7 Health Benefits of Plums and Prunes

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    Plums are very healthy, with a variety of nutritional benefits. In addition to containing many vitamins and minerals, plums have fiber and antioxidants that may help reduce your risk of various chronic diseases.

    You can eat fresh or dried plums, with the dried kind  becoming known as prunes due to their health-improving qualities such as in easing constipation and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

    1. They Contain Many Nutrients

    Plums and prunes are a surprisingly nutrient-filled fruit. They contain over 15 vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and antioxidants.

    Here is an overview of the nutrition profiles of plums and prunes.

    2. Prunes and Prune Juice May Relieve Constipation

    Prunes, along with their juice, are well known for their ability to relieve constipation. This is partly due to the high amount of fiber in prunes–one fruit contains 1g. The fiber in prunes is mostly insoluble, which means that it doesn’t blend with water.

    It plays a role in preventing constipation by adding bulk to your stool, and could even speed up the rate that waste moves through your digestive tract. Additionally, prunes contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that has natural laxative effects.

    Eating prunes may be more effective at relieving constipation than many other types of laxatives; psyllium, for example, is often used for such purposes–in one study people who consumed 50g of prunes every day for three weeks reported better stools and higher frequency compared to those who consumed psyllium.

    3. Plums and Prunes Are Rich in Antioxidants

    Plums and prunes are rich in antioxidants, which controls inflammation by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.

    They contain a high level of polyphenols, which have positive effects on bone health and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes (8In fact, some studies have shown that plums contain more than twice the amount of polyphenol antioxidants as other popular fruits, such as nectarines and peaches (9Many lab and animal studies have found the polyphenols in plums and prunes to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, as well as the ability to safeguard against cell damage that often leads to disease.

    4. They May Help Lower Your Blood Sugar

    Plums abound with properties that may help with blood sugar management. They’re fairly high in carbs, but even though plums and prunes can cause an increase in blood sugar levels following ingestion, these effects seem to be less significant than after eating other types of carbohydrates.

    This could potentially be because they may have the ability to increase levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which can play a role in blood sugar regulation. Additionally, fiber in plums may also play a part in their effects on the body’s handling of glucose.

    A mix of slower-digesting and quickly-digesting fiber can help keep blood sugar at optimum levels throughout the day and prevent low spikes, while also allowing you time to notice the feelings of hunger before overeating.

    Always make sure to check food labels for correct portion sizes and avoid portions greater than 1/4-1/2 cup (44-87g) if you want to reap the benefits without increasing your intake. Since it’s so easy for someone to overeat on prunes due to their high calorie content, try limiting your portions to 1/4-1/2 cup (44-87g).

    5. Prunes May Promote Bone Health

    Prunes may be good for your bone health. Studies have shown that prunes might help prevent debilitating osteoporosis and osteopenia which are characterized by low bone density. Not only do prunes appear to slow down the process of losing bone, but they also might reverse it entirely.

    We’re not totally sure why these benefits show up in prunes so consistently, but their content of antioxidants, ability to reduce inflammation, and increased levels of certain hormones might be significant factors. Furthermore, both vitamins and minerals work in concert with a diet rich in protein to promote healthy bones.

    6. Plums and Prunes May Benefit Heart Health

    Plums and prunes have the potential to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In studies, those who consumed either or both items (after water) had lower levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure than those who drank only water. Animal studies also show similar results.

    7. Easy to Add to Your Diet

    Plums and prunes are healthy and a delicious way to incorporate fruit into your diet. You can eat them on their own, or save time by blending them into smoothies and salads. Flavored slices of plums with chocolate are also common dishes.

    Here are some recipes to try: -To make prune juice, simply combine stewed plums with water in a pot and heat it over medium-low before serving. -Serve beef wrapped in asparagus with a side of prune sauce for the perfect dish that tastes like lasagna without all the carbs.

    The Bottom Line

    Plums contain an impressive amount of fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Not only are they healthy for you, but many health studies have shown that plums may help reduce the risk of common chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They’re easy to eat and taste delicious too.

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