Did you know prunes are also commonly known as “dried plums”, in the United States?
Many devour prunes on a daily basis as it offers a bunch healthy benefits against diseases. It’s a super-healthy fruit with many surprising nutrients that defend the body’s immune system against digestive problems, free radical damage, constipation, cardiovascular diseases, and much more.
A single pitted prune contains not more than 23 calories. Although it contains a high amount of sugar, a balanced prunes diet does no harm to the body, especially when you want the daily intake of dietary fiber and vitamin K. Prunes are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, which is favorable for optimum health and weight loss. (1)
Prunes are a healthier alternative to sweet foods as it suppresses extreme cravings which could inevitably lead to weight gain and other heart problems. Overall, there are several healthy benefits of prunes that I’d like to discuss about in detail. So, let’s get started.
1. Prunes Boosts the Body’s Nutrient Intake
Prunes consist of many sources of nourishments including vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and antioxidants. All of which are necessary for optimum health and immune functions.
When you think of prunes, you think of its digestive properties that help fight irregular bowel movements, constipation, and hemorrhoids. But what about the rest?
If you increase your prune intake to 4 prunes a day, you consume 12% of the optimum daily intake of fiber, 32% of vitamin K, and 9% of potassium. That’s more than plentiful for the development of bones, muscles, and for a stronger immune system. It also helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and to either maintain or lose more weight.
The vitamin A is essential for treating a variety of skin diseases and infections in the body. The body needs excess nutrients like fiber and potassium as they defend the body against increased sodium intake. This could affect your body’s blood pressure and damage your nerves and muscle system. (2)
Key Takeaway: Prunes contain many healthy nutrients that are supposed to serve as immune building blocks and help fight prevailing diseases. The fact that it contains low sodium and cholesterol and has very little traces of sugar makes it the ideal digestible fruit for most healthy individuals.
2. It is a Great Source of Vitamins Essential for Healthy Vision
Maintaining healthy eyesight with the help of nutritive sources such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E is mandatory. The deficiency of specifically vitamin A in the body can cause severe eyesight problems including cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, etc.
Macular degeneration is caused by lack of vitamins and minerals intake in the body. It is a severe eye disease that causes blurred vision or permanent blindness. A daily diet of vitamins can help reduce its symptoms dramatically.
One the other hand, cataract is characterized by blurry vision which is caused by the slow clouding of the eye lens. It doesn’t cause permanent blindness, but the cloudiness of the lens does interfere with the patient’s daily routine. (3,4)
The study conducted for healthy vision found that an effective combination of vitamins and minerals, and amino acids can drastically affect the health of the eye. Due to excessive air pollution, the eyes are more vulnerable to get infected than ever. The vitamins present in prunes can neutralize the release of free radicals in the body. They can reduce the risk of blindness and prevent various eye infections.
Key Takeaway: Studies show that the vitamin A, C, and E present in prunes improves eyesight by fighting against a number of harmful and age-related eye diseases. This includes macular degeneration, blurry vision, cataract, etc.
3. The Mineral Boron Compound Present in Prunes Strengthens Your Bones
Did you know that low bone mineral density is a disorder that has affected over millions of Americans?
I’m sure you’re well-informed about the life-threatening burdens of weakened bones. Fragile bones are an important risk factor that could lead to frequent bone fractures, bone infections, and such abnormalities.
A low bone density could cause osteoporosis, bone cancer, arthritis, and other joint problems.
Along with a plate full of calcium and vitamins, there’s one other nutritious compound that you must be plenty with to fight low bone mineral density. That is mineral boron. And prunes are a good source of it.
Mineral boron is a healthy compound that plays an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis. It’s a bone condition where your bones and joints become extremely weak and stiff. Along with medical treatment, bring about a change in diet can dramatically affect the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. (5)
Interestingly, eating dried prunes improves bone health for all ages, especially for postmenopausal women. When there’s reduced breakdown of bones, there’s less risk of bone fracture and infections. (6)
Key Takeaway: The purpose of prunes is to improve overall bone health and have a positive effect on preventing and treating a number of diseases including bone osteoporosis. With a healthy bone mineral density, one can expect ward away such painful conditions adequately.
