Prunes are some of the most popular dried fruits, right next to raisins, figs and dates. They are produced from a variety of plums that need to attain full ripeness before being harvested to ensure a maximum level of sweetness and flavor.
Plums are then dehydrated or dried, a process by which they lose a lot of moisture but retain flavor and nutritional value. The final product is called prunes and is a sweet and chewy fruit that has a lot to offer.
Prunes – A Nutritional Profile
For 1 cup of pitted prunes
Vitamin A 1359 IU 27% DV
Vitamin C 1.0 mg 2% DV
Vitamin E 0.7 mg 4% DV
Vitamin K 104 mcg 129% DV
Thiamin 0.1 mg 6% DV
Riboflavin 0.3 mg 19% DV
Niacin 3.3 mg 16% DV
Vitamin B6 0.4 mg 18% DV
Folate 7.0 mcg 2% DV
Pantothenic acid 0.7 mg 7% DV
Choline 17.6 mg
Betaine 0.7 mg
Calcium 74.8 mg 7% DV
Iron 1.6 mg 9% DV
Magnesium 71.3 mg 18% DV
Phosphorus 120 mg 12% DV
Potassium 1274 mg 36% DV
Sodium 3.5 mg
Zinc 0.8 mg 5% DV
Copper 0.5 mg 24% DV
Manganese 0.5 mg 26% DV
Selenium 0.5 mcg 1% DV
Fluoride 7.0 mcg
Prunes are nutritionally rich and they present a number of health benefits.
- Prunes can be consumed by most people and even incorporated in a diet during weight-loss programs, although in moderation. Nutritionists recommend eating prunes with protein-rich foods such as plain Greek yoghurt, egg whites or grilled chicken breast to help the body assimilate food more efficiently in regards to weight-loss.
- Prunes are a good energy source, approximately 1 cup of fruit (about 170 g) delivering 21% of the daily recommended calorie intake – 100 g of prunes contain 240 calories.
- Prunes regulate digestion and prevent constipation. The fiber that prunes contain plays a number of relevant roles. First, prunes’ insoluble fiber feed bacteria in the body’s large intestine, and when fermented, this produces the butyric acid known to protect the colon, and two other fatty acids called the propionic and the acetic acid relevant to the liver and to muscles in the body. Second, prunes’ soluble fiber regulates cholesterol levels in the blood, helping to lower bad cholesterol.
- Prunes can help with type 2 diabetes due to the soluble fiber that increases insulin sensitivity. People who eat prunes along with other whole fruits regularly are less exposed to developing the condition.
- Prunes may prevent various chronic diseases, the amount of antioxidants, more specifically the neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids lowering the risk of heart disease.
Consumption of prunes – tips and ideas
At least 1 prune should be incorporated to the daily diet along with other dried and fresh fruits to optimize the nutritional value of a meal. Prunes intake can gradually grow from 3 to 5 and even 10 a day, making sure the overall calorie intake doesn’t surpass the daily recommendation.
Prunes can be added to breakfast cereal, granola bars, pancakes, muffins, bagels, bread and a variety of other bakery goods. They can be used to complement salads or can be served as dessert, stuffed with peanut butter, ricotta cheese, walnuts or pudding dessert.
Other ways to cook with prunes are adding them to stews both meaty and vegan, international dishes such as Moroccan chicken, risotto and pizza.
More vegan and vegetarian options include smoothies, no-bake prune balls, poached prunes, cookies and cakes.
Prunes are extremely versatile and have the greatest advantage of complimenting both meals and desserts in addition to making wonderful baked treats of all kinds.