Prunes are good for more than digestion

A wooden spoon with prunes along with prunes spilled on the table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.
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Are you a prune lover like me but feel you must eat them in secret for fear of people assuming you have digestive issues going on? Prunes are so good at what they do (preventing constipation) that they get a bad rap for it, because let’s face it, no one wants to talk about that. They are often associated with the older generation and in fact, most young people have never even had a prune. As a result, some plum farmers and manufacturers of prunes prefer to label their product as “dried plums” to avoid the stereotype.

Dried plums are indeed prunes and no matter your age or what you call them, they offer numerous nutritional benefits. One serving of prunes, about 4-5 prunes, is 100 calories with 3 grams of dietary fiber. This fiber is about half soluble and half insoluble fiber, which means not only do prunes improve digestive health, but they may also help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as helping us feel full. Prunes also contain potassium and vitamin K and some studies have shown prunes to prevent bone loss and improve bone health.

Besides the nutritional reasons to enjoy prunes, did I also mention that they are delicious? They are super sweet yet absent of added sugars. They can be enjoyed as an energizing snack or as a dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth. Chop them and add to oatmeal, salad dishes or roasted vegetables. Stew 8-ounces of prunes in about 1 ½ cups of water for a warm treat with a sweet syrup that can be used to top plain yogurt, angel food cake or to simply enjoy on its own! There’s no need to hide when consuming prunes. In fact, that’s plum crazy!

 

3-Ingredient Prune Cookies

(Printable PDF)

16 Sunsweet® prunes

2 Tablespoons hot water

1 cup rolled oats

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a food processor, pulse prunes and hot water until smooth. Pulse in oats and walnuts until sticky dough forms. Roll into 12 balls and place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately after removing from oven, tap each of the down with the bottom of a glass to form a cookie shape and let cool.

Yield: 12 servings, 1 cookie each

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 60 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 milligrams sodium, 10 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein

 

Sources:

Sunsweet®   

Wallace TC. Dried Plums, Prunes and Bone Health: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients. 2017; 9(4):401.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond. 

 

This blog post originally appeared in the Pantagraph on March 9, 2022.