Prunes and Your Health: Unlocking the Potential of Whole Food

This is a sponsored post about the nutritional benefits of prunes in partnership with the California Dried Plum Board. This post contains no affiliate links.

I say, prunes.

You think…bowels?

That’s understandable. Prunes, or “dried plums” as the more recent and more appealing title that has emerged, have been known to support a healthy bowel for eons.

And for good reason: prunes contain a natural laxative and are a source of soluble fibre.

But new research shows that dried plums are more than just a way to get the ahem, plumbing going.

In fact, one daily serving of 5-6 prunes (for only 100 calories) supports bone health by having a preventative effect on bone loss. This review of 24 clinical studies published in the journal Nutrients in 2017 showed prunes help with bone formation and decrease bone breakdown by influencing the actual cells that do this work.

The researchers think this protective effect is at least partly due to the phenols present in the fruit. Phenols belong to a group of antioxidants that have tons of anti-inflammatory effects on many different cells in the body.

And it’s not just bone health that prunes have a beneficial effect on. These nutritional powerhouses help our hearts too.

I remember my mom buying prunes when we were growing up and I wasn’t so taken with them until a few years ago. Although as it turns out, my mom was really on to something. My dad had heart disease and prunes actually help to support heart health.

Prunes are truly a “functional food”, meaning there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these humble fruits.

Studies have shown these phytonutrients help to prevent oxidative damage to cells in the body and can help lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Plus, the soluble fibre in the prunes has its own benefits.

This fibre gives your gut bacteria lots of things to work on and a healthy gut is important for a whole range of health benefits including, prevention of chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes.

prunes

When you increase the diversity of the microbiome in the gut and get a variety of different fibre sources coming into the gut, your gut stays happy and healthy. Different food and fibre for the gut to work on lets more of the good bugs in there flourish (Harvie et al., 2017).

In addition to bone, heart and gut health, prunes are a great way to help manage blood sugars and prevent type 2 diabetes. They have a low glycemic index and are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth being naturally sweet.

I see prunes the total package when it comes to whole food (like my whole food fueling of prediabetes reversal).

Whole food, like dried prunes, are a great way to fuel up with food that supports your total health – heart, gut, brain, muscles and bones.

Check out this salad my brother made with them!

I love it when he shares the super healthy and fueling meals he makes with me – this one was a salad with:

  • spinach and baby kale
  • cottage cheese
  • red pepper
  • tomato
  • chicken breast
  • and prunes!

And even his dog, Milo eats prunes 🙂

prunes

I just have my prunes in a container on the kitchen counter for a quick, easy access snack but you can even blend them up into smoothies, savory dishes or baking.

Check out the California Dried Plum Board for a whole bunch of recipes and get some of these bone-supporting little gems into you life today, k?

Here’s to “whole package health!”

~April

References

Harvie, R, Chanyi, RM, Schultz, M (2017). Using the human gastrointestinal microbiome to personalize nutrition advice: are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists ready for the opportunities and challenges? J of the Academy of Nutr and Diet; 117 (12):1865-1869.

Wallace, T. C. (2017). Dried Plums, Prunes and Bone Health: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients, 9(4), 401. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040401

Bone health: a review from 2017 showed the potential for prunes to have protective effects on bone loss (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409740/)

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