially in large quantities. These fibrous greens may contribute to smoothie constipation.

Try lightly cooking greens before adding them to your smoothie to make them easier to break down. You can also start with just a handful of greens in your smoothies and slowly increase the amount as your body adjusts.

Overconsumption of Thick Fruits

In addition to leafy greens, some fruits can contribute to constipation when consumed excessively. Bananas, mangos, dates, avocados, and figs are all healthy choices, but they are thicker and deliver more fiber compared to watery fruits like berries, melons, pineapple, and citrus.

If your smoothies include multiple thick fruits, the high fiber content could back you up. Try balancing them out by also adding in some water-rich fruits and maybe avoiding more than 1-2 bananas or avocados per batch.

High Protein Intake

Protein powders like whey, soy, and pea protein are popular smoothie boosters. But going overboard on protein can potentially lead to constipation issues. Protein requires a lot of fluid to break down and metabolize.

If you don’t drink enough liquids to move that protein through the digestive tract, it may harden your stool. Moderate your protein portions and aim for around 20-30 grams of protein powder per smoothie. Also make sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Not Enough Healthy Fats

While excess fiber can cause problems, you also need some healthy fats for bowel regularity. Good fats help move things along by lubricating the colon wall so stool can pass easily.

Smoothies often lack sufficient fats, especially if you are focused on low-calorie or low-fat ingredients. Try adding a tablespoon of almond butter, 1/4 of an avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax oil, or olive oil to your smoothies for some healthy fats.

Too Many Binding Foods

Some healthy foods are known for their binding or constipating effects. If you overload your smoothie with several of these ingredients it can definitely back you up.

Try to limit or avoid these constipating foods in your smoothies: bananas, apples, soy milk, rice milk, chocolate, peanut butter, spinach, kale, cabbage, white potato.

Insufficient Chewing

Chewing is an important part of the digestive process. It produces saliva which helps to break down food and prep it for the stomach. When you drink smoothies, there is no chewing involved. So some people may struggle to fully break down and digest the nutrients.

Taking small sips, swishing the smoothie around your mouth, or chewing each sip briefly before swallowing can help mimic chewing. You can also try blending your smoothies a little less thoroughly so they retain some texture to work your chewing muscles.

Food Sensitivities

Some people may have sensitivities to certain foods commonly found in smoothies. Lactose in dairy, fructose in fruit, FODMAPs in certain veggies, gluten in grains, and sugars in general are potential triggers. An intolerance to any of these could contribute to constipation.

If your symptoms seem to get worse when consuming certain smoothie ingredients, try eliminating them for a few weeks and see if it provides relief. Work with a doctor or dietitian to identify and confirm any food intolerances.

Gut Issues

Constipation can also signal issues with the gut environment or digestive health. Imbalances in gut bacteria, low stomach acid, enzyme deficiencies, pelvic floor dysfunction, thyroid problems, and other issues can all manifest as constipation.

If you have persistent problems with constipation, get your gut checked out. Ask your doctor about testing for things like candida overgrowths, SIBO, IBS, leaky gut, etc. Addressing any underlying gut issues can often provide relief.

When to See a Doctor

Occasional constipation from smoothies will often resolve on its own with a few tweaks. But if you have chronic constipation that doesn’t respond to lifestyle and dietary changes, see your doctor to rule out a medical condition.

Seek medical attention right away if your constipation is accompanied by concerning symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stool, extreme bloating, or weight loss.

Tips to Get Relief from Smoothie-Induced Constipation

Tip How It Helps
Gradually ramp up fiber Allows your body time to adjust to increased fiber intake
Drink plenty of fluids Keeps stool soft and supports healthy elimination
Moderate protein portions Prevents too much protein from causing constipation
Add healthy fats Lubricates the colon wall for easier passage
Avoid binding foods Limits constipating ingredients like bananas and dairy
Chew smoothies thoroughly Mimics chewing to improve digestion
Test for food intolerances Removes problematic ingredients that may be triggers
Get checked for gut issues Identifies and treats underlying conditions causing constipation

Smoothie Adjustments to Prevent Constipation

If you want to keep enjoying smoothies without the backed up feeling, try making some adjustments:

  • Use at least 1 cup liquid per serving
  • Add 1-2 tbsp oil or nut butter for healthy fats
  • Include both soluble and insoluble fiber sources
  • Rotate through different fiber-rich produce
  • Limit binding foods like bananas and raw spinach
  • Blend until smooth but not completely liquefied
  • Drink 8-16 oz water shortly after your smoothie
  • Make sure to chew your smoothie
  • Try probiotic foods like kefir and kimchi

Smoothie Ingredients to Help Fight Constipation

To keep your smoothies regularity friendly, try including more of these constipation-busting ingredients:

  • Pears
  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut water
  • Aloe vera juice
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flax
  • Hemp seeds
  • Oats
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir

Sample Regular Smoothie Recipes

Try modeling your smoothies after these balanced recipes that provide fiber, protein and fluids to optimize digestion:

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup mango chunks
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Ice cubes

Green Detox Smoothie

  • 1 cup nut milk
  • 1/2 apple, cored
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup kale
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp spirulina (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Purple Power Smoothie

  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp oats
  • Ice cubes


Smoothies are a convenient and popular way to increase your fruit, veggie and fiber intake. But for some people, fiber-rich smoothies can come with the trade-off of constipation. To keep smoothies regular, focus on getting enough fluids, adding healthy fats, including probiotics, chewing thoroughly and limiting binding foods. Gradually ramp up the fiber content and remember – slow and steady wins the race when it comes to fiber consumption. Pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your smoothie ingredients as needed to find the right balance between optimal nutrition and comfortable digestion.

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