Eating healthily needn’t be a challenge.
If you’re looking to eat healthily and maybe even drop a few pounds in the process, there are plenty of delicious foods out there that you can indulge in.
Today we’re going to be looking at several shocking health benefits of prunes.
When we think of healthy eating, we often imagine tasteless and uninspiring foods like salads, steamed veggies, and other products that, while being healthy, tastes incredibly boring.
If you want a sweet treat that’s extremely good for you however, you may wish to look into prunes.
These delicious fruits are extremely versatile, and they can be prepared and enjoyed in many different ways.
Since ancient times we have been cultivating and harvesting prunes, with many believing that they originated in Western Asia or Egypt.
In the West, we’ve been using prunes since roughly the 12th century.
Prunes can address a wide range of health issues, and in terms of their healthy properties, they’re vastly underappreciated.
That’s why we’re looking at the many prunes benefits in today’s article.
What Are Prunes?
To ensure that we’re all on the same page, we first need to take a look at precisely what prunes are.
Basically, a prune is a large dried plum.
It is worth noting, however, that not all varieties of plum can be dried and turned into prunes.
The most common variety of plum used to make a prune is a variety known as the d’Agen.
This variety of plum has a higher sugar and acid content, so once it dries and matures it takes on a much darker purple color.
People have dried making prunes from other varieties of plum but have found that they start to ferment and break down over time.
The d’Agen variety, however, does not ferment.
Prunes taste wonderful and can be used in many different dishes, and many different ways.
Today though, we’re looking at the prunes health benefits.
What Are The Main Health Benefits Of Prunes?
Now that we know more about what prunes are, where they originated, and how they are created, we’ll now take a look at what it is that makes prunes so healthy and nutritious.
Here are several health benefits:
1. Prunes Promote Healthy Eyesight
There’s a common old wives tale that states that carrots help you to see in the dark.
The main reasoning behind this saying is that the beta-carotene and vitamin A contained within carrots is good for your eyes, and therefore helps promote healthy vision.
But we aren’t talking about carrots today, we’re talking about prunes.
Prunes contain a surprisingly high amount of vitamin A and Carotene.
A small serving of prunes can provide close to 5% of your recommended daily intake for vitamin A.
Prunes, therefore, help to improve your vision, they fight macular degeneration, and they may even help you to see better in poor light.
2. Prunes Are Very Nutritious
Anything with a large volume of micronutrients is considered beneficial, yet prunes, in particular, are very rich in the aforementioned goodies.
Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which the body needs in order to function correctly.
It just so happens that prunes are loaded full of them.
Listing each one would take us all day, but some of the more prominent nutrients include Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, and plenty more besides.
3. Prunes Can Help Prevent Chronic Illness
Chronic illnesses including many forms of cancer can potentially be fatal.
The stronger the human immune system, the less likely we’ll be to suffer from the said affliction.
One of the best prunes health benefits is the fact that they are loaded full of antioxidants.
Antioxidants destroy unstable molecules in the body known as free radicals.
If left untouched, these free radicals would attack our cells, destroy them, mutate them, and potentially turn them cancerous or make us sick.
They do this by exposing them to oxygen via a process called oxidation.
Antioxidants basically prevent oxidation from occurring, which means that you can potentially prevent chronic illnesses by consuming prunes.
4. Prunes Make A Great Healthy Snack
If you’re trying to lose weight, or just eat healthily, snacking on junk food is one of the worst mistakes that you can make.
When you’re hungry but can’t stomach another meal, or simply aren’t allowed another meal, a quick snack will take away the hunger.
This is where it’s so important to snack wisely.
Forget the chips, candy bars, cookies, and other junk, and instead reach for a handful of sticky and delicious prunes.
Prunes are very good for you, they’re virtually fat-free, they’re low in calories, and they contain fiber which will help to keep you feeling full.
5. Prunes Can Prevent Haemorrhoids
Okay, this may be a little embarrassing for some people, but hemorrhoids are indeed a real problem for a lot of people.
Commonly brought on by constipation, or excessive wiping if you have diarrhea, hemorrhoids – sometimes known as ‘piles’ and basically blood vessels in the rectum that have become swollen and inflamed.
The condition can be agony for some people and can make life very uncomfortable.
Prunes are fantastic when it comes to your digestion, so if you suffer from hemorrhoids brought on as a result of complications from your bowel movements, you may wish to stock up on prunes.
6. Prunes Are Great For The Digestive System
As we just mentioned above, one of the main prunes health benefits is the fact that they are so beneficial for the digestive system.
Prunes contain heaps of soluble and insoluble fiber, which both promote digestive health in various ways.
Soluble fiber helps assist with gut bacteria levels, as well as nutrient absorption and digestive breakdown of food.
The insoluble fiber is absorbed via the stools, where it lubricates them and adds bulk to them, helping you to pass them a lot easier.
