A woman on Instagram claimed in a viral video that eating an entire orange, including the peel, can help you eliminate constipation in just minutes.
In the video, an Instagrammer named Bethany shared her “cure” which involves washing the outside of the orange, slicing the orange into wedges, coating each slice with cinnamon and cayenne pepper “generously” and eating the entire thing including the peel.
“Wait 5-10 minutes and the rest is history!” she wrote.
She explained that “oranges contain naringenin, a flavonoid shown to help with constipation in general, and studies show that naringenin can also have a laxative effect.”
She added in the caption, “Cayenne pepper and cinnamon contain capsaicin, which trigger your TRVP1 receptors (located in your mouth and also throughout your body and GI tract) and stimulate your GI tract —making things move through quite fast!”
But does this zesty concoction really work?
Experts suggest that while whole oranges are rich in fibre and water, which are known to help relieve constipation, they are not particularly enticing to use the bathroom.
Amy Brownstein, a registered dietitian, told Health that orange peels are generally safe to eat.
Still, they may contain harmful substances like pesticides or bacteria, so it’s crucial to thoroughly wash the fruit but some people might still experience negative side effects from the peel.
“For some people, orange peels can cause an upset tummy, so start with small amounts first,” registered dietitian, Danielle VenHuizen said. “The texture and flavour of orange peels may be difficult to tolerate or aggravate any jaw or chewing issues.”
An orange with its intact peel contains 7 grams of fibre, which is 82% water and contains 8 grams of fibre. However, it is not likely to send you running to the toilet, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
While fibre can promote regularity, it takes time for it to reach the colon and alleviate constipation, according to VenHuizen.
However, Bethany was right about oranges containing naringenin, but the studies that show the antioxidant has a laxative effect have only been performed on animals.
Meanwhile, cinnamon and cayenne are high in capsaicin, a compound that can trigger intestine movement in high doses. While some people experience bowel movements after consuming these spices, it is unlikely to occur quickly and could potentially worsen the situation, VenHuizen said.