What Are Prunes?
The importance of dried fruits, seeds, and nuts in one`s diet cannot be overemphasized. They offer loads of nutrients and are useful in many ways for health benefits. A prune is a dried form of the plum, notwithstanding, not all plums are dried into prunes. The variety of plums used for prunes is d`Agen, because as it matures, it has a deep purple color that shows its high acidity and sugar content. It also dries off without fermenting, unlike other varieties.
History shows that the West got to know about prunes in the 12th century when Europe got to know the Damson trees, and there was a crossbreeding between a plum and the fruit from a Damson tree. The product was a variety that could last a year without any form of decay. Prunes have loads of health benefits. Let`s discuss!
Health Benefits of Eating Prunes
Provides Better Vision
People who are vitamin A deficient suffer night blindness, macular degeneration, and dry eyes. Prunes are packed with vitamin A, hence they provide better vision. They actually supply 3% of the daily recommended need for vitamin A. They`re also bursting with carotene, a phytonutrient which improves eye health. For healthier eyes, eat prunes.
Nourishes the Skin
A number of people would rather use skin care products than eat nourishes foods. For beautiful and healthy skin, you should consume foods that are rich in vitamins C and E regularly. These vitamins have anti-aging properties that keep the skin healthy.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
If you consume foods that are rich in dietary fiber and potassium, then you can boast of a healthy heart. Potassium helps ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system, while dietary fiber takes out excess fat from the blood vessels for proper regulation of blood. You can get sufficient amounts of potassium and fiber from prunes, hence higher chances of a healthy heart.
Anemia causes fatigue and damages body organs as a result of inadequate healthy red blood cells. Prunes are rich in iron, zinc, folate, and copper, which enhance red blood cell production and prevents low levels of hemoglobin.
Prunes have enough vitamin C to give a boost to the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which prevents various diseases, hence keeping the body healthy.
The antioxidant content in prunes prevents cancer and other chronic illnesses. Prunes also contain thiamin, selenium, niacin, riboflavin, and some other phytonutrients that make them anticancerous. What`s more? Prunes are packed with plant phenols that protect body organs from oxidative stress. As rich as blueberries are in antioxidants, prunes even have more. What better news can there be?
The anti-inflammatory properties of prunes aid the reduction of inflammation. Prunes also contain thiamin and riboflavin which help reduce inflammation and infection.
The fiber and antioxidants in prunes make them reliable for treating cramps. They also contain antispasmodic properties that help reduce premenstrual symptoms.
The Greeks have used prunes to treat digestion issues for many years. Prunes are rich in fiber and various minerals that ensure healthy bowel movement and reduce symptoms of constipation.
Enhance Bone Health
Prunes contain essential minerals that are required for the repair and development of the bone structure. They have copper, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin K, which are all necessary for bone density.
Prunes contain iron and copper that prevent hair breakage and loss. Regular consumption of prunes ensures proper hair growth and healthy hair.
It Reduces Appetite
Prunes keep you full for longer hours, hence reducing appetite, and in the process, resulting in healthy weight loss. The fiber content in prunes is quite slow to digest, hence the stomach is full for a longer time. What else? Prunes have a low glycemic index too. This means prunes raise glucose levels in the blood moderately. This also reduces appetite. Prunes are quite beneficial to people on a weight loss diet.
It Fights Atherosclerosis
Prunes slow the development of atherosclerosis, a condition which develops as a result of the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Are you wondering how plaques form in the arteries? They form when fat and cholesterol accumulate over time. Atherosclerosis may lead to stroke, heart failure, or heart attack. The antioxidants in prunes are responsible for the management of atherosclerosis.
It Prevents Emphysema
You can ward off chronic lung diseases like emphysema by eating prunes. How does this work? Prunes contain high levels of antioxidants that combat the damage that risk factors like smoking do to the lungs by neutralizing oxidation. People who already smoke might want to consume prunes regularly, as they try to stop the habit.
Tips for Buying and Storing Prunes
- Buy prunes that are sold in a transparent container, to ensure they are in good condition.
- Buy soft, plumpy, bluish, black prunes that are entirely mold-free.
- Prunes should be in tightly-sealed containers at the time of purchase, to avoid evaporation of moisture.
- Don`t buy prunes that have preservatives like sulfates in them.
- Store dried prunes in a cold, dark place to make it last longer.
- Close your container tightly after each time you take some prunes.
Tips for Cooking and Eating Prunes
- Steep prunes in water or juice for a while before cooking, to help reduce cooking time.
- Dunk prunes that are completely dry in hot water for some time before cooking.
- Add prunes to meat and starchy-vegetable dishes for a great taste and super nourishment.
- Stewed prunes can be fantastic with rosemary-scented braised.
- You may enjoy prunes with pancakes and waffles.
- You could try cubed prunes with other dried fruits and nuts to make a fascinating combo.
Side Effects of Prunes
It May Cause Laxative Dependency
Prunes are used as irritant laxatives, however, people who often have constipation may have a laxative dependency on prunes if they take them often. This comes with some terrible complications.
Prunes May Cause Dark Stools
Prunes are packed with iron, and such foods make one have dark stools if eaten excessively. You should endeavor to consume prunes in moderation.
The Risk of Acrylamide
Prunes contain acrylamide in high proportion. Acrylamide is found in foods cooked above 100° C, and it contains carcinogen and neurotoxin. This could be quite unhealthy.
Prunes May Cause Diarrhea
Prunes contain insoluble fiber which may cause or worsen diarrhea. This is why it is important to eat prunes in moderation.
Prunes May Cause Weight Gain
A serving of six uncooked prunes contains 22 grams of sugar and 137 grams of calories. That’s quite high. Even though the fiber content in prunes aids weight loss, excessive intake could cause weight gain.
Prunes May Cause Bloating
The complex carbohydrates and sugars in prunes don’t break down completely in the digestive tract. When these sugars reach the colon, the bacteria feed on the undigested carbohydrates. This causes bloating and intestinal gas. It eventually results in frequent farting.
Taking alpha-D-galactosidase before consuming prunes helps break down complex carbohydrates before they reach the guts, hence reduce intestinal gas.
Now That You Know…
Prunes have loads of benefits and some side effects. If you eat them in moderation, you may not need to bother about some of the side effects. You might want to add prunes to your diet to enrich your body with loads of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients there are to enjoy.