It Turns Out, We Should All Be Eating More Prunes

7 Amazing Prunes Health BenefitsMihaita Kostin/500px – Getty Images

Plums are a type of stone fruit that are sweet and delicious. According to the California Prune Commission, the fruit grows on trees and once planted it can take four to six years to produce fruit. Even then, it takes 8 to 12 years for the trees to reach full production capacity. Plums are usually harvested in the summer when they are ripe.

There are many different types of plums, and dried plums are called prunes. Convenient and flavorful, prunes are a versatile dried heirloom fruit that can be eaten whole or incorporated into a variety of dishes.

Although this fruit offers some serious health benefits, Pay attention to the ingredient list and make sure you buy a variety that only lists prunes as the only ingredient. (Avoid options with added sugar or oil). Here’s everything you need to know about prunes and why they’re worth having in your grocery cart.

What are prunes?

Crunchy, sweet prunes are plums that have been dehydrated for preservation. They last about six months in the pantry and are extremely versatile in virtually any meal. “Prunes have a wide range of health benefits, from gastrointestinal health to bone preservation, modulation of the immune response, diabetes, atherosclerosis and satiety,” he said. Shirin Hooshmand, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition at San Diego State University.

health benefits of prunes

Prunes in a white bowl with a wooden fork on a wooden table

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1. Provides lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals

Prunes are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and are relatively low in calories. However, they also provide a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. You get the effect.

2. Supports healthy bones

Dr. Hooshmand has been researching bone health and prunes for the past 15 years. In a recent clinical trial, Dr. Hooshmand and her team found that eating 5-6 prunes per day for 6 months as a treatment for osteopenia in postmenopausal women helped prevent bone loss. found to be effective. “Previous studies also found that in postmenopausal women, eating 10 to 12 prunes per day for her one year increased bone mineral density and improved bone turnover indicators. ‘ she says.

3. Lower cholesterol levels

A serving of prunes provides 11% of the daily value of fiber, which plays a role in lowering blood cholesterol. After eating 12 prunes, I was able to reduce both total LDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

4. Supports Healthy Digestion

The fiber content in prunes may be owed to its laxative effects, but scientists point out that the combination of fiber, phenolic compounds, and sorbitol within prunes is likely to do the trick. Prunes can significantly increase stool weight and frequency, making them a great natural alternative for promoting healthy bowel function, according to Leslie Lesley, a California-based registered dietitian. Bonchi, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN and FAND add that research suggests that prunes are as effective against constipation as commercial products.

5. Stabilizes blood sugar levels

Popular dried fruits are high in fiber and contain both insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fiber is particularly slow-moving and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Prunes are naturally sweet without added sugar, making them a healthier alternative to sweeteners in baked goods.

6. Gives you a feeling of satiety

Bonci says research shows that prunes may play a role in increasing satiety and satiety. Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that a group that consumed prunes in combination with a structured weight management program was more satisfied than a weight control group that did not consume prunes. , may be due to the fiber-rich nature of dried fruits.

7. Reduce inflammation

Prunes are rich in polyphenols, these antioxidants help reduce inflammation and protect against DNA damage. Compared to fresh plums, prunes dried at 60°C and 85°C may actually have higher antioxidant activity.

How many prunes should you eat in a day?

According to Dr. Hooshmand, how many prunes you should eat in a day depends on the size of the prunes themselves. However, current research recommends 50 grams of prunes per day. This equates to about 5-6 prunes. If you’re not used to eating prunes and other fiber-rich foods, start with 1-2 prunes a day and work your way up. “For people with low fiber intake, it’s generally recommended to introduce prunes gradually, avoid eating prunes on an empty stomach, and spread your intake throughout the day,” says Dr. Huesmand. .

Bonchi recommends rushing slowly because prunes contain sorbitol, which can increase the urge to go. am. “It’s not too much to eat a small amount of prunes, even if you have IBD or other intestinal disorders, but go slow and rush,” Bonchi says. In case you’re wondering, Bonci says they’re absolutely edible, and prunes can be used alone or incorporated into a variety of dishes.

Prunes in a vintage brass spoon

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Is prune juice good for your health?

Unlike other fruit juices, the most popular brand of prune juice contains more than enough fiber sources for one serving. Warm prune juice itself has long been used as a natural constipation remedy. “In my opinion, consuming prune juice may have some benefits for bone health, but there is only data from clinical trials testing the effects of whole prunes on bone health,” Dr Huesmand says. say.

How to add prunes to your diet:

“There are many ways to enjoy prunes as part of your diet, from smoothies to salads and soups to delicious dinner dishes. Prunes can also be used as a sugar and fat substitute in baked goods,” says Dr Huesmand. speaks. “[Prunes] Combined with nuts, grains, vegetables, dairy and meats, it can be part of a powerful flavor combination and nutritional boost,” adds Bonch.

Enjoy this delicious dried fruit on its own or experiment with different ways.

  • Use Prunes with Your Favorite Type of Nut in a Healthy Homemade Trail Mix

  • Add chopped prunes as a topping to oatmeal or yogurt

  • Add prunes to stews and tagines for a sweet and savory twist

  • Add a Prune or Two to Your Morning Smoothie

  • Toss the chopped prunes over the salad with the vegetables of your choice and the vinaigrette

  • Use Prunes for Natural Sweetness and Dietary Fiber for Energy Bytes

  • Bonch suggests adding prune puree to hummus for naturally sweetened plums.

Why You Should Trust Good Housekeeping

Registered Dietitian as head of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab since 2020 Stephanie Sassos We are dedicated to evidence-based diet and nutrition reporting. She keeps up with the latest nutrition research and trends and translates to readers which principles are backed by science and worth incorporating into a healthy lifestyle (and which fads to avoid). is passionate about incorporating nutrient-rich whole foods like prunes into a balanced diet to support overall health and wellness.

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