4. Prunes are a Good Diabetic Friendly Fruit
Diabetes, as you already know, doesn’t discriminate between age or gender. If you don’t follow a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits, instead you indulge in foods that provoke weight gain, it will lead to diabetes. More specifically type 2 diabetes.
Even the lack of proper physical exercise plays a major role in weight gain and obesity. To maintain optimum blood sugar levels, you need to incorporate both a healthy diet plan and consistent physical exercise.
Prunes are rich in soluble fiber that help prevent faltering blood sugar levels. Researchers found a positive relationship between consuming fruits that include prunes and diabetes. You need something that pushed down food through your digestive system effectively. And a fiber-rich diet is the boost you most absolutely need. (7)
Also, the soluble fiber stimulates lower blood cholesterol levels and glucose levels. By doing so, there’s reduced absorption of sugar in the body which balances the overall blood sugar levels.
Key Takeaway: By eating more fiber-rich fruits such as prunes has powerful effects on your health. To be able to prevent diabetes you need low cholesterol levels and optimum blood sugar levels. To help you body break down foods effectively, prunes are very essential.
5. Eating Dried Prunes Routinely Lowers the Risk of Colon Cancer
If you want to limit your risk of colon cancer, which can only be detected during its last stages, one of the most effective treatments include consumption of prunes.
A research conduction in 2015 showed that eating prunes or dried plums have a positive effect on our body’s gut bacteria. Gut bacteria or microbiota are present throughout the colon. They play a major role in alleviating the germination of cancer cells. By the retention of the gut bacteria, you can positively influence the risk of colon cancer. (8)
It’s already known that a person’s lifestyle and diet can alter the way the body’s metabolism functions. Anything that helps reduce the risk of developing any type of cancer is essential. So a simple lifestyle choice or upgrade, if you must, can be the easiest thing to do for your own good health.
You’d also be interested to know that prunes have beneficial effects on reducing intestinal inflammation in the body. Which may lead to the development of colon cancer.
Key Takeaway: An observation was made that prunes contain powerful nutrients that fight for the retention of gut bacteria present in the colon. This bacteria leads to the development of colon cancer. To reduce the risk of cancer cells, eating dried plums on a daily basis is very important.
6. Plums has many Powerful Properties that Help Against Plaque Buildup
Plaque buildup is a significant cause of a specific type of heart disease. Due to increased cholesterol levels in the artery there’s restricted blood flow which causes a severe blood clot. This could lead to heart attacks or a stroke.
The narrowing of arteries can also happen due to less oxygen supply to all the tissues and blood vessels in the body. This condition is also known as atherosclerosis. (9)
Consuming prunes in the form of solid food or fruit juice is the most effective way at healing increased plaque buildup in the body. A research found high pectin content in prunes which is a powerful antioxidant compound. It helps regulate proper cholesterol levels.
The compelling research focused on atherosclerosis mouse with a certain deficiency that leads to faster germination of atherosclerosis cells. The conclusion suggested that lack of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body influences a lower risk of development of plaque buildup. It definitely slows down the process. (10)
Key Takeaway: Prunes are an effective treatment for people suffering from atherosclerosis. This is caused by aggressive plaque buildup in the arteries, causing the arteries to narrow down. Some studies show that severe conditions of atherosclerosis can cause heart attack or stroke.
7. It Protects the Lungs from Developing Emphysema
Emphysema is a kind of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which arises in the lungs. A large part of why this occurs in patients is due to oxidative stress in the body.
Factors such as cigarette smoking increases inflammatory responses in the body which is a determining characteristic of this disease. People suffering from this condition may experience difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. (11)
However, research shows that the antioxidants present in prunes help in the prevention and treatment of emphysema. To protect the lungs from such oxidative stress, one has to increase the intake of antioxidants to outperform oxidants in the body.
When there’s increased oxidative burden, due to smoking, the powerful antioxidants can stimulate proper anti-inflammatory properties in the lungs. (12)
Key Takeaway: Prunes contain powerful antioxidants which are used to decrease inflammation in the lungs and reduce oxidative stress. People that eat 2-4 prunes daily show decreased signs of COPD. It also helps in strengthening the lung cavity for optimum respiratory functions.