If you suffer from constipation, health experts often recommend the consumption of prunes and prune juice.
7. Prunes Help Prevent Muscle Cramps
If you’re quite a physically active individual, you’ll find that muscle cramps can be quite regular when you train intensely, and you certainly don’t need us to tell you how painful they can be.
When we become dehydrated and lose electrolytes, our muscles begin to spasm and cramp up, which can be very painful.
Potassium is a very important mineral when it comes to the prevention of muscle cramps, and prunes have bucketloads of this very mineral.
One cup of prunes contains nearly 30% of your recommended daily intake for potassium.
8. Prunes Promote Cardiovascular Health
With heart disease being the biggest killer in the world, it’s clear that we need to do everything that we can to keep our hearts healthy and indeed, all other aspects of the cardiovascular system as well.
Prunes are very beneficial for cardiovascular health, for many reasons.
To begin with, prunes contain potassium, which plays a vital role in ensuring the heart functions safely and correctly.
They also contain fiber, which helps to lower dangerous LDL cholesterol levels that could cause blockages in the arteries.
Then there are the antioxidants, which help to prevent plaque deposits forming in the arteries via cholesterol build-ups.
Roll all of these things together, and you have the perfect recipe for optimal cardiovascular health.
9. Prunes Promote Weight Loss
Unless you’re very fortunate, there’s a chance that you’ll have struggled with your weight, at least once in your life.
Obesity levels are now out of control and as a result, our life expectancies are dropping.
This is where it pays to get your weight under control.
Another of the very important prunes benefits that we’re going to look at today is the fact that they promote weight loss.
To begin with, they’re a great healthy snack, so snacking on them is better for you than snacking on greasy junk food.
Then there’s the fact that they’re fat-free, are low in calories, and have a low glycaemic index so they won’t cause sudden spikes in insulin levels or blood glucose levels.
The fiber in prunes will also help to fill you up and keep you feeling full for longer, so you’ll consume fewer calories.
10. Prunes Are Great For The Bones
If you want healthy bones, prunes need to be a part of your diet.
Prunes contain calcium and vitamin D, which are both needed to strengthen and protect the bones.
Prunes can help to strengthen your bones and can prevent degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease.
As well as the two nutrients listed previously, prunes also contain other essential minerals and nutrients needed to maintain healthy bones, such as potassium, copper, iron, manganese, vitamin K and zinc.
11. Prunes Help Fight Inflammation
Inflammation in the body can cause all kinds of ailments.
Mild inflammation can cause painful joints and headaches.
More extreme levels of inflammation, however, can be precursors and catalysts for chronic illness and disease.
Prunes contain active ingredients that are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties.
In particular, you’ll find that the Riboflavin and Niacin in prunes help to ease inflammation.
12. Prunes Promote Healthy Skin And Hair
Because of their high vitamin and antioxidant content, prunes are ideal for people that take pride in their appearance.
The antioxidants help to fight the signs of aging brought on by oxidative stress and cellular damage to the skin cells, whilst the vitamins help to boost collagen production and give the skin a healthy look and feel.
The same principles also apply to the hair.
Basically, people that follow healthy diets and lifestyles by eating foods such as prunes almost certainly will have much better-looking skin and hair than people that eat heaps of junk food.
13. Prunes Are Versatile
When food is versatile this is extremely useful because you can prepare it and can consume it in many different ways.
Although this is perhaps not one of the more crucial prunes benefits, it is still beneficial, so we’ve included it.
Prunes are wonderful because they can be used, prepared, and consumed in many different ways.
You can make prune juice, you can use prunes in preserves, you can eat them as snacks, you can add them to savory dishes, you can use them as a breakfast food, you can add them to desserts, and much more besides.
Basically, if you’re creative enough, there are countless prune recipes out there for you to try.
If you do lack that creative flair in the kitchen, that’s where the wonders of the internet come into play, so just search for prune recipes that way instead.
14. Prunes Boost The Immune System
In order for you to avoid getting sick, you need to ensure that your immune system is strong and healthy.
Your immune system helps to fight off germs, viruses, bacteria, and pathogens that attack you from within and cause you to get sick.
The more nutrients you consume, the stronger your immune system becomes.
Thankfully, prunes are loaded full of nutrients that strengthen the immune system.
15. Prunes Can Fight Anaemia
Finally, the last of the prunes health benefits that we’re going to look at today is all to do with anemia.
Anemia is a condition whereby your body lacks hemoglobin and/or red blood cells.
This is usually caused by a lack of iron.
Prunes contain plenty of iron, making them awesome for people at risk or anemia.
And with that, it’s almost time for us to draw this article to a close.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the many weird and wonderful health benefits of prunes, and if so, we hope that you’ll stock up your kitchen cupboards with these delicious fruits so that you can start reaping the rewards.