If you’re battling to have a regular bowel movement because you’re constipated, it can be highly uncomfortable while reducing your quality of life.
Chances are you might also want to reach for the right foods to help move things along.
What foods aid constipation? Foods that help you to alleviate constipation include whole grains, legumes, and fruits.
Cherries, which are a stone fruit, are also known for having laxative properties, which is why they can come to your assistance when you need to relieve constipation.
Let’s explore why this is and how to use cherries to help you poop.
What Are Laxatives?
Before we look at how cherries help to make you poop, we should first explore how laxatives work.
When it comes to medicine, laxatives contain chemicals that boost stool motility and frequency, but what about natural laxatives?
There are many food-based laxatives that can help you in various ways.
For example, dietary fiber is a natural laxative that moves through the intestines in undigested form so that it adds bulk to stools and promotes regular bowel movements.
Many natural laxatives contain fiber, which is why they are known for their laxative properties.
Fermented foods can also assist in bowel movements. For example, kefir is a fermented milk product that contains probiotics that encourage healthy gut bacteria while improving stool consistency.
How Do Cherries Make You Poop?
If you’re not constipated and you enjoy eating delicious cherries on their own or in healthy recipes, you might be surprised to find that you’re going to the bathroom a lot more afterward.
Why do cherries cause you to have more bowel movements?
The reason is that they contain lots of dietary fiber. They can contain between 1.5 to 3 grams of fiber per cup.
Their fiber content includes both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are important for alleviating constipation.
Soluble fiber slows down how quickly food is digested, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool so that it can move through the body.
While cherries’ fiber content can help you to stay regular, if you’ve eaten cherries and you’re heading to the bathroom more regularly than usual this is actually because cherries contain naturally occurring sugar alcohols.
If you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols found in processed food, like sorbitol, then you could be affected by the sugar alcohols in cherries too.
In addition to sugar alcohols, cherries contain salicylates, which are natural plant-based chemicals. Again, if your body is sensitive to this substance, then it can cause you to have more regular bowel movements.
Why Does Eating Cherries Give You Diarrhea?
You might find that you experience diarrhea after eating cherries. This is, again, a result of their sugar content.
Sugar has the effect of stimulating the gut to release electrolytes and water, and this causes bowel movements to get loosened.
If you eat a lot of sugar, this can therefore result in diarrhea. The type of sugar found in cherries as well as other fruits, like pears and peaches, is fructose.
Interestingly, 75 percent of people who consume more than 40-80 grams of fructose a day will get diarrhea. However, studies have noted some people with a sorbitol intolerance experience the negative symptoms of sorbitol consumption at doses as low as 10 g/day.
That is why the FDA requires food labels on sorbitol-containing foods (sorbitol is another sugar alcohol) that might cause you to consume more than 50 g of sorbitol in one day.
How many cherries is too many?
Eating too much fruit with sugar alcohol, can cause digestive tract problems. However, the amount that’s too much for each person depends on too many factors. There are many types of cherries; sour and sweet cherries like Rainier Cherries and dried cherries, canned cherries, and even cherry juice.
When in doubt go easy on the cherries because just like other foods too much can throw off your digestive tract and cause you to develop diarrhea, especially if you have a cherry allergy or are eating cherries for the first time in a while.
Who Should Be Cautious About Eating Too Many Cherries?
While many people won’t be negatively affected by consuming cherries, some people could experience stomach-related problems.
For example, consuming a lot of fiber can cause your gas production to increase, and this can lead to stomach pain.
If you have a health condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, you should watch your cherry intake as it could trigger your symptoms.
Are You Allergic To Cherries?
You might experience unpleasant side effects after eating cherries because you’re allergic to them. Allergic reactions can happen to anyone. Food allergies are a serious matter, so if you’re feeling strange symptoms after eating too many cherries you should seek medical attention.
Some allergy symptoms you might experience include the following:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Skin rashes
- Lip, face, tongue, and throat swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Nasal congestion
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
You’re especially at risk of having an allergic reaction to cherries if you’re allergic to birch pollen (via Mayo Clinic).
