Plums are among the best and the healthiest fruits there are. From constipation to osteoporosis, plums and prunes have a role.
Plums are among nature’s best fruits. These fruits can be enjoyed when fresh or when dried as prunes. Prunes are basically plums that have been subjected to drying without adding any ingredient. Although many people dread at the slightest mention of prunes, there is actually nothing wrong with them and these fruits are a source of many nutrients and minerals. That’s why they help boost bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. They are also better sources of potassium, retinol, vitamin K, vitamin B, beta-carotene, and calcium. Treat this article as your primer and learn about the incredible benefits of plums and their dried forms (prunes)
The nutritional profile of plums and prunes
In gauging the health benefits of various foods and dietary components, nutritionists and researchers pay close attention to the nutritional profile of the food in question. The same applies to plums and prunes, exploring their nutritional profile deepens your appreciation of the health benefits linked to them. They have about fifteen vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin K. Potassium and magnesium are two minerals needed for healthy blood flow, and plums and prunes are rich in both. In addition, prunes and plums are great sources of calcium, a mineral that’s necessary for healthy bone and teeth, and reduced risk of osteoporosis. As if that’s not enough, you will reap sugars, calories, carbs, fibers, and antioxidants from these great fruits.
If you want your sight to be healthy and have a healthy vision, you definitely want to include prunes in your diet. These fruits are rich in vitamin A, a vitamin that is needed for healthy vision. Cataracts, night blindness, macular degeneration, and dry eyes are common problems that people who are deficient in vitamin A experience. However, taking in prunes supplies the body with the needed vitamin A and beta-carotene, resulting in a healthy vision. One prune has about 3% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A.
Relief from constipation
Constipation is a common digestive problem besides irritable bowel syndrome (IRS). Taking prune and prune juice may be just what you need to relieve yourself of constipation. A single prune has about a gram of fiber, the only remedy to constipation. The form of fibers found in prunes are insoluble, hence do not dissolve in water. When such fiber from prune or its juice finds its way to the digestive tract, it fastens the movement of waste products along the digestive tract, easing constipation. Sorbitol is a compound found in prunes, and this functions as a good laxative. In fact, compared to other conventional laxatives used for constipation, prunes seem to perform better. One study compared the effects of psyllium, a laxative, and prunes in people over a period of three weeks. At the end of the study, the people taking prunes felt better than those taking psyllium. Both their stool consistency and frequency had significantly improved.
A great antioxidant powerhouse
Compared with other fruits, plums and prunes are richer in antioxidants. In fact, when Tuft University measured the antioxidant levels in various fruits, prunes appeared at the top of the list, even bypassing blueberries which are known for the high amount of antioxidants. Besides, prunes have iron, phenolic acid, and manganese, all of which perform like antioxidants. Because of such levels of antioxidants, plums and prunes are found to be effective at fighting oxidative stress. This is s state that develops in the cells when free radicals accumulate in the cells. Such a state, if left unattended, becomes the root cause of many health problems such as heart disease, diabetes type 2, and arthritis.
Blood sugar control
Studies show that taking plums may help keep a person’s blood sugar levels in control. Although these fruits are rich in carbohydrates, they do not cause sugar spikes after they are taken. One explanation for this is that plums cause an increase in hormone adiponectin once they are taken, and these hormones help lower the blood sugar levels in the body. The other reason could be the presence of fibers in plums. Apart from relieving people of constipation, fibers also slow down the body’s rate of absorbing carbs and sugars. This helps the blood take in small amounts of sugar, thereby lowering the chances of experiencing sugar spikes.
Arthritis and osteoporosis management
The other line of appreciation for prunes is their ability to help with osteoporosis and arthritis. Boron and potassium are needed for healthy bones and bone density, and prunes contain all these. In fact, taking a typical serving of 100g of prunes satisfies a person’s recommended daily intake of boron. The Florida State University conducted a study that showed that after three months of consuming 100g of prunes daily, postmenopausal women managed to reverse osteoporosis and improve their bone density. Some researchers are even convinced that taking prunes lowers a person’s risk of suffering from arthritis.
Help for skin damage
Many people are struggling with skin issues and you may be or know a friend who has the same problem. Plums and prunes are fruits that will certainly help with such skin issues. They are rich in vitamin C, a vitamin that helps your skin glow with great health. Besides, the antioxidants in plums and prunes fight oxidative stress and inflammation, two conditions that play a role in skin damage. The minerals in these fruits support your skin glow and slow down the development of wrinkles even as a person ages.
Plums and prunes will not just help with good skin, but good hair. Anemic people often have their hair falling off and discoloring due to a deficiency of iron. Plums, either fresh or dried as prunes, are rich in iron and will help you have healthy hair. Besides, vitamins A and B are good for hair growth, glow, and root moisturizing, yet plums and prunes have all these, facilitating good hair.
The next time you feel like eating a snack, consider plums or prunes. These are great fruits with many health benefits. This article has looked at the top benefits of prunes and plums. These include healthy heart and vision as well as blood sugar control.