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Prunes Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Prunes?

Prunes are delicious dried fruits obtained after drying ripe plums naturally in the sun without undergoing any fermentation process. They are considered to be one of the healthiest foods and are mostly known for their laxative properties.  Not all the plum varieties can be dried whole to obtain good quality prunes. Botanically, plums belong to the “drupe” family (Rosaceae) of fruits, characterized by the hard pit (stone) surrounded by firm/soft pulp.

Health Benefits of Prunes

Helps digestion: Prunes are high in fiber, which helps prevent hemorrhoids brought on by constipation. Chronic constipation is a common problem in older adults and can be caused by pelvic floor dysfunction or the side effects of medication. It can also be a painful problem for infants. Prune juice acts as a laxative thanks to its high sorbitol content, so ask your doctor if it’s right for you.

Exceptional Bone Builder: A recent study shows that prunes are rich source of phenolic and flavonoid compounds. These compounds are very effective to not only slow bone loss, but also reverse some types of bone mineral density loss.
Regulates food intake: Dried plums can help you manage your weight by keeping you feeling full for longer. One study found that eating dried plums as a snack can suppress hunger for longer than a low-fat cookie.

Revitalizing Hair: Prunes are known to be a great source of iron, thus having the ability to prevent anemia and contributing to overall health of your tresses and offering countless benefits for your hair. Lack of iron deficiency in the body can lead to hair loss, dryness, stiffness, thinning and discoloration of the hair.

Heart Protector: Potassium is an important mineral as it helps to ensure proper function of the heart and nerve response throughout the body. Daily intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of problems such as dizziness, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

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Uses of Prunes

Prunes come with a large number of health benefits, and can improve digestion while offering needed nutrients. Some people, however, struggle to incorporate prunes into their diet.

Eat them alone as a snack.
Add prunes to your breakfast oatmeal.
Mix them with nuts, other dried fruits such as apricots, and dark chocolate chips for a healthy trail mix.
Add them to baked goods.
Blend them (or use prune juice) for drinks or smoothies.
Puree prunes and eat them as “prune butter” or jam.
Add them to a savory stew.

Nutritional value of Prunes

Glycemic Index (GI) Rating: Although rich in simple sugars, prunes do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, possibly because of their high fiber, fructose, and sorbitol content. Therefore, prunes have a low GI rating of 29. The Glycemic Load (GL) of prunes is 9.57 (low).

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Vitamins: Prunes are a good source of vitamin A and vitamin K.

Minerals and Trace Elements: Prunes are a good source of potassium, copper, boron and magnesium.

Phenolic Compounds: Prunes are rich in phenolic compounds (184 mg/100 g) such as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids.

Calories: Prunes have about 240 calories per 100 grams (67 calories per 1 ounce).

Macronutrients: Prunes are rich in carbohydrates. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber (6.1 grams per 100 grams). Prunes contain very little protein and hardly any fat.