Have you ever heard that strawberries can cause diarrhea? Well the truth is that they can, in several different ways. Maybe you read this somewhere or heard it from someone you know, or maybe you have had your own experiences with strawberries and have come to this conclusion independently.
It may be hard to believe at first. How can something so sweet and innocent, a delicious little strawberry cause such unwanted side effects? And does this mean you are going to have to cut them out of your diet, which would then mean you're going to miss out on all of the good nutrients they provide…
- Vitamin C (According to the USDA, about 11% of the RDA (7.1mg) in just one strawberry!)
- Vitamin B9
- Potassium and more
The answer is no... at least not yet. While strawberries "may" cause diarrhea and "can", for the majority of people out there they do not pose a threat. A healthy individual more than likely isn't going to have any problem with such. The same goes for orange juice, which we recently published an article about.
Let's First Take a Look at Diarrhea..
Diarrhea is something that nobody wants to have to deal with. It's messy, gross, and can really screw up your whole day. The staple characteristics include frequent and very liquidy bowel movements, and other symptoms that come along with it are…
- Stomach cramps & pain
Strawberries are delicious and all but they aren't worth having diarrhea over… Unless maybe if you have been suffering from constipation and are looking for some relief, then I could see as being desirable. But most people out there definitely do not want to deal with running to the bathroom every 10 minutes, and unfortunately strawberries very well could be the cause of such an unwanted condition...
4 Ways They Can Be a Cause of Your Frequent Bathroom Visits
1) They are high in salicylates
Salicylates are organic chemicals that strawberries have a lot of, and that our bodies have to detoxify when ingested. Some people can handle more than others and this all depends on how active a certain enzyme is in the body that is responsible for handling such tasks.
If you eat too much salicylates, going near or above the threshold in which your body can handle, you may experience allergy-like symptoms, some of which include bloating and diarrhea.
Other foods that are high in this compound include fruits like blackberries, blueberries, dates, and cherries. So you may experience similar problems while eating these, although it all depends on how much you are eating.
2) Food poisoning maybe?
Something else that you may have to consider is food poisoning. Did you know that some of the most common causes of diarrhea include infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi?
When we think of food poisoning we normally think of animal products (like meats) spoiling and picking up some sort of bacteria like E. coli or salmonella. Then, if not cooked well enough the bacteria is transferred into the person consuming such spoiled meats, who then might get a variety of different symptoms including the common but unwanted diarrhea. But fruits like strawberries can also be the carrier of bacteria, fungi, etc.
If you want to do your best to avoid getting food poisoning from strawberries then simply wash them before eating. The same goes for eating any type of fruits or vegetables. You never know if they may have came in contact with other spoiled foods, feces, etc. It would also be highly recommended, and common sense, to not eat any that are moldy.
3) Maybe you're allergic
Allergies are another potential culprit. And again, this is something else that you wouldn't really think of when it comes to strawberries. Allergies are common for peanuts, shellfish, milk… But strawberries? Yes, unfortunately it is possible although very rare.
An allergic reaction to a food like this is, in a nutshell, usually your body overreacting to the proteins of the strawberries. It perceives them as a threat and starts to produce antibodies to attack and destroy the threat, which decreases your overall health and gives you symptoms like swelling around the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, irritation in that area and/or a rash, cough, and possibly diarrhea… Although a lesser common symptom.
You may also be wondering what the heck I am talking about… Protein in strawberries? Well… There are actually thousands of proteins in a strawberry. Although not "protein packed", they do have protein. And plenty enough to cause an allergy.
4) Fructose complications
Fructose is a type of sugar and is actually the most commonly used type included in processed foods, due to it being much more sweet than glucose. However, this is a natural sugar and you can find it in things like honey and fruits… Including strawberries.
Eating a diet high in this natural sugar is often associated with increased gas. If you eat too much it may be 'malabsorbed', or not absorbed efficiently. This isn't that uncommon. Some people have higher tolerances for fructose absorption than others.
If you are getting too much of this sugar then bloating, gas and diarrhea may be the side effects. If this is a problem that you suffer from then you probably also experience similar symptoms when eating apples, cherries, mangoes and pears, which are also very high in fructose.
A Healthy Food With Potential Unwanted Side Effects
I write 'potential' unwanted side effects because more likely than not you are going to have no problem eating strawberries. More likely than not, they will not cause diarrhea… Although it is possible.
In fact, strawberries even contain some substances that work in the opposite direction, helping reduce the chances of frequent bathroom visits. One way that they can help lower your chances of diarrhea is through the small amount of soluble fiber that they have, called pectin, which helps soak up excess water in the bowel and bring about firmer stools.
Can strawberries cause diarrhea? Yes.
Will they? Probably not.
Everyone reacts differently to different things. Some may be more sensitive to salicylates, some highly allergic to the proteins in strawberries, and some with extreme fructose malabsorption... But not all. And better stated… not most.
If you are looking for some tasty fruits that can help put an end to your frequent bathroom visits, check out this article.
For those with chronic diarrhea
If you are someone who is experiencing chronic diarrhea and think that it may be related to your consumption of strawberries, please consult with a doctor. If your diary is to the point where it is overwhelming, and maybe even bloodied, it is better to be safe than sorry. This could be the result of a much more serious condition that needs to be looked at.