Cranberries are considered a superfood by many people because they are full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Many studies have linked eating cranberries to the lessened risk and slow progression of certain cancers, the decrease of bad cholesterol and blood pressure, promotion of better circulation, prevention of heart disease, and a boost in immune function.
Wow, that’s a LOT of benefits for a berry smaller than a quarter. BUT, that’s not all! Most people also know that cranberries help to prevent urinary tract infections (although there are contrasting studies on this), but what other benefits can be gained from eating cranberries or drinking cranberry juice?
1. Does Cranberry Juice Make You Poop?
You might have heard that drinking cranberry juice will send you straight to the bathroom, but let’s see what the research has to say about this claim.
1.1. Take Care of Your Gut
Cranberries contain magnesium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals that help with constipation and the stimulation of the muscles surrounding your anus. So yes, cranberry juice does help you poop!
Salicylic acid, a compound found in cranberry juice has been linked to a decrease in E.coli which is found in high amounts in individuals with digestive conditions like IBS. E.coli is a type of bacteria that can be naturally found in the intestines. However, some types of E.coli are harmful to us and can cause an infection.
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects the large intestine and causes cramping, bloating, gas, abominable pain, constipation, and diarrhea. The reason why high levels of E.coli are found in people with IBS is because IBS can develop after intense diarrhea that is caused by the overgrowth of bacteria or a virus.
The salicylate found in cranberries increased the amount of Bacteroidaceae in the gut, which helps to boost digestive health. It’s important to take care of your gut and digestive tracts to promote regular bowel movements.
1.2. Drink Your Fluids
Some people experience constipation because they aren’t drinking enough water and then have a hard time going to the bathroom. This is one of the reasons why everyone stressed drinking enough water because your body depends on water in many ways and one of them is to increase bowel movements and make it easier to do so.
Most juices contain a lot of water so drinking cranberry juice can decrease dehydration and relieve constipation. However, there’s no research to prove that cranberry juice in particular does a better job of this than plain water.
So, does cranberry juice make you poop? Yes. However, it is not recommended that you drink cranberry juice solely to help you poop. There can be many different reasons for constipation and digestive problems and cranberry juice might not be the most effective solution.
Even though drinking cranberry juice has many benefits, consuming too much cranberry juice can have its downsides.
2. Does Cranberry Juice Give You Diarrhea?
Drinking too much cranberry juice (more than a liter a day) over a long period of time can produce a laxative effect which can, in turn, cause you diarrhea. If you have difficulty digesting fructose, a type of sugar typically found in fruits, then that could be causing your loose stools.
Fructose is absorbed by the small intestine, but for individuals who have difficulty digesting fructose, some of it migrates to their colon and ferments. The fermentation releases gases like methane and hydrogen which can lead to bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.
If you don’t have any problems digesting fructose then you might not get diarrhea, but because cranberry produces a mild laxative effect and because too much fructose isn’t good for you, then it’s best to limit the amount of cranberry juice you’re drinking.
In addition to diarrhea, drinking too much can cause stomach pain and abdominal cramps. Research also suggests that it can cause kidney stones, due to the levels of oxalate found in cranberries. So, if you have a history of kidney stones then it would be best to drink as little as possible.
The best way to avoid these issues is to drink cranberry juice in moderation.
3. How Much Cranberry Juice Can I Drink A Day?
Now that we’ve identified the benefits of drinking cranberry juice and the disadvantages of drinking excessive amounts you probably want to know how much you should drinking to take advantage of the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls.
According to The Cranberry Institute, drinking 8-16 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail each day is recommended. This will help to prevent urinary tract infections over time.
You need to be careful with juice cocktails though because they contain a little sugar and not that much fruit juice. If you’re trying to keep your weight down then drinking several glasses of this cocktail will only add to your calorie count. Most of the calories come from sugar, since cranberries are typically pretty tart, and so that’s something to look out for.
Also, since cranberry juice is basically devoid of all its fiber, there’s nothing stopping the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and your blood sugar levels could rise. If you’re a diabetic then you want to avoid this at all costs.
The simple sugars will absorb quickly into the bloodstream and lead to a spike which will increase your energy levels. If you know anything about sugar rushes then you also know that after a while your energy will plummet and then you’ll feel super tired and lethargic.
Do NOT drink cranberry juice before you go to bed. As we mentioned before, it can cause an energy spike, and drinking it right before you go to bed is NOT the best way to get a good night’s rest. Some people have reported that the energy spike due to the fructose in cranberry juice actually gave them nightmares. So, I’d avoid that at all costs.
Try searching for 100% pure or natural cranberry juice instead of reaching for the juice cocktail. And try not to buy cranberry juice from concentrate because it will also have a ton of sugar.
Even though cranberry juice isn’t usually the most popular juice due to its tart and bitter flavor, because there are so many studies and articles citing its benefits, people have flocked to this fruit in hopes of reaping those benefits.
Not only are cranberries popular around Thanksgiving time, but now they are a popular addition to our everyday diet. Loaded with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, it’s a good idea to incorporate this fruit into your diet in some way.
While we wouldn’t recommend drinking cranberry juice solely to relieve constipation, it can be useful if you’re having a hard time going regularly. Don’t overdo it though because you don’t want to get diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, or experience an energy crash.
Try drinking a glass of cranberry juice every day and watch your body thrive!
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