8. Prunes Lower the Risk of Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Iron-Deficiency Anemia is the top nutritional disorder in the world, leading to more serious symptoms such as tiredness, weak immune system, and decreased cognitive performance. It can occur in both children and adults.
Any sort of nutrient deficiency in the body is a bad sign. It leads to life-threatening disorders and chronic diseases. Iron deficiency is a serious ailment that could fracture the complete mental and physical development in infants, children, and adults.
Prunes are an excellent source of iron. They increase your intestine’s ability to absorb iron into the cells. Research suggests that the intake of prune juice show only a 31% reduction which means that they alleviate iron deficiency in the body. (13)
Prunes also contain a good amount of beta carotene and vitamins that are especially important when you have iron deficiency. The vitamin C present in prune juice supports your body’s ability to absorb iron more effectively. (14)
Key Takeaway: The iron content, vitamins, and beta-carotene present in prunes can alleviate iron deficiency by increasing the body’s intestinal function to absorb more iron. This can potentially help prevent iron-deficiency anemia and other serious chronic conditions.
9. The Fiber Intake Present in Prunes Treat Severe Hemorrhoids
Constipation and other digestive irregularities are a major cause for hemorrhoids disease. This condition is more common in women and can often lead to depression, fatigue, and low quality of life.
What causes hemorrhoids is a serious factor to take into consideration because a major reason behind it is lifestyle choice. Lack of physical exercise, lack of dietary fiber, and dehydration are the killing causes of hemorrhoids. So if you want to prevent or treat it, medicines aren’t the most effective treatment for it. (15)
Fiber-rich and water-rich fruits such as prunes soften the stools so they pass through the body easily. Excessive bloating and irregular bowel movements, if untreated, lead to hemorrhoids that must be surgically removed to treat effectively.
By increasing your fiber consumption for constipation and hard stools, you’re living the best life. This also helps in maintaining optimum body weight and reduce inflammation in the intestines for proper metabolic activity. (16)
Key Takeaway: Hemorrhoids can cause severe abdominal and anal pain and discomfort. When prunes is digested, it increases your body’s fiber intake which then improves intestinal function and alleviates constipation.
10. They Defend Against Free Radical Damage
Free radical damage is one of the major causes of cancer proliferation in the cells. It is also an increasing factor for various diseases targeting the lungs, heart, liver, and other organs. The dietary intake of prunes containing plenty of antioxidants show positive signs against radical-induced diseases.
It causes cellular damage to the whole human body. This can be the symptoms of aging or some other harmful chronic disease. They can inevitably cause damage to your body’s proteins intake, DNA, and cell membranes.
Such natural antioxidants are essential because they help your body to absorb food faster and more naturally than antibiotics and other supplements. (17)
It also reduces the risk of certain developed chronic diseases. For patients with a high risk factor of free radical damage, immune responses also weaken with time. If left untreated, it can cause life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and liver problems. Antioxidants in various fruits including prunes prevent such drastic symptoms from coming to life. (18)
Key Takeaway: Prunes help neutralize the effects of free radical damage in the body. They give life to the cellular generation process by fighting against radical-induced oxidative stress. Factors such as smoking, pollution, and an unhealthy lifestyle can cause free radical damage. The solution here is to eat a good amount of prunes daily for optimum defense.
11. The Soluble Fibre in Prunes Prevents Weight Gain and Suppresses Food Cravings
Losing weight is a challenge for most people. An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise may be causing weight gain or underlying medical conditions such as thyroid, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalance.
Prunes contain a good amount of fiber. This encourages a feeling of fullness after you consume prunes as a part of your daily diet.
A study conduction on prune eaters and other snackbar eaters showed that those who ate prunes every day for 12 weeks lost more weight than those on healthy diet snacks. (19)
For long-term benefits, eating prunes every day is essential. It helps control appetite, provides a good nutritive intake of fibers, and it maintains proper weight for a healthy lifestyle.
