Prunes are dried plums. They are rich in fiber and phytochemicals and cholesterol-free. Prunes also give important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, including retinol, iron, and potassium. When you eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you will lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Health Benefits of Prunes
The soluble fiber in prunes binds to “bad” LDL cholesterol particles in the intestine, preventing them from entering the bloodstream and carrying them out of the body as waste. Excess LDL cholesterol may clog your coronary arteries, which can put you at risk for heart attack and stroke. The cholesterol-lowering effects of prunes reduce the risk of cardiac events.
The consumption of low-glycemic index foods, such as prunes, appears to improve overall blood glucose control in people with diabetes. Soluble fiber in prunes pulls in water to form a gel in the intestine. This gel-like substance slows digestion and absorption so the glucose in food enters the bloodstream more slowly. This causes a slow and steady rise in blood sugar, explains M. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, a professor of human nutrition and dietetics at the University of Illinois.
Potassium may protect you against developing hypertension, according to the American Dietetic Association. It maintains normal blood pressure by regulating fluid and electrolyte balance. Doctors often advise people trying to control hypertension to consume foods high in potassium. Prunes are rich in potassium, thought to have blood pressure-lowering properties. They offer approximately 637 mg of potassium per half-cup.
Constipation is infrequent or uncomfortable bowel movements. Prunes contain high amounts of soluble fiber. They act as natural laxatives that soften the stool and promote its movement through the intestines. Drink plenty of liquids to reap the benefits of fiber.
Prunes are insoluble fiber that provides food for the “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine. When these bacteria ferment prunes as insoluble fiber, they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid, which serves as the primary fuel for the cells of the large intestine and helps to maintain a healthy colon. These helpful bacteria also create two other short-chain fatty acids, propionic and acetic acid, which are used as fuel for the cells of the liver and muscles.
Prunes are rich in antioxidants and can help your body to slow down the process. Prunes have a top position in the Oxygen Radical Absorbency Scale (ORAC). When the oxidation process takes place in the cells, free radicals are released. These radicals, if not removed then cause serious damage to the cells of the body. It will eventually result in premature aging. But, the antioxidants in prunes and prune juice prevent this by neutralizing the free radicals.
Vitamin A has been proven to be very effective in slowing down the aging process. Prunes are rich in a nutrient that promotes the production of collagen in the body. The increased amount of collagen in the skin prevents the appearance of wrinkles.
One of the major health benefits of prunes is its ability to prevent anemia. Decrease in the level of hemoglobin in blood can lead anemia. The reduction of hemoglobin level is mainly due to the deficiency of iron which is necessary for its production. It can cause many serious health conditions including anemia. Prunes are good source of iron which can be used as a natural remedy for treating anemia.
The soluble fiber present in prunes is necessary to maintain a healthy digestive system. Apart from that, they also delay the absorption of glucose in the intestines, thereby preventing an increase in level of blood sugar. It is also capable of making you more sensitive to insulin. Therefore, it can be used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes effectively.
The dried plums were able to reverse osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Those women were asked to eat 100 grams of dried plums per day had improved bone formation markers after only three months, compared to a control group who were eating 75 grams of dried apples. These health benefits of prunes may be linked to their high concentration of the trace element boron which is postulated to play a role in prevention of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
The person who may not Consume Prunes
Bloating and Gas
Consuming large amounts of prunes leads to gastrointestinal effects, such as bloating and gas in your body.
The potent laxative properties present in prunes can potentially work too well. Eating prunes every day for long periods of time can lead to chronic diarrhea. Similar to stimulant laxatives such as Ex-Lax, long-term use of prunes can cause your digestive system to become dependent on prunes for normal bowel movements. If your digestive tract becomes dependent on laxatives, when you stop taking them you may experience temporary withdrawal symptoms, including constipation, weight gain and fluid retention.