Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Can you explain the reasons why eating lots of fruits and vegetables causes frequent bowel movements?
A: According to Chinese nutrition, vegetables and fruits have “cold” energetic properties. When you eat these raw or uncooked, you are inducing “cold” into your digestive tract. If your body is already suffering from a deficiency of Yang (digestion), this can produce diarrhea or loose stools. Also, if you have not properly washed the fruits and vegetables, some of the residual chemicals on the surface can irritate the bowels. Another possible cause could be that you have a deficiency of the helpful intestinal bacteria, which hinders proper digestion of roughage and causes loose stools.
If there is blood or pus in the stool, I recommend you consult with a physician. Otherwise, you can minimize these effects by cooking or gently steaming all of your vegetables. Also, always drink your water at room temperature and avoid dairy products.
You may find the Traditions of Tao herbal supplement “Abundant Energy” helpful in stimulating and normalizing digestion. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.