Prunes are actually just dried plums. Most often they are European plums, including the Agen variety. They are dark, sticky, and very sweet. But surprisingly they are not considered “fattening” because of their high fiber content. The fiber slows down digestion and prevents the natural sugar from spiking the blood sugar. They are also high in antioxidants and have been proven to reverse signs of coronary artery disease. Prunes have many health benefits and some are highlighted below.
- High Fiber
- Heart Healthy
- Low Glycemic
- Weight Loss
Antioxidants– Prunes have a high amount of polyphenols. Many studies have shown polyphenols to be extremely effective in preventing free radical damage. Especially in fat soluble areas of the body like cholesterol and brain cells. Many antioxidants are only water-soluble and cannot penetrate the hard to reach fat soluble areas to protect against cellular damage.
High Fiber– The high fiber content of prunes is helpful in many ways. It slows digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar. Fiber also binds to bile acids lowering cholesterol. In studies that compare fiber intake, the groups with more fiber always experience lower cholesterol and a decrease in atherosclerosis.
Heart Healthy– The combination of fiber and antioxidants make prunes very heart healthy. The fiber helps lower cholesterol and the antioxidants protect the arteries from free radical damage and inflammation which eventually leads to heart disease. A single serving of prunes each day is enough to noticeably decrease your risk for heart attack.
Low Glycemic– The glycemic index of prunes is 29. This is incredibly low considering the sweet flavor. Most fruits have a glycemic index of over 40 but the high fiber content slows the digestion so much that the glycemic index is considered very low. This is good news for diabetics looking for a sweet snack that won’t spike their blood sugar.
Weight Loss– Losing weight can be difficult if you don’t equip yourself with knowledge about common foods. Most people would guess that prunes are fattening because they are so sweet. The truth is that they actually slow digestion and make you feel fuller longer. Cutting calories can be difficult if you are always hungry but with high fiber foods you can go hours without feeling hungry because it adds bulk to your food without any added calories.
Did You know?
Prunes are actually just dried European plums. Due to their undeserving bad reputation they have officially changed the name to “Dried Plum”. The high fiber content in traditional plums has been synonymous with loose stools, but in the right quantity there is no risk to disrupting your digestive tract. Eating too much of any fruit can have cataclysmic effects. The reputation is totally undeserving and “Dried Plums” deserve another try.
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