Plums & Prunes
Prunes are dried plums that have a naturally sweet taste, are low cost and have long shelf life. This soft and squishy fruit makes for an economical and enjoyable addition to any balanced diet.
Surprisingly prunes have a low glycaemic index, which means that it raises the blood sugar levels slowly.1 This is because it contains sorbitol, a sugar that has a slow absorption rate.2 This property makes it a good source of sustained energy and helps to reduce hunger pangs too!
Prunes are very nutritious and are high in antioxidants. They are rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin K, boron, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.2
This is an estimated nutritional information for 5 pitted prunes3:
How It Helps with Constipation
Prunes are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre.3 Soluble fibres help to moderate digestion and improve absorption of nutrients. On the other hand, insoluble fibre helps promote healthy bowel movements which prevents haemorrhoid caused by constipation.
Other Health Benefits
Besides it’s well known ability to relieve constipation, prunes also have a number of surprising health benefits such as4:
- Reduce risk of colon cancer (since it promotes good bowel movements).2
- Build strong bones and muscles as well as reduce bone density loss (prevent bone resorption and enhance bone formation).2
- Helps with Anaemia (rich in iron).5
- Promote healthy hair and skin (anti-aging properties and helps prevent hair loss and breakage).5
- Promote Heart Health (rich in potassium that can help manage blood pressure).6
- Reduce Cholesterol level (slow down the deposition of fats in the blood vessels).6
Even if one were to become bored of the usual dried produce, prunes can be enjoyed pitted, juiced or even savoury dishes like pasta!
- Most prunes in the market are available as pitted, that means the seeds are removed. Making it very convenient to consume.
- But if you prefer prunes in their natural form, you can still get non-pitted prunes.
- If you fancy a drink, there are many brands who produce prune juice.
- Aspiring home cooks would be happy to know that prunes can be incorporated into a number of dishes ranging from desserts like prune pudding to using it as a garnish in savoury dishes with chicken and or pasta.
Cautions for Diabetics
Many commercially sold prune products are artificially sweetened, flavored and processed, causing an increase in the glycemic index.1 So before purchasing, make sure to read the labels first and go for unprocessed and unsweetened dried prunes.1
Even though prunes have a low glycemic index, it should still be consumed in moderation. Sugar is still sugar and overindulgence would be detrimental to your glycemic load. Be sure to keep it within the total calories allowed in your daily diet.
- Glycemic Index of Prunes. Alandra Greenlee. Livestrong.com. (Web accessed November 2020). Web link: Glycemic Index of Prunes | Livestrong.com
- The Top Health Benefits of Prunes and Prune Juice. Summer Fanous. Healthline. (Web accessed November 2020). Web link: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/top-benefits-of-prunes-prune-juice#eating-more-prunes
- Prunes: Are there Health Benefits? WebMD. (Web accessed November 2020). Web link: https://www.webmd.com/diet/prunes-health-benefits#1
- Fruit Facts: Prunes. Avery Mann. Spryliving.(Web accessed November 2020). Web link: https://spryliving.com/articles/fruit-facts-prunes/
- 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Prunes. Brandi Mercene. Natural Food Series. (Web accessed November 2020). Web link: https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-benefits-prunes/
- Prune Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Barbie Cervoni. Verywellfit. (Web accessed November 2020). Web link: Prune Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits (verywellfit.com)