With a deep red-brown color, a satisfying chewy texture, a sweet (but not too sweet) taste, and a long shelf life, it is understandable why people may want to include prunes in their diet every day. While prunes may be known for offering some serious constipation relief, there is so much more to these perfectly portable and versatile fruits than helping people go to the bathroom.
Prunes pack a punch in the nutrition department and contain a slew of important nutrients that offer some major health benefits.
Specifically, one serving of Sunsweet Prunes (40 grams) provides:
- 3 grams of fiber
- Zero grams of added sugar
- 6% of the recommended daily value for potassium
Plus, prunes have boron, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, and many other nutrients that our bodies need to function properly.
So, if you are jumping on the daily prune-eating wagon and you are committed to eating this delightful fruit every day, here are some benefits you could experience.
According to a recent study conducted out of Pennsylvania State University, eating prunes every day prevented bone loss at the hip and protected against increased fracture risk in postmenopausal women. Specifically, the women who ate 50 grams of prunes (5 to 6 prunes) daily for 12 months preserved hip bone mineral density at 6 and 12 months while total hip bone mineral density decreased among those who didn’t eat prunes every day at the same time points.
Prunes contain many bone health-supporting nutrients, including vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and boron. Plus, they contain phenolic compounds, which may block bone resorption and support bone formation.
While these new results are promising, and the findings presented should be considered preliminary until a peer-reviewed publication is available, they add to the body of research supporting prunes for bone health.
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, as prunes are many people’s go-to food when they need some natural constipation relief. Not only are they a source of fiber, but prunes also contain a natural laxative called sorbitol, which can offer some serious constipation relief for certain populations.
Eating just 5 to 6 prunes daily may increase HDL “good” cholesterol, lower inflammation, and increase antioxidant activity—all positive outcomes when it comes to heart health support. Data also showed that consuming pectin, a soluble fiber found in foods like prunes, slowed the thickening of artery walls caused by plaque formation, another positive outcome when supporting heart health.
Although most fruits contain natural sugars, eating these nutritious foods is linked to weight reduction, in part due to the fiber that these foods provide which offers a satiating effect. Because prunes contain 3 grams of fiber per serving, eating them every day may help curb your appetite, thus supporting weight management goals.
Prunes are more likely to result in a more stable blood glucose response after they are enjoyed, thanks to their lower glycemic index and fiber content. As long as proper serving sizes are observed, including prunes in a diabetes-friendly diet can be a positive addition that will likely not result in any negative effects when it comes to blood sugar management.
If you are not used to eating foods that contain sorbitol, like prunes, you may feel gassy and bloated if you eat them every day. According to one study comparing people who ate a large number of prunes versus those who ate a prune-free diet, the prune-consuming group experienced more gas than those who didn’t eat this fruit. Because the number of prunes provided in this study was more than what a typical serving size of prunes is, we can’t say for sure if people will experience gas if they stick to the recommended 5 to 6 prunes every day.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. read more