Here are some reasons why prunes should not be missing from your diet. What exactly are the benefits of this delicious dehydrated fruit?
Prunes are the ideal choice when you need a quick and healthy snack. Prunes are dehydrated plums, which, according to the journal Nutrients contain less sugar than fresh plums.
Prunes: nutritional values
It may seem difficult to believe based on what we know about dried fruits, but prunes have a very balanced nutritional profile. They contain fiber and vitamins A, C and K, but also a cocktail of minerals, among which high amounts of calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Bananas are better known for their potassium content, but the fact is that 43 g of prunes contain the same amount of potassium as a medium-sized banana. Potassium is essential for the functioning of the body, from blood circulation to muscle contractions.
Prunes are also rich in antioxidants. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), five prunes contain:
- 96 calories
- Less than 1 gram of protein
- Less than a gram of fat
- 26 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fiber
- 15 grams of sugar
The health benefits of prunes
They relieve constipation
Prunes have a laxative effect due to the fact that they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and thus are able to prevent constipation. Fiber does not achieve this function alone, but in combination with sorbitol and chlorogenic acid.
They may reduce the risk of colon cancer
The health benefits of prunes do not stop at eliminating constipation. The anthocyanins they contain also help reduce the risk of colon cancer (colorectal cancer). According to a 2018 article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the antioxidant effect combats oxidative stress and prevents the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Prunes help manage weight
Dried fruits in general are not recommended for weight loss or to keep weight under control, mainly due to the calorie content. However, some evidence exists that the due to their high fiber content prunes are able to keep weight under control by increasing the sense of satiety.
Prunes support bone health
This nutrient-rich dehydrated fruit contains vitamin K and boron, two nutrients necessary for bone health. Vitamin K plays a key role in the formation of osteocalcin, a protein that helps calcium build into the bones.
They support the health of the heart
Hypertension and high cholesterol are two risk factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The nutrients contained in prunes help control both of these factors.