If you've got a craving for something sweet, digging into a bowl of strawberries can often be just what you need. This juicy, sweet-tasting fruit might satisfy your taste buds, but for some people, it can also lead to bowel-related issues. As with any food, limit or cease your intake of strawberries if you find they don't agree with you, and contact your doctor if issues persist.
Fiber and Your Bowels
Strawberries are a valuable source of dietary fiber so eating strawberries for constipation could be beneficial. However, a diet too high in fiber may cause you to experience loose stools, frequent bowel movements or even diarrhea from strawberries. A 1-cup serving of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of fiber., according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. While this is a moderate amount unlikely to cause problems, eating a lot of strawberries or other fiber-rich foods can result in exceeding the recommended daily amount for adults as listed in the Institute of Medicine DRI; women should get 25 grams of fiber and men should get 38 grams of fiber.
Allergic Reaction to Strawberries
Although you might not consider strawberries to be a common allergen, Strawberry Plants.org reports that strawberry allergies are prevalent. If you have a strawberry allergy and eat the fruit, you might soon find yourself rushing for the toilet. Stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and signs of undigested strawberries in your stool, are all typical symptom that you've eaten something to which you're allergic. The UMMS says that symptoms could appear within 2 hours after eating strawberries. If you think you might have an allergy to strawberries, see your doctor.
Fructose Digestion and Possible Intolerance
Many people have an intolerance for fructose, which is a fruit sugar, that causes incomplete absorption by the small intestine. The excess fructose then passes on to feed the bacteria that lives in the large intestines. These bacteria ferment the fructose which may cause uncomfortable symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation. People with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders often experience an intolerance for fructose. A study published in Gastroenterology found that a diet low in FODMAPs helps to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Fructose is the 'M' in the FODMAP acronym and is the form of sugar found in strawberries.
Although you should limit your intake of strawberries to one or two 1/2-cup servings daily, this fruit is typically safe to eat as part of a low-fructose diet. Provided you monitor your intake, strawberries are safer on a low-fructose diet than fruits such as apples, peaches and plums, according to UW Health.
Dietary Benefits of Strawberries
If you have no problems with the digestion of strawberries or bowel issues, strawberries are an ideal food to include in your diet. In addition to their fiber, they're also a source of many vitamins and minerals. One cup of sliced strawberries has more vitamin C than the recommended daily amount. This vitamin contributes to the strength of your immune system and improves your body's nonheme iron absorption says the National Institutes of Health. Per serving, strawberries are also lower in calories than fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes and oranges.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Strawberries, Raw
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Total Water and Macronutrients
- Strawberry Plants.org: Strawberry Allergy
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fruits: Nutrition Facts
- University of Virginia School of Medicine: Low Fructose Diet
- Livestrong.com: Symptoms of Strawberry Allergies
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Food allergy
- Livestrong.com: How to Know if Strawberries are Bad.
- Gastroenterology: A Diet Low in FODMAPs Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- UW Health: Fructose-Restricted Diet
- Livestrong.com: Strawberry Diet
- Livestrong.com: List of Low-Fructose Foods
- Livestrong.com: What Does Fiber Do for Your Body?
- Livestrong.com: Strawberries