Orange juice is one of my favorite refreshing drinks, especially with breakfast! Can it help make you poop more though?
Orange juice will help to relieve constipation because oranges are packed with dietary fiber. Dietary fiber binds water to stools making them softer, and easier to pass. Oranges also have water, Vitamin C, and phytochemicals, which are also known to increase bowel movements.
If you want to know EXACTLY how orange juice is going to affect your bowels, how much you should drink, and what other juices you can use for constipation relief, then make sure you keep reading!
Can Orange Juice Help With Constipation?
Constipation is defined as the condition in which one has fewer than normal bowel movements and is characterized by hard stool, painful bowel movements, straining when passing stool and incomplete bowel emptying.1
Unsurprisingly, diet plays a role in the etiology of the condition. Sure, constipation can be caused by other factors like medications (e.g. those that slow intestinal transit time). And some non-dietary lifestyle factors like low physical activity levels can also contribute to the problem.
But, in most cases, poor dietary practices are to blame and a lack of fruits and vegetables tops the list.
Certain fruits like oranges, and their derivative juices, have long been known to help increase bowel movement frequency. Here’s how…
- Fiber. Unlike other juices, orange juice tends to have a decent amount of fiber, especially when you opt for the high pulp variety. The pulp in orange juice is made up of what’s known as viscous fiber. Dietary fiber affects intestinal transit time and binds water causing a softer stool consistency making bowel movements easier.2,3
- High water content. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, and oranges are no exception. By altering water balance, insufficient fluid intake is one of the main dietary factors contributing to constipation.1,4
- Vitamin C and phytochemicals. Most know that orange juice is high in vitamin C and phytochemicals which act in various ways to help pass bowel movements.
How Much Orange Juice Should You Drink For Constipation Relief?
The benefits of orange juice in helping alleviate constipation can be seen with intakes as low as 8oz per day. So, it may be best to start with a cup daily and increase the amount if you feel you could benefit from more.
Unlike some measures for alleviating gastrointestinal issues, orange juice consumption carries zero risks for healthy individuals.
Orange juice is a good source of vitamin C and other nutrients, and the carbohydrates are not considered “added sugar” which is the new metric promoted by major health organizations for moderating sugar intake.
So, even if you’re a non-responder, you can still benefit from upping your consumption of fruit juice.
Is Orange Juice a Natural Laxative?
Orange juice contains a number of bioactive compounds many of which may serve as laxatives. Naringenin, a phytochemical abundant in oranges, has long been regarded as a natural laxative via altering gene expression.5
Keep in mind that this is just one molecule. Most phytochemicals are poorly understood, and there are likely countless more present in oranges that account for the laxative properties of the juice.
5 Other Juice That Makes You Poop
Mother Nature offers many natural remedies for aiding common gastrointestinal maladies like constipation.
Here we’ll look at a few juices other than OJ that are thought to confer anti-constipation benefits.
- Prune juice. Prunes are powerful in alleviating constipation. The juice contains a decent amount of fiber and sugar alcohol known as sorbitol.
- Pineapple juice. Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain. It’s thought to help constipation by speeding up gastric emptying.
- Apple juice. Like prunes, apples also contain sorbitol. Sugars like sorbitol are poorly absorbed so they help pull water into the GI tract which helps produce a bowel movement.
- Lemon juice. The juice of lemons is high in vitamin C which helps pull water into the GI tract.
- Cucumber juice. Cucumbers are high in water which helps prevent dehydration-induced constipation. Also, the seeds of cucumbers are thought to have laxative properties.6
Why Orange Juice Might Give You Diarrhea?
Keep in mind that the flip side of a food being good for constipation, is that it can induce diarrhea if consumed in excess.
Per the World Health Organization (WHO) diarrhea is the passage of three or more loose excessively stools per day.7
The stool becomes excessively loose when too much fluid is drawn into the GI tract. Orange juice is high in vitamin C and other osmotically active solutes which trigger this process if consumed in excess.
It’s unlikely that juice alone would cause diarrhea, but it’s something to keep in mind if you plan to use fruit juice to help with constipation.
- Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process (pg. 371). L. Mahan-Janice Raymond – Elsevier 2017. ISBN 9780323340755
- Erdogan E, et al. Randomized Clinical Trial: Soluble/Insoluble Fiber or Psyllium for Chronic Constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Jul; 44(1): 35-44. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4891216/
- 5 Natural Ways to Soften Your Stool. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/natural-stool-softeners
- M J Arnaud. Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation? Eur J Clin Nutr . 2003 Dec;57 Suppl 2:S88-95. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14681719/
- Jianqiao Yin, et al. Naringenin induces laxative effects by upregulating the expression levels of c-Kit and SCF, as well as those of aquaporin 3 in mice with loperamide-induced constipation. Int J Mol Med . 2018 Feb;41(2):649-658. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29207043/
- Pulok K Mukherjee, et al. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber. Fitoterapia . 2013 Jan;84:227-36. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23098877/
- Diarrhoeal Disease, World Health Organization (WHO) https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diarrhoeal-disease