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Not a huge fan of plums? You will definitely start liking the fruit if you get top know the health benefits it offers. Plums are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber as well as antioxidants that may help reduce your risk of several diseases. Typically plums are available in the summer, but you don't have to wait for a particular season to enjoy the fruit and reap its health benefits. You can try the dried version, prunes.
Prunes, sometimes called dried plums, are handy and unlike plums you can find them easily throughout the year, and can can be stored in the fridge for months. Prunes are known to be a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Vitamin B6, potassium. Below are 8 evidence-based health benefits of prunes.
In a study conducted by the University's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, overweight or obese participants who ate prunes daily lost about 2 kgs within a period of 12 weeks. Prunes are a good source of energy but takes time to digest leaving the person full for a long period of time. It is also a good source of soluble fibre which further helps you lose weight by preventing overeating.
Prunes have high potassium content that helps regulation of blood pressure. About 100 g of prunes contain 745 mg of potassium. A study by Ahmed T and colleagues found that a single dose of prunes (prunes soaked in water) resulted in significant reduction of blood pressure in patients. Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that about 17000 participants with high potassium diet were least likely to develop hypertension.
The ability of prunes to treat liver disorders is attributed to its fibre content. A clinical trial was carried out to check the effects of prunes on liver function. Study participants who had an increased level of liver enzymes due to damaged liver cells, were given 3 prunes soaked in a glass of water (250ml) overnight. After 8 weeks the participants showed significant reduction in aspartate transaminase and bilirubin suggesting that it might be beneficial for people with liver disease.
Prunes have proven to be a natural laxative for people suffering from constipation and poor digestion. They add bulk to fecal matter and reduce the transit time in the colon. They also promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine which help in digestion.
Prunes are a significant source of boron which helps in improving bone density. One serving of prunes is enough for fulfilling your daily recommended intake of boron and keeping your bones intact for a long time. According to a study published in the Natural Medicine Journal, prunes significantly reduced serum levels of bone turnover markers in patients with poor bone mineral density. The study strongly suggests 'prune diet' as an alternative treatment option for people with osteoporosis.
Due to the presence of phytochemicals that act as potent antioxidants, prunes help in preventing heart disease by destruction of arteries due to oxidation of plaque. Also, prunes are rich in fibre that also contributes to preventing heart disease. A study that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people consuming rich sources of fibre had 12% reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily.
Although a good simple sugars, prunes can be a healthy food for diabetics. It has been postulated that due to its high fire, fructose and sorbitol content, prunes do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar level. They delay the absorption of glucose by slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach. Soluble fibre in prunes increases insulin sensitivity and therefore good for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
Fibre in prunes bind bile acids and help in their excretion. In order to compensate for the loss of bile acids the liver ups the synthesis of new bile acids by extracting cholesterol from the bloodstream. This significantly helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels.