Some people use raisins as a remedy for constipation. However, research has not conclusively proven that they are an effective constipation remedy. Some studies have found supportive results, while others have found that raisins made no difference.
Raisins are high in fiber and sorbitol, which could explain why some people find them helpful for constipation. Fiber adds bulk to stools, which can make them easier to pass, and sorbitol can help soften stool.
According to a 2021 review, not all studies agree that raisins make any difference to transit time (how long it takes for stool to move through the digestive tract) or fecal bulk.
Read on to learn more about using raisins for constipation, including whether they work, how they might help, and whether raisins can also cause constipation. We also discuss other ways of treating constipation and when to seek help.
Raisins may help with constipation. However, studies in this area have had mixed results.
A 2021 review of past research notes that while some trials found that raisins did increase how quickly stools passed through the digestive system, other studies did not. This was despite the fact that the studies used similar doses of raisins.
That said, raisins are similar to other fruits people eat as part of a balanced, nutritious diet to encourage regular bowel movements, so they may help some people.
Several characteristics of raisins could explain why they might help with constipation. However, more studies are necessary to confirm this.
Raisins are high in fiber, and eating enough fiber each day can help with regular bowel movements. This is because fiber increases the bulk of stools, making them easier to pass.
Depending on a person’s age and sex, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that people consume between
Half a cup (80 g) of raisins contains
Raisins contain a type of sugar alcohol known as sorbitol, which can help to soften a person’s stool naturally. This may make bowel movements easier.
There is no official guidance on when to eat raisins for constipation or how many a person should eat.
In past studies, the amounts of raisins researchers tried ranged from 84–168 g, with varying results. This is roughly
Studies on using fruits to treat constipation have had varying results. However, several suggest that raisins are effective both in studies and anecdotal evidence.
A review in the
According to a study in the journal
Yes, for some people, raisins could contribute to constipation. This is because raisins contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs), which are chains of complex carbohydrates.
Some people have difficulty digesting FODMAPs. In these individuals, eating too many raisins may
This does not necessarily mean that people with IBS cannot eat raisins. While a full serving of raisins might cause symptoms, reducing the quantity to 1 tablespoon (13 g) will lower the amount of FODMAPs a person ingests, which may mean a person is able to tolerate some raisins in their diet.
If raisins do not relieve constipation, a person can try other at-home remedies, such as:
- drinking enough liquids
- eating more fiber in general, aiming for
22–34 gof fiber per day
- avoiding foods such as frozen dinners or fast food
People may also wish to try OTC constipation medications, such as:
- fiber supplements
- osmotic laxatives
- stimulant laxatives
- stool softeners
A person should talk with a doctor or pharmacist before trying one of these. A healthcare professional can check which OTC options are most suitable for each individual, particularly if they have other health conditions or take other medications.
If lifestyle changes and OTC remedies do not relieve constipation, or the constipation keeps coming back, a person should talk with a doctor. There are many underlying conditions that can cause chronic constipation, some of which require medical treatment.
A person should also talk with a doctor if they:
- experience frequent or severe bloating
- experience unintentional and unexplained weight loss
- have severe stomach pain
- have night sweats
- have bloody or tarry stools
- are taking medications that can cause constipation, such as opioids
Raisins may help to ease constipation in some people, potentially due to their fiber and sorbitol content. However, studies on whether they work have found mixed results.
Raisins have similar characteristics to other home remedies for constipation, such as prunes. They can also be a part of a balanced diet, which may help some people with constipation.
If raisins do not help or make things worse, a person should talk with a doctor.