For people with medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, limiting the cravings and appetite can be challenging. Nobody wants to stay hungry when they can eat something healthy. Prunes keep your tummy full and control appetite when you’re trying to maintain weight loss. (20)
Key Takeaway: The fiber present in prunes increases the feeling of fullness, enhances slow absorption of food, and keeps your metabolism healthy. It is crucial for people struggling to lose weight or maintain their body weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Satisfying your appetite, especially for sugar and fried foods is a task. Prunes can help you win against such unhealthy cravings.
Some Healthy Prunes Recipes To Enjoy
You can replace your boring meals with prune-inspired recipes to give you the daily dose of nutritive benefits. All you need to do is follow these simple recipes by the book for quick night meals or breakfast additions. If you’re too busy with work, these quick healthy recipes will give you a bunch of ideas about including prunes to your daily diet.
They’re here to keep you motivated and they’re so easy to make. These are chef-approved popular prune recipes. Prunes have never tasted this good and cooking has never been this easy. So, let’s get started!
1. Baked Italian Prune Squares
Who said Italian is all about cheese and pasta? These Italian squares combine the perfect combination of prunes and fresh cinnamon.
1/2 cup - butter, unsalted
1 cup - all-purpose flour
3 tbsp - white sugar
1/2 tsp - cooking salt
1/3 - white sugar
3 tbsp - all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp - fresh cinnamon
2 tbsp - melted butter
1/4 cup - almonds, toasted and chopped
15 - prunes
In a bowl, mix together the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Mix well for a couple of minutes until all ingredients are absorbed into the mixture.
Transfer the mixture on an 8-inch square pan and apply pressure until it forms an even layer. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 minutes.
In another bowl, add 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp flour, fresh cinnamon, and melted butter. Mix until you form a crumbly batter. Drip in the toasted almonds. Pit the prune plums and slice them into even pieces.
Spread the fresh prunes on top of the baked crust and sprinkle almonds mixture next.
Keep the oven preheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And bake for 55 minutes.
Cut into even squares.
2. Mediterranean Chicken Marbella with Prunes
Need to get delicious chicken on the table? Cook this healthy chicken recipe that’ll stay with you even after you’re done eating.
8 - chicken thighs
5 tbsp - canola oil
1 tbsp - garlic, minced
1 tsp - oregano, dried
1/2 tsp - cooking salt and pepper
1/4 cup - vinegar
2 - fresh bay leaves
1 cup - prunes, pitted
1/2 cup - stuffed green olives
1/2 cup - white wine
1/4 cup- sugar, brown
1/4 cup - fresh capers
3 tbsp - parsley, chopped
Add 3 tbsp canola oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, white wine, bay leaves, prunes, olives, white wine, capers, and brown sugar into a bowl. Mix until combined evenly.
Fry chicken thighs in remaining canola oil on medium-high heat. Cook for 7 minutes or until slightly brown. Transfer the chicken and the sauce mixture into a baking pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baking for 50 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh parsley leaves.
3. Prune Balls with Shredded Coconut
This recipe offers the maximum energy with minimal cleanup. Plus, it takes only a few minutes to make.
1 1/2 cups - prunes
1 cup - cashew nuts
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup - shredded coconut, sweetened
Add nuts in a food processor and grind for a few seconds.
Sprinkle the prunes and grind together until dough-like. Add salt to taste and mix once more.
Drop the prune balls into a bowl of coconut shreddings. Store tightly in a refrigerator and serve for a couple of weeks.
4. Prune Stuffed Pork in Roasted Red Cabbage
This hearty stuffed pork recipe will stick with your family forever. It’s for the family get-together you’re looking forward to.
3 kg - pork loin
1/4 cup - sea salt
1/4 cup - olive oil
1 - chopped onion
4 - sliced garlic cloves
1 tbsp - thyme leaves
1 1/2 cup - dried prunes, pitted
1/2 cup - almonds
1 cup - parsley leaves
2 cups - breadcrumbs
1 - egg
3/4 cup - port
1 - red cabbage, wedges
2 bunches - beetroot, halved
8 - sprigs thyme
1/2 cup - chicken stock
Cracked bell pepper and sea salt to taste
Rub the pork skins with 2 tbsp of sea salt and refrigerate for 2 straight hours.
Fry the onion, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper on high-heat with olive oil for 5 minutes.
