Staying hydrated is a great way to protect your organs, and it’s also one of the secrets to healthy skin. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per day is good for this. But one way to add some extra flavor and nutrients to your day is by including prune juice in your diet.
Prune juice is made from dried plums, or prunes, which contain many nutrients that can contribute to good health. Prunes are high in sugar, making them a good source of energy. They also have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause a rapid hike in blood sugar levels.
What’s more, prunes are high in fiber, which promotes bowel regularity.
Here are 11 top health benefits of prunes and prune juice.
Prunes are high in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Chronic constipation is a common problem in older adults and can also be a painful problem for infants. Constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids.
Prune juice acts as a laxative thanks to its high sorbitol content. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you or your child.
One 1/4-cup serving of prunes (40 grams, or about 5 prunes) contains
The recommended fiber intake for women and men over 51 is still less, at 22 g and 28 g, respectively.
While prune juice doesn’t contain the same amount of beneficial fiber as the whole fruit, it still retains some fiber and many of the vitamins and minerals that the whole fruit provides.
An overactive bladder can be uncomfortable to deal with, but in some cases, adding fiber to your diet may help. While an overactive bladder can be caused by many things, sometimes constipation can increase the frequency of urination.
To help regulate your bowels, the Johns Hopkins Women’s Center for Public Health recommends increasing your fiber intake by taking 1-2 tablespoons of the following mixture every evening with a large glass of water:
- 1 cup prune juice
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 cup oat bran or unprocessed wheat bran
However, it’s important to talk with your doctor if you notice changes to your bowel or bladder habits. Your doctor can diagnose the cause and help you select any treatments that may be needed.
Prunes are a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that assists in a variety of vital bodily functions. This mineral helps with digestion, heart rhythm, nerve impulses, and muscle contractions, as well as blood pressure.
Since the body doesn’t naturally produce potassium, consuming prunes or prune juice can help you avoid deficiencies. On the other hand, if you follow a low-potassium diet due to conditions such as chronic kidney disease, your doctor or dietitian may recommend that you avoid prunes.
A 1/4-cup portion (40 grams, or about 5 prunes) contains
Prunes aren’t just high in potassium — they also contain lots of key vitamins. A
|Nutrient||Amount in 1/4 cup of prunes||Percent of the FDA’s daily value|
|vitamin K||24 mcg||20%|
|vitamin B6||0.08 mg||5%|
Prunes also contain minerals, including 13% of the DV for copper per serving.
Prune juice is a good source of iron. Depending on what’s causing your iron deficiency, eating a variety of iron-containing foods may help you to prevent and treat it.
Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you choose the right foods to address iron deficiency.
One cup of prune juice contains
Prunes may be especially beneficial in fighting bone density loss linked to radiation treatments, such as some cancer treatments. A
Prunes even have some potential as a treatment for osteoporosis.
Fat and cholesterol can collect in your arteries to form a substance called plaque. When plaque builds up in your arteries, it can cause atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries. If left untreated, this condition can lead to heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.
Research suggests that dried prunes may help slow the development of atherosclerosis. There are a few possible reasons for this.
Potassium-rich foods such as prunes and prune juice may help some people with high blood pressure manage the condition. According to the
However, increasing your potassium intake is not recommended for people with certain health conditions such as kidney disease.
While there’s no scientific evidence that prunes alone can lower your blood pressure, you can ask your doctor whether this food may be beneficial for you.
Prunes can help you manage your weight. They do this by keeping you feeling full for longer. The reason for this is likely twofold.
First, prunes contain lots of
Second, prunes have a low glycemic index (GI). This means they raise the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood slowly.
Avoiding spikes in your blood sugar levels, for example by following a low-GI diet, can help keep your appetite at bay.
Prunes contain polyphenols, antioxidant compounts that may reduce inflammation in your body. Polyphenols are thought to support healthy functioning in many areas — your digestion, nervous system, heart, blood vessels, and more.
The polyphenols found in prunes appear to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In
It might come as a surprise, but your overall health is linked to the bacteria in your gut, also known as your gut microbiome.
One animal study suggested that eating dried plums can positively affect and increase microbiota (or beneficial bacteria) throughout the colon. The researchers suggest that this might help lower your risk for colon cancer. However, more studies are needed before making any strong anti-cancer claims.
Although they’re tasty and have many health benefits, prunes and prune juice can also have a few negative effects.
Gas and bloating
Prunes can cause gas and bloating for some people. They contain sorbitol, a sugar that is known to cause these effects. Dietary fiber, also found in prunes, can also lead to gas and bloating.
If you’re concerned about bloating or gas, consider introducing prunes into your diet slowly. This will give your digestive system time to adjust to them, and symptoms may be reduced.
Anecdotally, some people connect eating prunes with digestive upsets like diarrhea and constipation. But based on the available evidence, prunes are generally well tolerated, and a daily serving of prunes is not likely to cause these symptoms.
You shouldn’t drink prune juice if you’re already experiencing diarrhea.
Sugar and calorie content
The sugar and calories found in prunes makes them a good source of energy. But if you’re trying to manage your weight, consuming large quantities of prunes and prune juice could have undesired effects.
A 1/4-cup serving (40 grams) of five uncooked prunes has
If you follow an specialized eating plan
If you follow an specialized eating plan due to any health conditions, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian before adding prunes or prune juice to your diet.
For example, prunes may not be suitable for people who are following a low-potassium diet to manage kidney disease.
While it’s rare, it’s possible to be allergic to prunes or prune juice. Should you experience allergy symptoms that you think are related to consuming prunes or their juice, stop eating prunes or drinking prune juice and consult your doctor.
Prune juice naturally contains a substance known as acrylamide in very small traces. Acrylamide is considered to be a carcinogen by the
However, the amount of acrylamide found in prune juice is small compared to other foods such as potato chips and french fries, or other exposure sources such as cigarette smoke.
The amount of acrylamide in a serving of prune juice is not known to pose any risk to human health. What’s more, there is plenty of evidence supporting the beneficial health effects of prunes.
Prunes come with a large number of health benefits and can improve digestion while offering needed nutrients. Some people, however, may find it difficult to incorporate prunes into their diet.
Here are some easy ways to add prunes to your diet:
- Eat them alone as a snack.
- Add prunes to your breakfast oatmeal.
- Mix them with nuts, other dried fruits such as apricots, and dark chocolate chips for a healthy trail mix.
- Add them to baked goods.
- Blend them (or use prune juice) for drinks or smoothies.
- Puree prunes and eat them as “prune butter” or jam.
- Add them to a savory stew.
Adding prunes to your diet can be much easier — and more fun — than you’d think. For best results, make sure that you gradually increase your prune intake over time.