The Best Fluffy Pancakes recipe you will fall in love with. Full of tips and tricks to help you make the best pancakes.

Smoothies and Constipation – the Good and the Bad

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Today we are talking about one of those subjects that we would all rather avoid but many of us have run into at some point – constipation.  Whether you get the odd problem now and again or are a chronic constipation sufferer, it is a seriously unpleasant condition.  And while there are lots of ideas about how to deal with it, there seems to be no firm plan.  Smoothies may seem like a great way to help get things moving but there is both good and bad with smoothies and constipation.

Why am I constipated?

Let’s not go into too much details about the how of being constipated but instead look at the why and how to alleviate it.  Constipation is a fancy name for a vital bodily function (the digestive system) not working correctly and can be brought on by a number of reasons.

For me personally, I occasionally suffer from the condition due to taking regular painkillers for a joint condition.  Codeine is known for this as are similar drugs and I find if I don’t get my water intake right, this adds together with the medication to cause the problem.  Luckily, it doesn’t normally last too long for me but I know many people suffer hugely with it.

As well as various medications causing problems, other issues that can lead to constipation include:

  • lack of fibre in the diet
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • high temperature
  • anxiety or depression
  • lack of exercise or being immobile for periods of time
  • underweight or overweight
  • changing your routine in some way
  • pregnancy

Other conditions can also lead to constipation such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer.   Even seemingly unrelated conditions such as an underactive thyroid gland or spinal cord injuries can cause it.

Smoothies and constipation

Smoothies can be a good way to help with treating constipation but some caution needs to be involved as some ingredients can actually make things worse.  Also the additional liquid can help loosen things up so using water and ice is a good tip.

Best fresh fruits to relieve constipation

Prunes (dried plums) – prunes and prune juice have lots of fibre with 2 grams per 28 gram portion.  They also have help stimulate good bacteria in the gut

Apples – including the skin, apples have 4.4 grams of fibre, 17% of the recommended daily amount.  It also contains pectin which helps food pass through the digestive tract quicker

Pears – another one rich in fibre with 22% of the RDA in a medium sized fruit.  It also contains fructose which can stimulate bowel movement in some people

Kiwi – each fruit has around 2 grams of fibre while also helping with stool softening.  It also contains antinidain which helps with gut mobility

Citrus fruits – citrus fruits such as oranges have good amounts of dietary fibre in them as well as pectin.  They also contain something called naringenin which helps to ease the effects of constipation

Rhubarb – this contains sennoside which is the same stuff in the herbal laxative Senna and can help with bowel movement.  It also contains soluble and insoluble fibre

Other helpful ingredients

Seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds can be an ideal way to add fibre to your diet and also can easily be added to smoothies.  A 28 gram potion of chia seeds contains 10.6 grams of fibre which is over 40% of the recommended daily amount.  Chia seeds also form a gel when mixed with water that helps them pass through the body easily.

Greens such as spinach, Brussel sprouts and broccoli are rich in fibre as well as nutrients like Vitamin C and K and folate.  These can also be added to smoothies even if you aren’t a fan of the taste in the case of things like spinach and paired with fruit juices and fruit to mask the flavour.

Keep away from unsprouted nuts when you are constipated as this can make things worse and try to keep off high fat processed foods for the same reason.

Basic smoothies for constipation

For some basic combinations with water to get relief from constipation, you could try:

  • 2 green apples with 3 kiwis and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • 2 green apples, 2 oranges and 1 grapefruit – you can swap one of the apples for juice or even pear juice if you like. Grapefruit has an natural laxative effect.
smoothie with apple or apple juice to help with constipation

A good recipe I saw to act as a constipation stopper was:

  • 6 prunes (pitted)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 cup plain organic yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg

Another recipe can use ice and keep adding until you get the consistency that you like – it also keeps the smoothie cool and makes for a refreshing summer drink.  Just make sure the blender you are using can handle ice:

  • ½ cup juice of your choice
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 orange
  • 5 strawberries
  • 2 spears pineapple
  • ½ cup oatmeal
pineapple smoothie to help with constipation

Green smoothies can be an answer (or not, as we see below).  Combine celery and cucumber with lemon, pineapple and a little ginger for a boost of natural fibre.

Can green smoothies cause constipation?

Green smoothies are huge and are a brilliant way to get all that leafy greens goodness without actually eating them (not my favourite food!) but there is some people who have found that green smoothies can make them constipated.

According to this can be a side effect of too much good stuff too quickly.  Fibre, to be precise.  The normal intake for most people is around 12-15 grams of fibre a day, below the recommended amount.  Then you jump into green smoothies and you are up to around 45 grams or more.  Your body can’t cope with it and all that fibre can block up your system, even causing constipation.

So the advice is simple – build it up gradually to the recommended amount.  If you fall in love with a green smoothie, ration how many you have or how many high fibre ingredients you include in them.  That way you will get all the good and avoid the bad.

Balancing the body

Balancing your body can always be tricky, especially if you are on medication. Always follow medical advice for this first and avoid home remedy ideas for constipation without chatting with a medical professional first. Otherwise, the right smoothies might help ease the situation and even if they don’t, the extra goodness they bring is never a bad thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *