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Prunes: Nutritional Health Benefits & Ways To Eat Them

Prunes, also called dried plums, have a plethora of nutrients and are rich in antioxidants. They are a concentrated source of fibre and nutrients. Prune juice, extracted from prunes, also have the same health benefits as that of prunes.

Prunes are high in sugar which allows them to be dried without fermenting.

Nutritional Value Of Prunes

100 g of prunes contain 275 kcal energy and they also contain

  • 2.50 g protein
  • 65 g carbohydrate
  • 5.0 g fibre
  • 32.50 g sugar
  • 1.80 mg iron
  • 12 mg sodium
  • 6.0 mg vitamin C
  • 1250 IU vitamin A

Health Benefits Of Prunes

1. Prevent cardiovascular disease

Prunes contain high amounts of phytonutrients called phenols which inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the body. Studies have shown that the antioxidants and fibre present in prunes can help reduce cholesterol levels [1] , [2] .

2. Help in losing weight

According to research done by the University of Liverpool, eating prunes as a part of the weight loss diet can enhance weight loss. The researchers found that participants who ate prunes as part of a healthy diet lost 2 kg in weight and shed 2.5 cm off their waists [3] .

3. Reduce blood pressure

Scientists suggest that consuming prunes and drinking prune juice can lower blood pressure significantly. A study showed that participants who ate prunes daily had a reduction in blood pressure [4] .

4. Relieve constipation

Prunes are rich in fibre, which helps prevent haemorrhoids that are caused due to chronic constipation. Both prunes and prune juice work as a laxative due to their high sorbitol content. A study showed that eight dried prunes, when had with 300 ml of water a day for 4 weeks, improved bowel function [5] .

5. Lower colon cancer risk

Research shows that incorporating prunes into your diet may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Eating prunes can positively affect and increase microbiota in the colon, according to a study conducted by researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina [6] .

9 Common Foods To Prevent Colon Cancer

6. Improve bone health

The mineral boron is abundantly present in dried prunes which helps build strong bones and improves muscle coordination. According to a study, dried prunes and dried prune powder can lower radiation's effect on bone marrow, preventing bone density loss [7] . Prunes also have the ability to prevent osteoporosis.

7. Prevent and treat anaemia

Prune is a good source of iron, which is important to prevent and treat iron deficiency anaemia. Anaemia occurs when the body doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells.

8. Improve eyesight

Prunes are high in vitamin A, a vitamin that is important for clear vision. Deficiency of vitamin A can lead to night blindness, macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eyes.

9. Protect against lung disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing. Prunes are packed full of antioxidants which reduce the risk of COPD, lung cancer and improve lung health [8] .

10. Reduce your hunger cravings

Prunes can help you feel fuller for longer because of their high fibre content. Fibre takes time to digest, which means that your appetite stays satisfied for longer. In addition, prunes have a low glycemic index, which means the glucose is absorbed in the blood at a slow rate and that keeps hunger at bay [9] .

12 Ways To Control Your Hunger

11. Enhance skin and hair health

The vitamins and minerals present in prunes contribute to healthy skin and hair. This fruit strengthens the hair from the root and prevents hair damage and breakage. It also slows down the ageing process and delays the onset of wrinkles.

Possible Side Effects Of Consuming Prunes

  • Prunes can cause or worsen diarrhoea due to the fibre content in them.
  • Prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar that increases gas and bloating in the stomach.
  • Consuming excess prunes can cause weight gain due to the presence of sugar.
  • People with certain health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis should not consume prunes.
  • Prunes contain traces of histamine, which may cause an allergic reaction in the body.
  • During the drying process, prunes form a chemical called acrylamide which is considered to be a carcinogenic by the National Cancer Institute.

How To Add Prunes Into Your Diet

  • Consume dried prunes as a snack.
  • Mix prunes with other dried fruits for a healthy trail mix.
  • Add prunes as a topping in your oatmeal, pancakes and waffles.
  • Add them in drinks, smoothies and baked goods.
  • Use prunes to make jam.

How Much To Have?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends having two servings of dried fruit per day (25 to 38 g). However, the amount can vary depending age groups and nutritional requirements.

View Article References
  1. [1] Gallaher, C. M., & Gallaher, D. D. (2008). Dried plums (prunes) reduce atherosclerosis lesion area in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.British journal of nutrition,101(2), 233-239.
  2. [2] Gunness, P., & Gidley, M. J. (2010). Mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-lowering properties of soluble dietary fibre polysaccharides.Food & function,1(2), 149-155.
  3. [3] University of Liverpool. (2014, May 30). Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows.ScienceDaily.
  4. [4] Ahmed, T., Sadia, H., Batool, S., Janjua, A., & Shuja, F. (2010). Use of prunes as a control of hypertension.Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad,22(1), 28-31.
  5. [5] Lever, E., Scott, S. M., Louis, P., Emery, P. W., & Whelan, K. (2019). The effect of prunes on stool output, gut transit time and gastrointestinal microbiota: A randomised controlled trial.Clinical Nutrition,38(1), 165-173.
  6. [6] Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. (2015, September 25). Dried plums can reduce risk of colon cancer, research shows.ScienceDaily.
  7. [7] Schreurs, A. S., Shirazi-Fard, Y., Shahnazari, M., Alwood, J. S., Truong, T. A., Tahimic, C. G. T., ... & Globus, R. K. (2016). Dried plum diet protects from bone loss caused by ionizing radiation.Scientific reports,6, 21343.
  8. [8] MacNee, W. (2005). Treatment of stable COPD: antioxidants.European Respiratory Review,14(94), 12-22.
  9. [9] Furchner-Evanson, A., Petrisko, Y., Howarth, L., Nemoseck, T., & Kern, M. (2010). Type of snack influences satiety responses in adult women.Appetite,54(3), 564-569.
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