Our grandparents had a wonderfull remedy for constipation – that is prune juice! Prunes are one of the oldest and most effective natural relievers of constipation. The reason for this is 3-fold. Firstly, prunes are very high in fibre. Secondly, they contain a molecule called dihydroxyyphenol isatin, which works wonderfully at stimulating bowel contractions. Lastly the natural sugar in prunes draws water into the gut, helping to keep the stool moist. Many people find it very helpfull to take a few sips of prune juice or some prunes before bed at night.
All fruit is fantastic for stimulating the bowel and for cleansing your body are easy to digest. The natural sugar in fruit is a stimulant for gastric and intestinal activity. The natural acids in fruit – citric, malic and tartaric acid – have a bowel stimulating or slight laxative effect. Fruit is also high in fibre, which is needed for proper bowel function.
Whilst all fruits are good for digestion, here are some extra special fruits. Apples have a special type of fibre called pectin that is soothing to the intestines and has a high capacity to absorb toxins, particularly heavy metals. Bananas and berries can be both laxative and stool-binding, depending on what your body needs. Berries are also very high in anti-oxidants which helps your body to detoxify itself. Pine-apples and paw paw are high in digestive enzymes. Tomatoes are high in citric acid, very cleansing and a great stimulant for intestinal action. Figs and dates are very high in fibre. Raisins have fibre and are high in tartaric acid.
It is best to eat fresh fruit as they have a high water content, however dried fruit is also valuable. Most fruit juices, except prune juice and possibly apple and pear juice, have had their fibre removed and have a high concentration of fruit sugar. If drunken we recommend you dilute them 50/50 with water.
Fruit is best eaten on its own, or 2 hours after a heavy protein meal. There is a very simple reason for this. Fruit is designed to digest within 30 minutes in the body. If you eat your soft fruit on top of a hearty steak, the fruit will be delayed in your stomach for over 3 hours. This gives fruit the opportunity to ferment and create gas. This is particularly significant for soft fruit like melon and to a lesser extent with harder fruits like apples, you can experiment and see what works for you.
Try replacing a meal with a fruit smoothie or a yummy fruit salad and see how it works for you. You can add some nuts, coconut, coconut milk, cinnamon, hemp protein powder, other protein powder, chia seeds, ground flax seeds and/or raw chocolate to your fruit for flavour and to keep you fuller longer. Alternatively you can enjoy your fruit as a snack and pick me up between meals.
One note of caution is to those who have candida, diabetes, are trying to lose weight or are trying to break a carbohydrate dependency, fruit is high in sugar which will work against the above mentioned conditions. If this is you aim for no more than 1-2 fruits a day and choose lower GI over higher GI fruits. A GI food list can be easily obtained on Google.