Constipation causes symptoms like bloating and physical discomfort.
When Bethany Ugarte, an influencer with 317,000 Instagram followers, posted an unusual constipation remedy, people on the internet were surprised. Her simple remedy included only three ingredients: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and fiber-rich oranges.
Ugarte added that orange peels contain essential oils that facilitate bowel movements.
Oranges contain naringenin, a flavonoid that helps address constipation in general. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine shows that naringenin helps increase fluid secretion into the colon, which is responsible for the flavonoid's laxative effect in animal subjects.
The peels of citrus fruits like oranges are also a great source of pectin. This soluble fiber hastens colonic transit time and minimizes the side effects of constipation.
Meanwhile both cayenne pepper and cinnamon contain capsaicin, a compound that triggers the TRVP1 receptors located in your mouth, throughout your body, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Triggering TRVP1 receptors helps stimulate the GI tract and makes your bowels move through much faster.
In an interview with MindBodyGreen, Jessica Cording, a registered dietitian, discussed the many reasons why this remedy might be effective.
According to Cording, while certain foods can help relieve constipation, their effectiveness may vary depending on the person. Overall, getting enough fiber (with current recommendations at 25 to 35 grams per day) and fluid in your diet helps build stool bulk. Additionally, dietary fiber and fluids keep things moving smoothly through your GI tract. (Related: Feeling constipated? Try this ancient Ayurvedic herbal remedy to improve digestion.)
Oranges contain both fiber and water. While the exact amount varies depending on the type and size of the orange, she advised that it is important to wash oranges thoroughly before consuming them to get rid of pathogens and chemicals.
If you're having second thoughts about eating orange peels, you'll still get a lot of extra fiber from consuming the white membranes in an orange.
Cording agrees that research on naringenin and constipation are promising. Both cayenne pepper and cinnamon were also the topic of studies that looked into their benefits for digestive health.
If you're interested in this unusual constipation remedy, Cording sees no harm in trying it. Just make sure you use organic oranges that are thoroughly washed before preparation.
People with constipation should consult a physician to determine any underlying conditions that may be causing the issue, particularly if constipation is a regularly occurring problem.