A good recipe for constipation can include a green smoothie made with any type of greens, combined with fruit for sweetness and flavor. Water is normally incorporated and other ingredients such as flaxseed, chia or hemp seeds, or even protein powder can be added as well. After drinking a green smoothie, bowel movements may initially change as your digestive system adapts. Some people experience looser stools, while others may experience constipation. Given time, digestion evens out as your body gets use to the healthier diet. Pureed foods also retain their beneficial components and increase your vitamin and antioxidant intake, which lowers your risk of heart disease, according to the April 2013 issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition." Consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
The Green Smoothie Effect
Green smoothies are full of two important components for healthy digestion and bowel regularity: fiber and water. Aside from water added to the smoothies, raw food has a very high percentage of water. These two things help maintain bulk in the stools and keep them soft so that they pass through the bowels easily. Dr. Sears explains that when you increase the fiber in your diet, you must also increase the water to prevent constipation from occurring because fiber by itself does not lead to intestinal regularity. Increase the amount of water you drink throughout the day to thoroughly balance the fiber intake of the smoothies. Green smoothies can benefit your health in other ways as well. For example, adding kale juice to your smoothie can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease, according to a study in the April 2008 issue of "Biomedical and Environmental Sciences."
Smoothies for Constipation
A diet with a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to constipation when the body doesn't have the necessary fiber to move stool through the digestive tract. As stool sits in the intestines, muscle tone is lost and the diameter of the intestine increases as stool accumulates. Once green smoothies are introduced into the diet, the intestines have to adjust to the new influx of fiber and water. Some individuals may experience what seems like continued constipation when in reality the body just hasn't had time to regulate, or inadequate water intake is prohibiting the fiber from doing its job.
The Time Frame
Each person's body responds to green smoothies differently. A variety of factors including the amount of green smoothies consumed to the length of time the person has suffered from constipation all play a role in the amount of time it takes to achieve normal elimination. For some people, a few days are all that is needed. For others, the smoothies for constipation can take weeks. Individuals who have experienced constipation for many years must allow their intestines a chance to heal and for normal muscle tone to return.
Considerations for Smoothies
Some individuals may experience adverse digestive effects from drinking green shakes for constipation. Anyone with a chronic condition related to the digestive system should discuss the use of green smoothies with a doctor prior to adding them to the diet. Green smoothies are not meant to treat constipation or any condition. Always talk to your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber — Start Roughing It!
- Ask Dr.Sears: Constipation
- PubMed.gov: Effects of Acute Consumption of a Fruit and Vegetable Purée-Based Drink on Vasodilation and Oxidative Status
- Research Gate: Kale Juice Improves Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors in Hypercholesterolemic Men