Cranberries start to grace many people’s tables during the winter season and this tart little berry is pretty packed with nutrition.
But one question you might be asking yourself is if cranberries make you poop?
The short and sweet of it is that cranberries don’t necessarily make you poop. Although cranberries have some other effects on your gut that might indirectly help with a healthy poop (we’ll dig into that later).
But what if you notice some digestive discomfort or pooping with cranberries? That’s where FODMAPs might enter the picture.
Cranberry and FODMAP
Potentially a reason cranberries might make you want to poop is the amount of FODMAPs that are present. FODMAPs are specific sugars and fibers that are found in a variety of foods. Foods that are high in FODMAPs are common triggers for people’s digestive complaints.
One serving of fresh cranberries isn’t high in FODMAPs but can potentially become high in fructan (a type of FODMAP) when you’re eating multiple servings which would be just over 1.5 cups (1).
Dried cranberries on the other hand are a lot higher in FODMAPs so you’ll want to watch the amount. According to the Monash App a serving of dried cranberries, 2 Tbsp, would be high in fructan but a smaller amount, 1 Tbsp, would be less of an issue (1).
Does cranberry juice make you poop?
Ya if you’re wondering if cranberry juice helps you poop then you have to know cranberry juice isn’t more special than drinking water.
Although juice, in general, can sometimes have a bit of a laxative effect and this is because juice is a concentrated source of sugar. Then you have the cranberry juice vs cranberry cocktail. This is where you want to be mindful of the sugar content. Cranberry cocktail will have sugar added in.
IBS and Cranberry Juice
If someone is following a low FODMAP diet due to their IBS then you’ll be happy to know that the juice is low in FODMAPs. One serving of cranberry juice, as defined by 200 ml (which is roughly less than one cup) shouldn’t be an issue.
Cranberries And Your Gut
There might be a lot of hype around the amazingness of cranberries for bladder health, specifically UTIs, but that’s not the only part of the body cranberries benefit.
Cranberries have research emerging around how it can benefit your gut health and The Cranberry Institute created an amazing handout detailing the power of the cranberry for your gut health, let’s dig into some of the points.
Power of Proanthocyanidins
Ever wonder where cranberries get their juicy red color from? It comes from something called proanthocyanidins which is a type of flavonoid (2).
That was a mouthful so let’s break it down.
Flavonoids are a family of compounds that provide a variety of health benefits ranging from fighting inflammation to immune health.
Cranberries are rich in proanthocyanidins and it’s that specific flavonoid that is being researched for its power for your gut health.
You know how you hear a lot about cranberries and urinary tract infections?
A lot of that is thanks to the proanthocyanidins, often abbreviated as PACs. The same PACs in cranberries are also being researched with how they could bust biofilm in your gut.
But what does the potential to bust biofilm have to do with your gut health?
A biofilm could set up an environment for an infection. We are seeing some research come out about how cranberries, and their PACs, could have anti-adhesion effects aka helping prevent biofilm from forming (3, 4).
Dried Cranberries and Your Gut Bacteria
Carbs in Cranberries – Prebiotic?
Like all fruit, cranberries are a source of carbohydrates and the carbs in cranberries (specifically the oligosaccharides) are being looked at for their potential as a prebiotic (6). Prebiotics are food for your gut bacteria and are usually specific types of fiber.
Ps. Check out this Instagram post that I did on what prebiotics are and what they do.
Bring on Cranberries
I’d encourage you to start incorporating some cranberries into your routine. Both fresh and dried cranberries benefit your body and your gut. Just be mindful of your amount if you are following a low FODMAP diet.
Also, we can’t discount the fact that cranberries also have fiber. Fiber is important for those easy effortless poops that we are all looking for. In fact, 1 cup of fresh chopped cranberries has 5 grams of fiber while dried, sweetened cranberries have 2 grams of fiber (3).
A couple of ways to try cranberries in a smoothie, muffins, your classic sauce, or even in salads.
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.