Regardless of age, constipation is one of the common gastrointestinal problems faced by many people. Constipation occurs when it is difficult and painful to defecate the stools. This happens when the colon absorbs the water from the stools when it stays in the intestines for a long time.
The main reasons for constipation are dehydration, lack of fiber in diet and lack of physical activity. Home remedies like prunes, olive oil and castor oil are the safe and effective laxatives to treat constipation. In this article, let’s have a look at how prunes are effective…
Why is Prune Effective in Treating Constipation?
- Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber improves the digestive system by stimulating a wave movement of intestinal muscles (peristalsis) which moves the food through digestive system. It breaks down the blockages causing constipation by absorbing the water. It also helps in proper absorption of nutrients.
- Non-soluble Fiber: Non-soluble fiber is not digestible and pass through the body without harming. Insoluble fiber draws up large amount of water and bulks up the stools. This makes the bowel pass freely and decrease the transit time. It encourages growth of healthy bacteria in the gut to improve digestion.
- Sorbitol: Prunes contain 15% sorbitol which helps in drawing back the lost water content into the colon. This helps to loosen and soften the stool.
- Dihydrophenylisation: It is a chemical substance present in the prune’s skin. It stimulates the movement in the intestines, increases fluid secretion which softens the stools.
- Active Digestive Enzymes: Vitamin A, potassium and various minerals are present in prunes which help to activate the digestive enzymes. The activated digestive enzymes help to move up the stools quickly through the colon and rectum. The potassium present in it draws back the water lost, strengthens the colon against harmful bacteria.
Prunes or Prune Juice – Which one is Effective?
To treat constipation, you can either consume prunes or prune juice. You have to choose one of them as per your problem. For example, prunes are rich in fiber which may result in bloating and gas. If a little bloating is ok for you then you can choose prunes or else it is better to go with prune juice. While selecting prune juice make sure to avoid the ones which contain added pulp. Added pulp again contains fibers which lead to bloating.
What is the Right Dosage of Prune to Treat Constipation?
General recommendation for constipation is 50gm dried prunes in a day. Approximately, 7 medium sized prunes will weigh 50gms. The amount of prunes should be adjusted as per your constipation state.
Mild Constipation: 3 – 4 prunes per day is enough to provide relief.
Moderate Constipation: 6 – 9 prunes per day is advisable. This dosage can also be used if you want to start a bowel movement even when you are not particularly constipated.
Severe Constipation: 10 – 12 prunes per day. If this dosage is not working for you, then consult a doctor right away.
Note: Sometimes, having more than required doesn’t provide results. Adding more fiber doesn’t always stimulate a bowel movement. In fact it dehydrates the body which worsens the problem. So, it is very important to stick to the right amount of prunes consumption per day. It is advisable to start with a lower dose and increase as required.
What is the Right Dosage of Prune Juice to Treat Constipation?
If don’t like eating prunes then you can just drink prune juice.
For Adults: 4 – 8 ounces of prune juice in the morning ensures a proper colonic stimulation. If didn’t have a bowel movement since 3 days then take 3 glasses of prune juice a day. Drinking a glass of water before prune juice increases the effectiveness.
A glass of heated prunes juice in the morning leads to bowel movements in the evening. A glass of warm prune juice before going to bed eases the bowel movements in the morning.
For Infants: As per Mayo Clinic, 2 – 4 ounces of prune juice is advisable. Adjust the amount as per the need. If you’re treating a baby or small child for constipation, 2 ounces of prune juice per day should suffice. If the child doesn’t like the juice, try prune juice popsicles—they’re just as effective.
How to Include Prunes in your Daily Diet to Cure Constipation?
There are different ways of including prunes in daily routine. Here are a few of them…
- Three dried prunes contain 3.9 grams of fiber, and a whole cup of raw pitted prunes contain 12 grams.
- Eating prunes for a quick snack will cure your constipation.
- You can also drink 2 glasses of prune juice a day, or mix prune juice into a banana smoothie for a healthy breakfast.
- Add chopped prunes to pancake or muffin batter, or sprinkle them onto your salad, cereal, or oatmeal.
2. Prunes with Apple Sauce
This combination increases the fiber content in the body which regulates bowel movements properly.
- In a bowl, add ¼ cup each of prunes and apple sauce and 1/2 cup of bran.
- Eat 1 – 2 tablespoons of mixture and drink 6 – 8 ounces of water or juice.
- Repeat the consumption daily in the evening.
3. Prune Jam
Preparing prune jam is very easy. The prune jam contains a lot of fiber. Here is the process of making prune jam at home.
