For the next installment of antioxidant Tuesdays, I am going to talk about prunes. If you haven’t read an Antioxidant Tuesday post before, it is a series highlighting the 10 foods with the highest amount of antioxidants amongst 100 common foods examined in this study. So far, we have talked about kidney beans, pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, artichokes and blackberries.
Health Benefits of Prunes
Prunes have a reputation as being a food for elderly people to help with constipation. However, it is a superfood from which we all could benefit from
As you can see from the nutrition facts, prunes are high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin A. However, as they are dried fruit, they are high in carbohydrates, sugar and calories, so be mindful of serving sizes. Despite their sugar content, they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar due to their high fiber, fructose, and sorbitol content (source)
Also, as you add any food with a lot of fiber to your diet, do it slowly.
Studies about Prunes
Prunes have been studied mainly for their abilities to reduce bone loss and reduce total cholesterol
- Dried plums protect (source) and can even reverses bone loss in models of osteopenia (bone loss) (source) and (source)
- Dried plums given to post-menopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy increased IGF-1 and BSAP, two markers of increased bone formation(source). And these women only had to eat about 5 prunes/day!
- Prunes given to mice prevented the decrease in bone mineral density of the spine after the mice had their ovaries removed (source)
- Prunes were able to reduce blood pressure (source)
- Mice with high cholesterol given prunes had a decrease in cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) (source)
- Prune extract can kill colon cancer cells in vitro (outside of the body) (source)
How Can I Eat Them?
Of course, prunes are delicious and sweet just eaten out of the package. However, you can also add them to recipes.
Do you like prunes? Did you know they had more health benefits than just for constipation?