Being constipated can mean that you are either passing stools less often than what is normal for you or are having more difficulty passing them and are straining. There is no common number of times a day to pass stools; it depends on the person. You know if you are constipated because your bowel movements are different from normal.
Fiber both helps prevent and relieves constipation because it helps food waste move through your body. You need 21 to 25g of fiber every day if you are a woman or 30 to 38g if you are a man. According to the Mayo Clinic, one medium orange contains 3.1g of fiber. However, if you are looking to increase your fiber, some other varieties of fruit contain more fiber. For instance, one cup of raspberries has 8g, one medium pear with the skin on has 5.5g and one medium apple with the skin has 4.4g.
Eat the white segment membranes between the orange flesh to obtain the most fiber, notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. If you scoop the fruit out and do not consume the membranes, you will obtain half the fiber than if you eat the membrane as well.
It is important to drink water to prevent constipation. You should get 8 to 10 cups of liquids each day, mostly through water. Constipation can occur when there is not enough moisture in the stools, making them difficult to pass. Oranges provide both fiber and an abundance of water, unlike dry sources of fiber that might require additional water intake.
An October 2008 study in the journal "PLoS ONE" studied flavanone naringenin, a compound from oranges and other citrus fruits, and found that this compound promoted a laxative effect in rats. The researchers believe taking this compound orally through the fruit or a supplement might be an effective and natural treatment option for constipation.
- "American Family Physician"; Constipation; December 2010
- MayoClinic.com; High-fiber foods; November 2009
- USDA Agricultural Research Service; Dietary Fiber Content in Fresh Citrus; Wilbur Widmer; February 2003
- MedlinePlus: Constipation -- self-care
- "PLoS ONE"; Cellular Mechanisms Underlying the Laxative Effect of Flavonol Naringenin on Rat Constipation Model; Zi-Huan Yang, et al.; October 2008