- To a saucepan, add 1 cup of chopped dried prunes, 1 cup of chopped dry fruits (fig, apricot or dates) and 2 cups of boiling water.
- Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes and remove from the flame.
- Pour the solution into a jar while it is still hot and cover with a lid tightly.
- You can store it for few days without refrigeration. Prepare another batch once it finishes as prunes are available around the year.
- Consume 1 tablespoon of prune jam daily with rice cracker or whole wheat bread.
4. Prune Juice
Most of the people find it hard to make prune juice with dried prunes as they don’t contain any water content. If you are one of them, then this process is for you.
- Remove the stones from prunes.
- Soak or simmer dried prunes in water in the ration of (1:5). It helps to soften them a little for juicing.
- Along with the water, add the soaked or boiled prunes in the juicer.
- Blend them for few minutes and pour the juice into a glass.
Note: Don’t add more amounts of water as it can make the juice bland. For making prune juice, a masticating juicer works much better than centrifugal juicer.
5. Apple Prune Delight
If you don’t like to drink prune juice alone, then try this recipe as it makes a tasty and amazing drink.
- Combine 65gms of stoned prunes and 350ml of apple juice in a bowl.
- Leave the mixture for few hours or overnight.
- In to a blender, add the apple juice-prunes mixture, 3 tablespoons of yogurt, and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Blend for a minute and pour into a glass to serve.
6. Energizing Breakfast with Prunes
- In to a blender, add 8 prunes (stoned and ready to eat), 1 apple (chopped), 2 pears (chopped) and content of 1 small carton of yogurt.
- Blend for a minute and pour into a glass to serve.
7. High Energy Prune Juice
- Into a blender, add 25gms of prunes (stoned and ready to eat), 125gms of spinach and 2 pears (chopped).
- Blend until smooth and pour into a glass to serve.
8. Stewed Prunes for Constipation
Stewed prunes are one of the effective ways to treat constipation. For this process, you can either use fresh prunes or dried prunes. If you are using dried prunes, then you can soak them for few hours prior using them. Stewed prunes can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated to keep them fresh.
- Into a medium sized soup pot, add 2 1/2 cup of water and 2 cups of pitted prunes.
- Bring the mixture to boil on medium-high flame.
- Once the mixture starts boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
- Once the prunes are soft, remove from the flame and let the stewed prunes cool down.
- Eat stewed prunes regularly prevents constipation.
Recipe 2: with Orange Juice
- Soak 1 pound of pitted prunes in 2-3 cups water. Let it soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- In the morning, add the soaked prunes, some water, and ½ cup orange juice to a soup pan and bring them to boil.
- Reduce the heat, add ¼ cup sugar and allow the stew to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Increase heat and boil again for 2-3 minutes and remove from the flame.
- Let the stew to cool before eating.
Recipe 3: with Lemon Juice
- Add 1 cup of prunes, 1 ½ cups water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a soup pot and Bring the mixture to boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Let the stew cool down and eat it with a few lemon slices.
Other Ways of Including Prunes in Diet:
Apart from prune juice, jam and stewed prunes, below are few ways you can include prunes in diet.
- For a Middle Eastern inspired meal, you can serve stewed prunes with rosemary braised lamb.
- Blend stewed prunes into a puree. Add cinnamon powder, coriander powder, honey and yogurt to the prune puree and serve.
- Add stewed prunes on waffles or pancakes.
- To make homemade trail mix, combine diced prunes and other dry fruits.
- If you are looking for a delicious poultry stuffing, then try prunes.
- You can also add prune puree to lean ground beef before shaping them for burgers.
How Much Time Will It Take for Prune Juice to Work?
It depends on the level of constipation you are dealing with. You may get relief from few hours to a week. If constipation is left untreated, it can lead to severe constipation.
Though prunes are effective in treating constipation, few precaution should be considered to avoid negative experience.
- Prunes contain oxalates which are beneficial if taken in small amounts. Excess consumption decreases the body’s ability of consuming calcium. So, you can have to increase calcium content in your diet if you are eating prunes in large amounts or afraid of calcium deficiency. If you have gall bladder issues or kidney stones, then you have to be more careful as unabsorbed calcium can contribute to those ailments.
- Right dosage is very important when you are dealing with prunes. Excess amounts of prunes cannot be handled by our body. It can lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Observe your body reactions and change the amount of prunes as per it.
If you are experiencing chronic constipation or if consumption of prunes didn’t solve the problem, consult a doctor for professional advice. Also talk to your doctor, if you are experiencing
- Abdominal or rectal pain
- Thin stool
- Blood in stool
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss
Was this article helpful for you? Do you have any other method that works better than the method mentioned above? Share your experience and suggestions in the comments section below.