Prunes health benefits includes supporting healthier vision, preventing cancer, supporting cardiovascular health, fighting anemia, boosting body immunity, supporting healthy digestion, relieving cramps and fighting inflammation. Other health benefits includes supporting bone health, ensuring healthy hair, and enhancing the skin.
Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet, besides this, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit also offer a variety of nutrients and have various uses in the culinary world. Dried fruit and nuts can be made into a trail mix to snack on.
A prune falls under the category of a dried fruit. This article aims to elaborate the various health benefits it has on the human body.
What is a Prune?
A prune is a dried version of the plum. However, not all plums can be dried into prunes. The standard variety of plums used for prunes is d’Agen. This is because as the fruit matures, and has a deep purple color that indicates higher acid and sugar content. Most other varieties will ferment over time due to the presence of the stone intact, but this variety manages to dry off without fermenting.
Most cultivars are specially grown for the purpose of drying these fruits. The freestone varieties are the best variety of plums to be dried.
The use of dried prunes has been a part of the culinary world since ancient times. There are records that show Egyptians using prunes in one of their most used recipes. It is believed that the pruning process first began in Western Asia. A Sumerian clay tablet from 2150 B.C. reveals the use of prunes in poultices. The West was introduced to prunes around the 12th century when Damson trees were brought to Europe from Syria. The Monks of Abbey Claraic in France first cross bred the local plum with the fruit from the Damson trees. This created a variety that could be preserved for almost a year before showing signs of decay. By the 16th century, the cultivation of the Ente plum was flourishing. The ente plum is named as the d’Agen plum after the port of Agen.
Nutritional Value of Prunes
Prunes are nutrient dense and contain far more fiber than most fruits; ounce for ounce Here is a nutritional chart based on a 100-gram serving of prunes.
- Carbohydrates 38.13 g
- Protein 2.18 g
- Dietary fiber 7.1g
- Folates 4µg
- Niacin 1.882g
- Panthothenic acid 0.442 mg
- Pyridoxine 0.205 mg
- Riboflavin 0.026 mg
- Thiamin 0.051g
- Vitamin A 781 IU
- Vitamin C 0.6mg
- Vitamin E 0.43 mg
- Vitamin K 59.5 µg
- Potassium 732 mg
- Calcium 43mg
- Copper 0.281 mg
- Iron 0.93mg
- Magnesium 41mg
- Manganese 0.299 mg
- Phosphorus 69mg
- Selenium 0.3 µg
- Zinc 0.44 mg
- Carotene-β 394 µg
- Cryptoxanthin-β 394 µg
- Lutein-zeaxanthin 148 µg
The above list shows the variety of nutrients and antioxidants that are present in prunes. The nutritional value of prunes is higher than most foods that are considered to be extremely healthy.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Prunes
1. Healthier Vision
Macular degeneration, dry eyes, and night blindness are the most common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. Prunes are very beneficial in promoting a healthy vision as they provide up to 3% of the daily recommended value for vitamin A. They are also rich in Carotene, which is an essential phytonutrient that helps boost overall eye health and prevent macular degeneration.
Prunes are rich in antioxidants which prevent the onset of chronic illnesses such as cancer. Selenium, Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and other phytonutrients make prunes a powerhouse of anti-cancerous elements. Prunes are also a rich source of plant phenols that protect various organs of the body from oxidative stress. Cancer in most cases is the result of free radical damage to parts of the body. The amount of antioxidants in prunes is much higher than that of blueberries.
3. Cardiovascular Health
Food that is rich in potassium and dietary fiber keep the cardiovascular system in good health. Potassium acts as a vasodilator and is responsible for the proper function of the nervous system throughout the body. Dietary fiber unclogs your arteries and removes excess fat from your blood vessels to ensure adequate regulation of blood to and from the heart. Prunes are rich in fiber and potassium, which makes them an ideal snack for anyone suffering from heart problems.
4. Fight Anemia
Anemia can be very damaging to the overall health of the human body. This is effects the production of red blood cells in the body and causes severe fatigue and harms the most vital organs in the body. Prunes are an excellent source of folates, iron, zinc and copper which is ideal to keep the red blood cell production in check and also prevent the levels of hemoglobin from going below the ideal point.
5. Immunity Boost
The human body has a mechanism that needs to be strong enough to keep it safe internally from diseases and infections. The antioxidants and vitamin C in prunes provide an ideal boost that the immune system needs. Vitamin C is known as one of the most powerful antioxidants that helps keep various physical and internal diseases at bay.
6. Healthy Digestion
Prunes have been a part of digestive medicine since the use of Greek medicine. Concoctions to heal the gut were prepared for the use of prunes. Prunes are rich in fiber and various minerals that ensure healthy bowel movement and reduce the symptoms of constipation.
7. Relieves Cramps
Prunes are rich in fiber and antioxidants, which makes them an ideal snack for relieving cramps. They show antispasmodic properties and are also good for reducing PMS symptoms.
Prunes have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation anywhere within the body. The presence of thiamin and riboflavin make it an ideal food for reducing inflammation and infection in the body.
9. Bone Health
Prunes contain a combination of minerals that are necessary for the repair and development of the bones structure. They contain Calcium, Copper, Zinc, phosphorus and Vitamin K, which is necessary for the body to maintain bone density even in old age.
10. Healthy Hair
The copper and iron in prunes help prevent hair loss and breakage. The deficiency of these two minerals can strongly affect the integrity of the hair on a cellular level.
11. Healthy Skin
Vitamin C and E are the Holy Grail ingredients in skin care products. It is better to eat a diet that is rich in skin health-boosting ingredients rather than topical applications only. Vitamin C also has anti-aging properties that help keep the skin healthy and elastic well into your golden years.
The nutritional value of this dried fruit is enough to convince you to add them as a regular snack into your diet. Prune juice is also a healthy alternative to get a dose of these nutrients.