woman eating whole orange

Photo by Diana Polekhina from Unsplash

A viral video from a wellness influencer claims that eating an entire orange with the peel can relieve constipation within seconds. Her recipe starts with washing the orange before slicing it into wedges, coating each slice with cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and then eating the entire thing. But why this?

In the caption of the video, influencer Bethany Ugarte-Cameron explains her rationale, claiming “oranges contain naringenin, a flavonoid shown to help with constipation.” She adds that the spices contain capsaicin, which triggers receptors in the body that move your bowels swiftly.

Figuring sitting on toilet paper roll
A viral video from a wellness influencer claims that eating an entire orange with the peel can relieve constipation within seconds. (© nito – stock.adobe.com)

So, does it actually work?

When you see wellness trends, it’s best to sit with the information for a time before hopping on any bandwagon. Recently, a video of someone who tried the orange trend went viral. The person provides an account of them being hospitalized after trying out the tip and severely regretting it. She then warns others about blindly following influencers.

Does this mean the same thing will happen to you? No.

Does this go to show that all wellness trends, particularly ones driven by those who are not credentialed healthcare professionals, should be considered with caution and care? Absolutely.

However, the ingredients all provide health benefits. Both the orange flesh and peel contain fiber, which helps promote regular bowel movements. An entire orange provides nearly eight grams of fiber, which is 32 percent of the recommended 25 grams per day! Oranges, along with other fruits and vegetables, are water-rich and, therefore, promote hydration — also improving bowel flow. The fiber and water in oranges aren’t unique, though, and can be found in a varied diet that includes different plant foods.

In research, capsaicin that’s in cayenne and cinnamon have been found to positively impact the gut, which inherently may improve undesirable GI issues. However, in large amounts, these foods can lead to diarrhea and cramping. It’s much more practical to include these spices in your everyday cooking to lessen the chances of experiencing those effects.

Bottom Line

This trend is pretty extreme. It likely isn’t enjoyable between the bitter peels and strong spices.

As with most wellness trends, it encourages making attempts to do something “different” with foods that can just be included in an overall balanced diet. Consumers love it because it gives them a quick fix rather than encouraging sustainable diet shifts. For the most part, excluding any conditions or other factors, increasing fiber and water through a plant-forward diet can help make constipation less and less frequent.

Finally, as with all wellness trends, take the time to consider if it’s safe, worth your time and resources, and something you can foresee being a sustainable part of your lifestyle.

About Shyla Cadogan, RD

Shyla Cadogan is a DMV-Based acute care Registered Dietitian. She holds specialized interests in integrative nutrition and communicating nutrition concepts in a nuanced, approachable way.

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1 Comment

  1. emory kendrick says:

    You can’t cure stupid.