Health Benefits of Prunes

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An overview of the healthy properties of prunes as well as the often over-looked taste benefits.

Prunes have constantly been the subject of health research due to their high content of phytonutrients (healthy chemical compounds like beta-carotene). But yet, prunes are not as popular as most other fruit like apples, oranges, and/or bananas.

Prunes are sweet, loaded with flavor, and a handful can easily stave off hunger pains until your next meal. Learn all about the healthy benefits of prunes so that the next time you are hungry for something sweet you will reach for the Sunsweet box, instead of a candy bar.

What are Prunes?

Prunes are simply plums that have been allowed to dry out. Plums have amazing health benefits on their own, and they taste great. However, when plums are dried out to become prunes, their flavor is enhanced, the consistency is chewier, their shelf life is greatly improved, they are far sweeter, and more easily transportable as snacks.

Benefits of Prunes

Prunes are packed full of fiber, which makes them an excellent choice for the prevention of heart disease, and to maintain a healthy digestive track. An old-wives-tale exalts prune juice and eating prunes for constipation, and it turns out that the tale is truth (high fiber). Many people are put-off by prune juice because of the extra sweet taste, if prune juice is too sweet for you, you should consider diluting it with spring water.

Besides being heart healthy and loaded with fiber, prunes also contain the following health benefits:

  • Beta Carotene
  • Potassium
  • Iron (which can help to absorb Vitamin C)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Benefits of the Vitamins in Prunes/Plums

The soluble fiber in prunes have been known to help fight Type 2 Diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Free radicals can damage cells and cause them to become cancerous, Beta Carotenes and Vitamin A help to deter that damage. Vitamin C boosts your immune system, and has antihistamine properties to fight colds, allergies and asthma.

Potassium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and healthy heart functioning, thereby lowering the risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (fatty substances forming a deposit of plaque on the lining of arterial walls). Iron aids in the formation of red blood cells, and helps transport oxygen throughout your system.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) aids in digestion, memory and mental clarity, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is an antioxidant and it aids in growth and development, and healthy skin and hair, and Pyridoxine is important for the breakdown of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

As you can see, the health benefits of prunes are plentiful. If you are dedicated to having a healthy diet, and you want to add prunes to your weekly grocery list, you might try Sunsweet prunes that are individually wrapped and packaged in a clear plastic container (Sunsweet Ones). They are convenient to put in your purse, or backpack, and the clear container allows you to see the condition of the fruit before you make your purchase.

As always, it would be an ideal situation to consult your doctor or other health care practitioner before introducing a new food into your diet. Although the benefits of prunes are numerous, you should always consider the situation of your personal health situation above all else.

*If you are prone to kidney stones, you should not consume large amounts of prunes.

Sources –

Focus on a Healthy You Series @ Health Central Hospital, Orlando Florida (Spring 2010)

U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Encyclopedia of Vitamins (Medline Plus)

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