Constipation is the fact of having less than three bowel movements per week; the feces are tough, dry or lumpy; it is painful to have a bowel movement; or there is a feeling that not all stool has passed.
According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is common among all ages and populations in the United States. Approximately 16 out of 100 Adults have symptoms of constipation.
Consume enough fiber in the diet can help prevent and treat constipation. Depending on age and gender, adults should consume 25 to 31 grams of fiber per day. It is important to take much water and other fluids to help the fiber work better.
Getting enough fiber and plenty of fluids should make your stool softer and easier to pass. If dietary changes along with physical activity or over-the-counter medications don’t work, you probably need medical attention.
Prunes are known for their laxative qualities. Eating prunes can mobilize the digestive system and decrease the time between bowel movements.
Using prunes and prune juice may be more effective than other methods to relieve constipation. A study in Pharmacology and Food Therapeutics points out that in constipation, prunes seem superior to psyllium to improve frequency and consistency of stool.
Why can prunes help with constipation?
The effect of prunes is because they are rich in fiber and contain high levels of sorbitol, what is a known laxative.
Foods for Better Health also points out that prunes help by their content in dihydrophenylisatin and because they have vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and potassium that help activate active digestive enzymes. The dihydrophenylisatin in the skin of plums stimulates the bowel movement by increasing fluid secretion to help soften the stool.
Can juice work too?
The prune juice is filtered, so does not have the high fiber content of dried plums. However, the juice also works as a laxative due to its sorbitol content.
Prune juice may be convenient for those people who the fiber in prunes can cause gas and bloating.
How much prune juice should you drink?
For constipation in babies, the Mayo Clinic recommends start with 2 to 4 ounces (about 60 to 120 milliliters) and adjust later if your baby needs more or less.
For the Adults, baby 4 to 8 ounces of prune juice each morning to stimulate bowel movements. When you haven’t passed a stool in a few days, you should drink up to three glasses a day.
How to make prune juice
You need: one cup of plums and five cups of water.
Remove the pits from the prunes. Boil the five cups of water and add a little boiled water to a heatproof container with the prunes. Fill the container until the prunes are submerged and reserve the rest of the boiled water. Let the plums soak for 12 to 24 hours.
Blend the prunes with the standing water until they are soft. Strain and add the remaining water to obtain a liter of juice. Stir and chill. You may store the juice in the refrigerator for up to a week.