From helping with digestion to protecting you from free radical damage, eating prunes and drinking their juice can have an incredible impact on your wellbeing. Here are 8 key health benefits of prunes and prune juice.
A ‘prune’ is a dried plum of any variety. To make prune juice, prunes are pulverised and dissolved in hot water then strained to remove any pits, skin or seeds.
Eating prunes and drinking prune juice can have many benefits for your health. Sweet and a little tart, they are packed with nutrients, are great for your digestive system, lungs, heart, and may also help to prevent chronic diseases.
Great For Digestion
Prune juice is renowned for its digestive qualities, and many people drink it for this reason alone. Prunes are high in dietary fibre and natural sorbitol which can help to prevent and treat constipation and promote colon health.
A 2008 study in the Korean Journal of Community Nutrition stated that “supplementation of prune products is effective to provide energy, dietary fiber and water, and to relieve constipation symptoms for constipated adults.”
Loaded with Potassium, Iron and Other Minerals
Prunes are an excellent source of potassium, an electrolyte that assists in a variety of vital bodily functions like digestion, heart and muscle function, and blood pressure. The body does not produce potassium, so it is important to find dietary sources where possible.
Prune juice is also a great source of iron, with half a cup containing around 3 mg, or 17% of your recommended daily intake. It is also loaded with trace minerals like manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Packed With Vitamins
Prune juice is packed with essential vitamins too, and drinking half a glass every day is a great way to work these into your diet. It’s a good source of vitamins C, K and B-6, which are great for immunity, blood and metabolism respectively. It is also a source of riboflavin and niacin, which are both important for energy production.
Bolsters Good Bacteria
The fibre in prune juice is a great source of “food” for the good bacteria in your gut, which is necessary for intestinal health. The more good bacteria in your gut, the less prevalent bad bacteria may be.
Protects from Free-Radical Damage
Prune juice is loaded with antioxidants, which are important for protecting the body from daily aggravators. Antioxidants are closely linked with the prevention of cellular damage, which is the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a range of chronic diseases. This is achieved by neutralising free-radicals in the body.
Good For Your Lungs
The antioxidants found in prune juice have a multitude of benefits for your body. One study in particular linked a diet rich in antioxidants with hindering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema.
“There is considerable evidence that an increased oxidative burden occurs in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and this results in an imbalance between oxidants/antioxidants or oxidative stress,” the study says. Prune juice is a great way to restore this balance.
Helps Reduce Appetite
As we’ve mentioned, prunes are an excellent source of fibre, which is slow to digest. And the longer you digest your food, the longer you stay feeling ‘full’ for.
Prunes also have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they raise your blood sugar gradually, rather than giving you a ‘sugar hit’. It is thought that this is due to their sorbitol content. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol with a slow absorption rate.
These two factors combined help reduce your appetite, which is a fantastic way to assist with weight loss. If you’re trying to slim down, prunes and prune juice may be a great addition to your diet.
Help Control Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is caused by myriad factors, from high cholesterol to high salt intake, and is closely linked with a range of chronic conditions such as stroke and heart attacks.
A study in 2010 found that a daily dose of prunes can have profound protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Just one more reason why you might want to consider incorporating prunes and prune juice into your diet!
References avaliable upon request.