Bone Health

Studies have shown that eating prunes supports bone health, especially in postmenopausal women. Prunes are a source of potassium – a mineral associated with a decreased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis – which helps to increase bone mineral density while reducing bone breakdown. Prunes also contain magnesium, which is important for bone structure, and vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone mineralization. Additionally, prunes are filled with plant-based compounds called polyphenols, which promote bone health by reducing bone mineral loss.1,2

Satiety & Weight Control

Amaz!n™ Prunes not only make a sweet and satisfying snack, but have also been shown to promote satiety and help with weight control. At only 100 calories per serving (40 grams or about 4 whole prunes), prunes contain 3 grams of dietary fiber and no fat. Compared to other dried fruits, prunes are lower in sugar and have a low glycemic index of only 29. This means they are digested and absorbed slowly by the body, which helps to sustain energy over a longer period of time compared to foods with a higher glycemic index. And, a recent study shows that compared with other snack foods, prunes may help to lower blood glucose levels, increase satiety, and suppress hunger.3,4,5

Heart Health

Adding Amaz!n™ Prunes to the diet can support a healthy heart. Prunes are low in both sodium and fat, and contain 3 grams of dietary fiber in every serving. A high intake of dietary fiber has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. A study from UC Davis found that eating just 10-12 prunes daily lowered LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol that contributes to plaque buildup) in men.6,7

Digestive Health

One of the most well-known health benefits of Amaz!n™ Prunes is their contribution to digestive health. Prunes and prune juice are naturally a good source of fiber as well as sorbitol, a sugar-like substance similar to glucose. However, unlike glucose, sorbitol is absorbed slowly into the blood which allows it to hold water, increasing the moisture content of the stools, leading to easier passage from the body. The sorbitol content in prunes, along with a unique combination of nutrients, helps the body regulate digestion.9

Healthy Cooking

Prunes' nutrient properties make them an extremely versatile ingredient. Prunes contain fiber, sorbitol, malic acid, and polyphenols, which allow them to work wonderfully as a natural meat tenderizer, retain meat moisture and enhance savory flavors. Pureed prunes can be used as a substitute for fats and in place of refined sugar – both techniques that can reduce calories and add nutrients without compromising flavor. Our Fudgy Chocolate Cake recipe, for example, is deliciously lightened up with Sunsweet® Prunes.8

References

  1. Arjmandi BH, Khalil DA, Lucas EA, et al. (2002) Dried plums improve indices of bone formation in postmenopausal women. J Womens Health Gend Based Med 11, 61–68.
  2. Hooshmand S, Chai SC, Saadat RL, et al. (2011) Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr 106, 923–930.
  3. Furchner-Evanson Al, Petrisko Y, Howarth L, Memoseck T, and Kern M. (2010) Type of snack influences satiety responses in adult women. Appetite 54, 564-569.
  4. Farajian P, Katsagani M, Zampelas A. (2010) Short-term effects of a snack including dried prunes on energy intake and satiety in normal-weight individuals. Eating Behaviors 11(3), 201-203.
  5. Harrold J et al. Dried fruit (prune) consumption does not undermine active weight management or produce adverse gastrointestinal effects. European Congress on Obesity. Sofia, Bulgaria (HTPO.017), May 30, 2014.
  6. Pereira MA, O’Reilly E, Augustsson K, et al. Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2004; 164:370–6.
  7. Tinker LF, Schneeman BO, Davis PA, Gallaher DD, Waggoner CR. (1991) Consumption of prunes as a source of dietary fiber in men with mild hypercholesterolemia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53, 1259–1265.
  8. Jarvis N, Clement AR, O'Bryan CA, Babu D, Crandall PG, Owens CM, Meullenet JF, Ricke SC. (2012) Dried plum products as a substitute for phosphate in chicken marinade. Journal of Food Science 77(6), S253-7.
  9. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen P, Hussain E, Damayanti-Wood B, and Fransworth N. Chemical Composition and Potential Health Effects of Prunes: A Functional Food?, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2001;41(4):251-286.

Wholesome and nourishing foods, like prunes, are magic. They help you stay healthy, and feel strong and satisfied. When you treat your body right, you can really feel the difference.

Try two delicious recipes I’ve created for healthy holiday entertaining. Prunes are one of my favorite go-to ingredients to add flavor, good nutrition and natural sweetness without too many calories.

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Dawn Jackson Blatner

Nutrition Expert & Registered Dietitian

Sunsweet® is proud to partner with Dawn. She is the nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs, a food and nutrition blogger with Huffington Post and a nutrition expert on the advisory board of Fitness Magazine. Dawn is also the author of "The Flexitarian Diet", which was recently ranked a top plant-based diet by US News & World Report.

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