Poor pitted prunes. Why do we make such a mockery of this sweet little fruit?
Prunes, or dried plums, are naturally sweet, fat free and loaded with fiber, vitamins A, B, C and E, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Prunes can also help regulate blood glucose metabolism, correct and prevent iron deficiency, improve cardiovascular health, help fight osteoporosis, and regulate digestion.
Plus, prunes ward off constipation. That’s because they contain sorbitol, a stool-loosening, non-fermentable sugar that helps desirable intestinal microorganisms develop.
According to Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, prunes have more antioxidants than any other fruit.
“The damage-preventing substances in prunes have been shown to help prevent damage fats. Since our cell membranes and brain cells are largely composed of fats, preventing free radical damage to fats is a significant benefit,” Bowden explains.
“In actuality, prunes have the highest oxygen radical absorbing capacity (ORAC) of any food tested, which means that the compounds in prunes, working as a group, deliver more of a protective antioxidant punch than any other food tested.”
A fat-free food, a serving of prunes is around 40g, or 4-5 prunes, and contains about 80 calories, with 20g of carbohydrates and 12g sugar (two thirds of the sugar is in the form of glucose with most of the remaining third from fructose). Prunes’ slow release carbohydrate energy makes them perfect pre or post-workout snack.
Add prunes to oatmeal or yogurt, smear them on a bagel or eat them straight up. TummyWise.com has some great tips on cooking with prunes and also has an archive of interesting recipes, including a savory dried plum and sausage omelet.
If you’re a baker, Sunsweet makes Lighter Bake Butter or Oil Substitute, a fat-free substitute for butter, margarine, oil and shortening that is made from a blend of dried plums and apples.
Why does this matter to you? Since there are so many fruits to choose from, why not select the ones that pack the biggest antioxidant punch? Be adventurous and incorporate prunes into your weekly meal plan. You’ll see they are way more than a cure all for constipation!