In a food processor, combine prunes, parsley, breadcrumbs, almonds, and egg with the fried onion mixture and blend until evenly combined.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove all the moisture from the pork with a dry towel. Stuff the pork with the stuffing and brush oil and remaining sea salt on the skin.
Place the pork in a roasting tray and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Turn the oven’s temperature down to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
For serving, add red cabbage, extra thyme, and beetroot in a roasting tray. Add remaining oil and salt. Pour the chicken stock and port. Bake for at least 45 minutes until caramelised. Serve immediately with crisped prune-stuffed pork.
5. Prune Truffles
You’ll love how easy, delicious, and healthy these truffles are to cook with prunes.
2 cups - prunes, pitted
1 cup - meal almond
1 cup - carob, powder
1 tsp - cinnamon, grounded
1/4 cup - melted coconut oil
In a food processor, add coconut oil, carob powder, prunes, and almond. Combine until transformed into a dry mixture.
Convert the dough into small balls using a 1 1/2 tbsp scoop for dividing each small. Place on a baking parchment paper. Slide the baking sheet into a freezer. Freeze for 20 minutes.
To coat some of the prune truffles, coat with remaining carob powder. Store in a refrigerator in a tight container.
6. Prune and Apple Stuffed Country Sausage
Discover a fresh way to cook and enjoy prunes with this stuffed country sausage recipe.
1 lb - sausage
1 - chopped onion
2 - sliced celery stalks
3 - minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup - dried cherries
1/2 cup - prunes, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup - prune juice
8 cups - french bread, cubed
1 - chopped apple
1/2 cup - fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp - salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup - chicken stock
2 - eggs
Cook sausages on medium-heat for 8 minutes in a large skillet. Break sausage into small bite-size pieces. Combine onion, garlic, celery. Cook for another 2 minutes.
In a small saucepan, cook prune and prune juice on medium-heat. Cooking for a few minutes and bring to a boil. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine bread, parsley, apples, and cooked sausage. Toss evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add beaten eggs with chicken stock to the mixture. Lastly, combine with prune juice mixture and cherries.
Transfer mixture to a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve hot.
7. Kozani Chicken with Saffron and Prunes
In love with traditional recipes? This is the most delicious chicken you can cook with prunes.
8 - chicken thighs
4 tbsp - olive oil
3 - sliced red onions
1 1/2 tbsp - paprika, sweetened
20 - prunes, pitted
1 tsp - cooking salt
6 - peppermill, black
Bring chicken to a boil with water and saffron. After poaching for 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
Fry the red onions on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
Cook with paprika for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken, chicken stock, and prunes. Add salt and pepper to taste for cook for 20 minutes.
Reduce mixture to a sauce with chicken thighs. Serve with hot rice.
8. Prune and Sausage Omelet
A simple breakfast recipe for starting fresh on a new day! This recipe won’t have you missing your traditional omelet recipe.
1 - Italian sausage
1/3 cup - prunes, chopped
2 tbsp - red peppers, roasted and chopped
4 - eggs, large
1 tbsp - chives, snipped
1/4 tsp - salt
1/4 tsp - pepper
2 tbsp - butter
1 tbsp - parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp - cheese, pieces
Fry sausages on medium-high heat for 7 minutes. Break into bite-sized crumbles. Add peppers and prunes.
Beat eggs together in a bowl, add salt and pepper, chives into the mixture. Cook beaten egg mixture on medium-high heat until evenly cooked on all sides.
Add the prune and sausage mixture on half side of the cooked egg. Sprinkle cheese pieces and parsley. Place the other half of the egg on top of the mixture. Cook until the cheese melts inside the wrap. Serve hot with toasted bread.
That’s A Wrap
From prune truffles to a light and fluffy omelet, you can devour healthy prunes in versatile and easy ways. If you’re trying to make the most out of the many health benefits of prunes, you can try these appetizing meals without a shadow of doubt. They’re the kind of dishes that will leave you feeling full, satisfied, and motivated.
I’ve come a long way to help you make an informed decision to consume more prunes as a part of your daily diet. So I’m sure you now understand the surprising health benefits of prunes, backed by science. Plus, you get some delicious prune recipes to take with you.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.