Red Cherries: Nature's Laxative?

are red cherries a laxative

Red cherries are a delicious summer snack, but they also have a laxative effect. They contain fibre, sugar alcohols, and salicylates, which can cause digestive issues in some people. The fibre in cherries helps to relieve constipation by adding bulk to stools and speeding up waste movement through the body. However, it is likely that the sugar alcohols and salicylates in cherries are the main contributors to their laxative properties. These compounds can cause abdominal gas, bloating, and diarrhoea, especially when consumed in large amounts. People with gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome may be more sensitive to the effects of cherries. While cherries have many health benefits, it is important to consume them in moderation to avoid any unpleasant side effects.

Characteristics Values
Are red cherries a laxative? Yes
Reason They contain fiber, sugar alcohols (sorbitol and xylitol), and salicylates
Fiber type Soluble and insoluble
Effect of fiber Soluble fiber slows down digestion and insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool
Other fruits with similar levels of sorbitol Watermelon, blackberries, nectarines, pears, apples, avocado
Other fruits that can make you poop Prunes and plums
Recommended daily fiber intake 28 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet


Red cherries contain fibre, a known laxative

Red cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a popular summer treat, enjoyed by many. However, it is important to note that red cherries contain fibre, a known laxative, which can have a significant impact on digestion and bowel movements.

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance and slowing down digestion. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water but acts as a bulking agent, adding bulk to stools and helping to move waste through the body more efficiently.

Red cherries contain both types of fibre, with one cup of sweet cherries providing over 3 grams of fibre. This combination of soluble and insoluble fibre works together to keep the gut healthy and promote regular bowel movements. The insoluble fibre in cherries can speed up the passage of food through the gut, which is why cherries are often associated with a laxative effect.

While the fibre content in cherries is not excessive, it is important to be mindful of the amount consumed. Consuming too many cherries in one sitting can lead to digestive issues, including diarrhoea, abdominal gas, and bloating. This is because the fibre in cherries can draw water into the digestive tract, softening stools and increasing the frequency of bowel movements. Therefore, it is recommended to consume cherries in moderation and spread them out throughout the day rather than eating an entire bag in one sitting.

In addition to their fibre content, red cherries also contain natural compounds such as sugar alcohols and salicylates, which can also contribute to their laxative effect. Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and xylitol, are not completely absorbed in the small intestine and can have a laxative effect when consumed in large amounts. Salicylates, on the other hand, are natural chemicals found in many plant foods, and some individuals may have a sensitivity to them, leading to gastrointestinal upset.

Overall, red cherries are a healthy and nutritious snack, but their fibre content and other compounds can have a significant impact on digestion. It is important to be mindful of portion sizes and combine cherries with other foods to help reduce their potential laxative effect.


They also contain sugar alcohols, which can cause diarrhoea

Cherries are a delicious summer snack, but they can also be a powerful laxative. While the fibre content of cherries is often cited as the reason for their laxative effect, it is more likely that the natural sugar alcohols in cherries are the cause. Even for those without IBS, these sugar alcohols can cause diarrhoea.

Sugar alcohols are more commonly associated with processed foods, like gum and candy, but cherries and some other fruits also contain them. These sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues, especially for those with a sensitivity to sweets containing sugar alcohols. In these cases, even a single serving of cherries can lead to a quick trip to the bathroom.

The sugar alcohols in cherries can be difficult for the body to digest, leading to diarrhoea. This is particularly true for individuals with IBS, as they often have a higher sensitivity to sugar alcohols and fructose, which is also found in cherries.

So, if you're thinking of indulging in a bowl of cherries, it's important to be aware of their potential laxative effects, especially if you have a sensitivity to sugar alcohols or fructose. It's best to start with a small serving and see how your body reacts. Combining cherries with other foods that are well tolerated can also help lessen their impact on the digestive system.


Salicylates in cherries can cause stomach upset

Cherries are a delicious and nutritious summer snack, packed with vitamins and anti-inflammatory nutrients. However, for some individuals, they can cause stomach upset due to the presence of salicylates. Salicylates are naturally occurring substances in cherries, similar to salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. While cherries contain far fewer salicylates than aspirin, they can still trigger a reaction in people who are highly sensitive to this compound.

Salicylate sensitivity can manifest in various ways, including gastrointestinal (GI) distress, such as diarrhoea, stomach pain, and bloating. For individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the sugar alcohols and fructose in cherries can further exacerbate these symptoms. Even without IBS, some people may experience an IBS flare-up due to their sensitivity to salicylates.

