health benefits of prunes

Prunes are nothing but dried plums. They contain many healthy nutrients that provides a healthy body. It has been traditionally used to treat constipation and issues related to digestion. Though the taste of prunes is not so good, but the nutrients they contain and the health benefits of prunes will make you go crazy for them.

Nutrition facts

  • Calories – 100 gms of prunes can provide 240 calories
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary fiber
  • Protein
  • Vitamin A and K
  • Potassium, copper and magnesium

And zero fat.

Health benefits of Prunes

Great remedy for constipation

Prunes contain healthy dietary fiber that improves the function of intestines. They also contain laxative properties because of the compounds sorbitol and diphenyl isatin. Both the compounds acts as a laxative which will loosen the stool and create healthy bowel movements. Regular consumption of prunes can completely treat and cure constipation

Dried prunes
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Improves vision

The vitamin A content in prunes have a great impact on the health of the retina and eye muscles. A single piece (whole) prune can provide 3% of daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of prunes can prevent macular degeneration, night blindness and itchiness in eyes. Deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to cataract, that be prevented when prunes are eaten regularly.

Packed with anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants are very important to fight free radicals on a daily basis. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and even our DNA, which might lead to formation of tumor/cancer in our body. Prunes are one of the best foods when it comes to anti-oxidants. They also protect our cell membranes from damage.

Improves Cardio-vascular health

Prunes contain high amounts of Phenol (phytonutrients) in them. They are necessary to reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Phytonutrients – neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, not only reduce the bad cholesterol levels, they also inhibit further formation of bad cholesterol. Where is very less bad cholesterol, heart health naturally improves and prevents illness.

Prevents type-2 diabetics

Prunes are rich in soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber controls the absorption of sugar levels by our body from food, by slowing the digestion process. Hence, sugar is absorbed in a stable manner, which reduces the occurrences of sugar level spikes. Prunes also increase the sensitivity of our body towards insulin.

Bowl of greens and prunes
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Lowers cholesterol and prevents obesity

Like I have already mentioned, prunes are very effective in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in our body. This prevents in accumulation of fat and ensures effective usage of already available fat in our tissues. Since prunes have the ability to prevent further accumulation, it works wonders for people who are obese and who are in the process of reducing weight.

Prevents osteoporosis

Studies show that people who consume prunes on a regular basis are less prone to bone related diseases like osteoporosis. The compounds in prunes helps to increase the bone density and only builds muscle strength around the bones. The potassium and Boron content in prunes makes it an ideal food to prevent bone related diseases.

Healthy skin and hair

The anti-oxidants in prunes helps to reduce the wrinkles and makes the skin look younger. It also facilitates in formation of new cells whenever required. It literally slows down the ageing process in the body and gives a glowing skin.

Prunes contain good amount of iron that have help you grow strong and shiny hair. It also improves the texture of hair by reducing the dryness.

Stress reliever

The good iron content in prunes can help you boost your good mood. It increases the red blood cells and improves the overall function of your body. It reduces irritation, breathing difficulties like shortness of breath, fatigue and tiredness. Regular consumption of prunes can act as a cure for anemia.

How to consume Prunes

Prunes can be consumed in the form juice or you can directly chew on a few pieces of prunes every day.

Prune juice

Ingredients required

  • 9 or 10 prunes
  • 1 apple
  • 50 ml fresh yogurt
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Method

  1. Peel the skin of apple.
  2. Add all the above mentioned ingredients in a blender or a mixer.
  3. Blend them well and add cinnamon if you like.
  4. You can either chill it and consume or add ice cubes while you blend them.

Consumption of this juice 1 hour before breakfast or dinner, can relieve constipation.

Violet Plums
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Prune juice for babies

Ingredients required

  • 2 cups of water
  • 15 prunes

Method

  1. Take a thick based pan and add water to it.
  2. Add the prunes to the water (make sure that the prunes are immersed in the water).
  3. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Once the prunes are soft and water has reduced, switch off the flame.
  5. Mash the prunes in the available water to form a paste.
  6. If it is not soft enough for the baby to swallow, cool it down and blend it in a blender.

Serve the paste to baby in small quantities. Too much of puree can cause loose stools.

As a word of caution, Prunes and prune juice are high in calories. People who are obese should have caution in the amount of prunes they consume. Diabetics also should avoid consuming too much of prunes – 1 or 2 prunes a day should be good.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.