|Health Professional Edition • Volume 7 • June 2011|
|Mothers are often advised by pediatricians to use it, pregnant women turn to it to ease pregnancy symptoms, and the elderly faithfully consume it, but what makes prune juice so effective? Keeping digestive problems at bay can be a challenge; yet for more than 90 years, Sunsweet Prune Juice has been the all-natural and trusted remedy to alleviate irregularity.|
Sunsweet Prune Juice is an all-natural digestive health remedy – no preservatives, no added sugar – just 100% juice made from sun-sweetened prunes. Ingredients found naturally in prunes, such as fiber and sorbitol, provide a mild laxative effect, which in addition to potassium and magnesium contribute to the maintenance of a healthy bowel. Let's take a closer look:
Dietary fiber is a term used to describe the non-digestible carbohydrates found in food substances which are important for potential health effects. A diet high in fiber is well-recognized for its role in supporting a healthy digestive system.
Breaking Down Fiber
Both soluble and insoluble fibers contribute to the health benefits found in prune juice, so let's break it down:
As a whole food, prune juice is a natural source of fiber. One standard serving (8 oz) contains 3 grams, which provides 12% of the Daily Value (DV) of dietary fiber.
Although fiber may be more commonly associated with digestive health, sorbitol, a much less familiar term, plays an integral role as well. Prune juice naturally contains high levels of sorbitol, a sugar-like substance similar to glucose. However, unlike glucose, sorbitol is absorbed slowly into the blood, allowing it to hold water and increase the moisture content of the stools, leading to easier passage from the body. Prunes and prune juice are unique in that the sorbitol content is much higher than that of other seemingly similar fruits and fruit juices. Differences in the fruit's physiology, as well as differences in processing technology, influence the final pattern of sugar distribution in dried fruits (Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, 2001).
Potassium and Magnesium
When coupled with fiber and sorbitol, these minerals are vital to maintaining good digestive health. Potassium and magnesium work together to help regulate muscle contraction and relaxation of the digestive tract. Prune juice contains 430 mg of potassium per 8 ounce serving, which provides 12% of the Daily Value of dietary fiber, a perfect way to keep things moving. In addition, studies suggest that potassium may play a role in helping support cell energy by regulating fluid balance, nerve impulses and muscle contraction to increase energy (Ehrlich, NM).
- Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber, J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1716-1731.