Should You Eat Cherries that are Organic?
If you consume a lot of cherries that aren’t organic, you might be eating toxins that are found in pesticides that are used during their production.
In a study, more than 225 different pesticides were found on a range of fruits. After washing cherries, 90 percent of them were found to contain two or more pesticides.
Pesticides in fruits such as cherries can give you unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume organic cherries.
Are Cherries Healthy?
While you will want to reduce your consumption of cherries if you experience unpleasant symptoms after eating them, or you’re allergic to them, if cherries don’t have any effect on your health you should consume them because they’re healthy.
Here are some health benefits you’ll gain from adding cherries to your diet:
Cherries are a good source of fiber
Earlier, we mentioned how fiber makes you poop as it keeps you regular. But, it also has another good side effect – it fuels the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Cherries could reduce inflammation
While more research is needed, cherries contain compounds called cyanidin and anthocyanins, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Cherries can improve your sleep
Consuming tart cherries could help to improve your sleep. This is because they contain a large amount of phytochemicals, such as melatonin which is known for regulating your sleep cycle.
Cherries can alleviate symptoms of gout
Gout is a health condition that causes severe joint pain which comes on suddenly.
This pain is caused by uric acid in the blood. Cherries can help to moderate uric acid levels in the body, which is why it’s said to alleviate symptoms of gout.
Cherries reduce blood pressure
Cherries contain nutrients such as polyphenols. These are antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage.
Research has found that increasing your consumption of polyphenols can lower your blood pressure.
How To Enjoy Cherries Without Experiencing Negative Side Effects
If you want to enjoy eating cherries without experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms, there are some tips to follow.
- Eat cherries in moderation. It can be difficult to avoid eating too many cherries, but try to stick to half a cup of them. If you have a health condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, start with an even smaller portion size, such as a quarter cup.
- Avoid eating them when you’re hungry. If you’re eating cherries when you have an empty stomach, this can cause digestive problems because of their high level of fructose.
- Eat them with low- or no-fructose foods. Foods such as cheddar cheese, oats, nuts, seeds, and eggs can help to balance out the fructose in cherries so you don’t feel their effect as much as when you’re eating cherries on their own.
- Make sure you chew your food slowly. Another good tip to follow when eating cherries is to take your time with chewing them and be sure to do so properly. By breaking down the cherries, it will be easier for your body to digest them.
Note that if you try the above steps but you still experience negative symptoms from eating cherries, you might have to cut them out of your diet completely.
Should you refrigerate fresh cherries?
After buying cherries you should store them in the fridge. When doing this, cherries will last for about seven days.
How should you freeze cherries?
Frozen cherries are an amazing treat when the weather gets hotter, and they are perfect for adding a little Vitamin C to your diet. Frozen cherries are perfect for covering in melted chocolate or adding to a smoothie. But how can you freeze cherries so they taste great when you’re ready to eat them?
- Pit your cherries prior to freezing. You can use a cherry pitter or a knife to slice them in half if you want them to look pretty, or you can smash them if you’re going to use them for smoothies or flavorings.
- Freeze the pitted cherries on a sheet pan with parchment paper first to slightly freeze them (a few hours) and then put them in an airtight plastic bag.
You should ensure you freeze your cherries in airtight plastic bags. While you can do this with the cherries’ pits and stems intact, it’s easier to remove them before freezing them.
It also makes it easier at a later stage when you’re ready to eat them.
Do cherries boost your mood?
While some studies have found that eating sweet cherries makes you feel better by decreasing anxiety, other research that’s been conducted hasn’t revealed the same results. The jury’s still out on this one!
Are Cherries a Laxative? – Conclusion
Cherries are delicious, whether you like them tart or sweet.
But if you’ve noticed that every time you eat cherries you increase the frequency of your bowel movements, you might have wondered, “Do cherries make you poop?”
Yes, it’s possible that eating too many cherries might make you poop due to their sugar content.
In this article, we’ve looked at what you should know about cherries before you dig into them, such as if they keep you regular, if they can give you diarrhea, and what health benefits they contain.