Constipation is no laughing matter, but sometimes a little humor can help. One thing that's not funny? Suffering from painful bowel movements or feeling bloated and uncomfortable because your colon isn't emptying regularly.
Sure, you could turn to laxatives or stool softeners — but what if there were a more natural way to get things moving along down there? Enter cranberries! Specifically, dried cranberries are getting some buzz as a natural remedy for constipation. Here's what you need to know about this fruity cure-all:
What Are Dried Cranberries?
If you've ever had Thanksgiving dinner (or really any American holiday meal) then chances are good that you're familiar with fresh cranberries. These tart berries grow on low-lying shrubs in bogs across North America, and their juice is often used in sauces and cocktails.
But dried cranberries aren't just shriveled up versions of the fresh kind; they're actually sweetened versions that have been infused with sugar to counteract the sourness of raw fruits. While candied fruit might seem like an odd choice for digestive health, bear with us!
The Fiber Factor
So why do people think dried cranberries could be helpful for constipation? For starters, fiber plays a major role in keeping our bowels functioning smoothly by adding bulk to waste materials so they can be easily eliminated from the body.
Many Western diets fail to provide adequate fiber due to high levels of processed foods and animal products compared with plant-based sources such as greens and legumes. That means turning towards other sources of fiber such as seasonally available goods like fresh apples or readily-available beauties packed full o' fiber like lentils (and even popcorn!!).
Fiber makes it possible for food waste residue trapped in your intestines walls move much easier down your digestive tract. This makes it easier for the stools to be passed through your rectum.
One Serving of Dried Cranberries Packs a Fiber Punch
While fresh cranberries offer a decent amount of fiber (1 cup has around 4 grams), dried ones are even more impressive in terms of fiber content relative to their size. According to NutritionData, one quarter-cup serving (about the same size as what you'd use for making oatmeal cookies) contains:
- 3 grams of dietary fiber
- Almost no fat or protein, so they're super-low calorie and won't weigh down your gut
So there you have it! Incorporating just a small handful of dried berries into your meals can provide you with nearly half the daily recommended allowance (25g/day for women; 38g/day for men). Plus, if we may say so ourselves (we may) [emphasis on WE], dried cranberries add flavor and textural elements to practically any dish: salads, yoghurts, oats etc!
Antioxidant Richness Included At No Extra Charge
As if that weren't enough reason include them in your diet—they also happen to boast loads antioxidants such as flavonoids which help keep cells healthy while blasting damaging free radicals. According to some studies — though we won't name our sources!! — regular consumption servings reliably increase antioxidants signals in blood tests.
So basically by adding dry crans into rotation means potentially fewer pesky inflammation-related illnesses such as IBS, intestinal polyps or hemorrhoidal flares! Who knew snacking could be SO forethoughtful about long-term health?
- Experts tend recommend eating mostly whole foods high— especially plant-based alternatives –when it comes those types nutrients because they can amplify each other’s effects and support continuous absorption & varied good bacteria populations – AKA aiding digestion generally.
Where's The Evidence?
While anecdotal evidence abounds online about dried cranberries being a constipation cure, the scientific jury is (as they say) still out. According to an article in Harvard Women's Health Watch, there's simply not enough evidence-based research out there to definitively recommend dried cranberries as a first-line treatment for constipation.
Additionally, whilst beneficial dietary changes like a focus on fiber can be supportive of thriving gut health generally —however—there are many reasons someone may experience symptoms such as constipation more often that go beyond nutritional support or even consumption of common irritants.
Rather than relying on any one food type to remedy complex digestive issues or chronic flare-ups: consultation with gastroenterologist + personal attention towards gut-friendly lifestyle practices – including dietary and environmental hygiene improvements – can provide best results [emphasis on GUT].
That said, incorporating more whole foods including seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet certainly won't hurt.
Other Benefits of Dried Cranberries
You might be wondering whether adding dried cranberries into your life could also bring other potential health perks. Research points tentative at benefits such aiding UTIs better dental health & wound healing due presence proanthocyanidins ingredients which help prevent growth harmful bacteria in the urinary tract and stopping them from sticking around by coating mucus spreading infections.
Plus who doesn’t love sweet(natural sugar)-tart flavor combo in their diet?
Disputing sources between studies view how much efficacy these reported benefits possess + what constitutes clinically-relevant amounts berries intake over extended periods. IBS refers Irritable Bowel Syndrome; condition described by specialists with symptoms ranging severity The people have frequent stronger cramps abdominal discomfort bloating alternating diarrhea /constipations while others experience either/or. UTI stands Urinary Tract Infections– conditions potentially related number different bacterial strains imbalances leading burning sensations when going toilet feeling pain during intercourse etc Can counteract bacteria which triggers plaque formation.