If ever complain about constipation, there will always be a well-meaning smart-aleck suggesting you try eating grapes, apparently a natural laxative.
Is that true? Are grapes a laxative that will get your bowels moving?
Table of Contents
Are grapes a laxative?
Yes, grapes can certainly help you when you suffer from constipation. Since constipation is often a result of dehydration, these fruits that consist of 70% water are perfect for those that need to stay hydrated but do not like drinking water. Other than that, their high fiber content helps soften the stool.
Constipation is also often connected to the body not receiving enough vitamins and minerals, which is why eating fruit or vegetables, in general, is a good idea when suffering from this problem.
RELATED: Does Mango Make You Poop?
Eating lots of fiber is central to healthy gut activity, and grapes contain a lot of insoluble fiber.
Insoluble means that the fiber is not broken down in the digestive process but remains intact. Thereby, it attracts water to your stool and makes it soft.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol. Therefore, both kinds of fiber are important for a sound diet.
Grapes also help to keep the gut flora, which are the microorganisms living in your gut, healthy. A healthy gut flora is not only important for digestion, but also ensures a strong immune system, and helps prevent diabetes.
When buying grapes specifically to work as a natural laxative, it is recommended to get red or purple ones. Grape juice is also not nearly as helpful as raw grapes complete with their skin on.
Some people report that eating grapes leads to the opposite problem of constipation - diarrhea. This is not too common, though, in any case, you should not think that consuming grapes excessively will solve all your gut problems.
Focusing only on eating one food en masse does not make for a healthy, well-balanced diet, no matter how healthy said food is!
READ NEXT: Are Cherries a Laxative?
Is Dried Fruit Good For Constipation?
Another common piece of advice for combating constipation is to consume dried fruit. This sounds strange at first- if being hydrated is so important, how can it help to eat fruits that have been deprived of almost all of their water content?
Historically, dried fruit has been helpful to make nutritious fruits last longer in a time before fridges, freezers, cooling bags, and supermarkets in the most out-of-the-way places.
It made it possible for people to be supplied with vitamins on long trips.
Nowadays, fresh fruit is never further away than a quick trip to the store, but many people still enjoy dried fruit for its strong flavor, chewy texture, and supposed health benefits. But how healthy is it really?
When it comes to grapes specifically, raisins might be even better to aid with digestion than grapes are, since they contain about three times the amount of fiber that grapes have.
Are Dried Plums (Prunes) a Laxative?
Dried plums, called prunes, are the dried fruits that are known to be the best natural laxatives. Aside from fiber, they contain sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which stimulates digestion.
Some people have a sorbitol intolerance, though, which can lead to digestive problems, especially when consuming products in which sorbitol is added as a sweetener.
In general, though, prunes are known to help with constipation even better than psyllium, a common remedy for this problem.
All in all, dried fruit is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, all its nutrients are concentrated in a smaller space than in fresh fruit, but, on the other hand, this also goes for sugar and calories.
Since it is often the high water content in fresh fruit that makes you feel full, it takes more dried fruit to achieve the same feeling, which makes it very easy to overeat on these snacks.
Especially people with diabetes should not consume a high amount of dry fruit, because of its high sugar content.
As opposed to other nutrients, vitamin C is reduced as fruits are dried. This means that fresh fruit is better for boosting your immune system.
When buying dried fruit, it is important to check the labels. Some brands soak their fruit in juice, which enhances the flavor, but adds to the already high sugar content.