The reaction to salicylates is not limited to GI issues. Salicylates have the potential to cause or worsen asthma, swelling, itching, hives, and food intolerance symptoms in sensitive individuals. Additionally, some people may experience allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, to cherries due to their salicylate content.

If you suspect you may have a salicylate sensitivity or allergy, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on managing your condition and advise you on whether cherries or other salicylate-containing foods should be avoided or limited in your diet.

To enjoy cherries without experiencing stomach upset, moderation is key. Most people, even those with some sensitivity to salicylates, can usually tolerate a small serving of cherries without issue. It is recommended to start with a single serving (approximately 7 cherries or 1/2 cup) and gradually increase the amount while monitoring your body's reaction. Additionally, combining cherries with other foods or consuming them as part of a typical meal can help lessen their effect on the GI tract.


Cherries are a natural remedy for constipation

Cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and magnesium. They also contain anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins, which give them their distinctive dark red or purple colour.

But did you know that cherries are also a natural laxative? If you're struggling with constipation, eating cherries may be a helpful solution. Here's how cherries can get things moving in your gut.

High in Fibre

Cherries contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which work together to keep your digestive system healthy and regular. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance that slows digestion and feeds good bacteria in the colon. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, acts as a bulking agent, adding bulk to your stool and helping to move waste through your body more efficiently.

A cup of sweet cherries contains over 3 grams of fibre, which is a good amount to promote healthy bowel movements. However, this amount of fibre alone is usually not enough to cause digestive issues. So, what else is at play?

Contain Sugar Alcohols

Cherries naturally contain sugar alcohols, specifically sorbitol and xylitol. Unlike regular sugar, sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, they draw water into the gut, softening the stool and increasing muscle contractions that move the stool along.

Sugar alcohols can cause a laxative effect, and some people may experience abdominal gas, bloating, and diarrhoea when consuming large amounts of them. This is why eating too many cherries at once can lead to digestive woes for some individuals.

Source of Salicylates

Cherries are also a source of salicylates, which are natural chemicals derived from salicylic acid. Salicylates are commonly found in medications like aspirin, and some people can be sensitive or intolerant to them. Salicylate sensitivity can cause gastrointestinal upset, and consuming cherries or other salicylate-rich foods may result in gas or diarrhoea in these individuals.

How to Enjoy Cherries Without the Side Effects

While cherries can be an effective natural remedy for constipation, it's important to enjoy them in moderation. Start with a single serving (about 1/2 cup or 7 cherries) and see how your gut reacts before increasing your intake. Combining cherries with other high-fibre foods and plenty of water can also help prevent any digestive issues.

Additionally, if you're sensitive to cherries or other fruits containing sugar alcohols and salicylates, it's best to avoid consuming them on an empty stomach. Instead, enjoy them as part of a meal to help dilute their effect on your gastrointestinal tract.

So, if you're dealing with constipation, consider adding cherries to your diet. They are a tasty and healthy way to get things moving, as long as you don't overdo it!

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They are a good source of vitamins and antioxidants

Cherries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which offer a host of health benefits. They are a rich source of vitamins A and C, with a single cup of sweet, raw, pitted cherries providing 18% of the daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and skin health. Cherries also contain carotenoid pigments like beta-carotene and vitamin C, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Cherries are also a good source of B vitamins, manganese, copper, magnesium, and vitamin K. They are particularly high in polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals that help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health. The high antioxidant content in cherries may help combat oxidative stress, which is linked to multiple chronic diseases and premature ageing.

The anthocyanins in cherries have potent anti-inflammatory activity, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Cherries are also a good source of potassium, which is essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Potassium is needed for muscle contraction, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and many other critical bodily processes.

In addition to their vitamin and antioxidant content, cherries are a good source of dietary fibre, which helps keep the digestive system healthy by fuelling beneficial gut bacteria and promoting bowel regularity.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, red cherries are a natural laxative. They contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that acts as a laxative. They are also high in fiber, which is known to relieve constipation.

The dietary fiber in cherries, combined with their natural sugar content, stimulates the digestive system, creating a laxative effect.

It is recommended to stick to one serving (1/2 cup or about 7 cherries) of cherries in one sitting to avoid any stomach issues.

Consuming excessive amounts of cherries can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and discomfort. This is due to the presence of sugar alcohols and salicylates in cherries, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in sensitive individuals.

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