A plum is a tasty, juicy fruit with a tangy, sweet and sour taste that many people like. When plums dry naturally in the sun, they are called prunes. Whether you call them sun-dried plums or prunes, prune juice benefits us in many ways.
6 Health Benefits of Prune Juice
A study done on a group of women between the ages of 25 and 55 in the U.S. found that the name “prune” was not liked by most them. So, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) was pressured into changing the name of this fruit into “dried plums.”
The juice of prunes or dried plums has several health benefits, and consuming it regularly takes care of many ailments. Let’s see how beneficial this juice really is.
Prune juice is a rich source of fiber. The high-fiber content supports the growth of healthy bacteria in our digestive tract. As a result, it promotes digestive health and regular bowel movements.
Prunes are known to actively help in softening stools and is immensely useful for those who suffer from constipation. Being a good source of fiber, it increases the frequency of passing stools as well. Again, a boon for those with constipated bowels, be it, adults or infants.
2. Reduces the risk of cancer
In a study conducted in Japan, prune juice was seen to completely halt the growth of colon cancer by inducing apoptosis in those cancerous cells.
3. Prevents heart disease
The phenolic compounds in dried prunes are known to stop the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which if not controlled, can be the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases.
4. Reduces Free Radicals
The antioxidant levels in prunes are very high as they have vitamin E. This helps in reducing the damage caused by free radicals.
5. Protects against liver damage
Certain foods and drinks are bad for the liver, but there are some that improve its performance. Prune juice improves the markers that determine the health of the liver and its functioning.
It is used in traditional medicine to cure hepatic disorders. And, some research indicates that prunes may be helpful in treating hepatic disease.
An eight-week-long experiment that comprised of eating prunes and drinking water with soaked prunes showed reduced levels of serum alanine transaminase and serum alkaline phosphatase. However, there were no changes in the levels of bilirubin.
6. Improves bone density
Vitamins C and K, as well as the potassium and calcium content in prunes, make the bones stronger and improve bone density.
Stronger bones, especially for those who are into active sports, are an asset. So, including prune juice in their daily diet helps meet the athletes’ needs of potassium and build their bone density to make them stronger.
Now, it does not mean that prune juice is for the elderly only. All age groups can easily consume this tasty juice and benefit from its healthy qualities.
Prune Juice Nutrition Facts
One ounce or 28 grams of prune juice contains 67.2 calories. It also contains trace amounts of proteins and fats, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
As it’s a rich source of potassium, prune juice helps you quickly recover from muscle wear and tear. It has a good amount of minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Most dieticians and nutritionists recommend eating fruits instead of consuming them in juice form as some of the fiber is filtered out. But prune juice is an exception to this and will still have its fiber content intact.
An eight-fluid ounce serving of prune juice will have 46 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. Fiber in a daily diet is known to help control blood cholesterol levels, as well as relieve constipation.
A one-ounce serving will provide about 1% of the recommended daily value of calcium and iron. Having adequate calcium helps keep the bones strong and healthy.
So, now you know that prune juice provides an important part of the daily nutrition.
How Much Prune Juice Should You Drink?
Based on dietary conditions and overall health, everyone responds to changes made in their daily diet differently. So, if you are going to have prune juice to try and relieve your constipation, the required amount of fiber content may need to be adjusted.
Technically, you will need to eat 25 to 30 prunes or drink seven to eight cups of prune juice to meet your daily fiber needs. But you need to be aware that just having prune juice may not be your only respite. And, the effects and quantity of prune juice may vary based on your health and other dietary habits.
Prune Juice Side Effects
Consuming too many prunes or having an excess of prune juice has its own set of disadvantages. Since the juice is high in fiber, it may cause your digestive system to go into overdrive and give you diarrhea.
Too much prune juice and frequent consumption of this natural laxative may cause you to develop a dependency on laxatives to clean your system. And, it can cause discomfort and irregular bowel movements if the supply is not maintained.
But prune juice may leave you in a worse state than when you started consuming it as a solution for your constipation. If your problem persists or if you experience irregular bowel movements for extended periods, even after consuming the required quantity of prune juice, there maybe some other underlying health issues. So, it is advised to consult your doctor at the earliest.
Furthermore, when the fiber content in your daily diet is higher than what your body needs, it may act as a reverse mechanism. So, it may cause constipation instead of reliving it.
High fiber is also known to lower cholesterol levels and may cause them to fall to dangerously low levels. High fiber can also give you gas and a bloated stomach if you are not used to a high-fiber diet.
How to Make Prune Juice
Making prune juice at home is quite easy. This recipe requires overnight preparation, but it will give you a healthy and delicious liter of juice.
- 1 cup dried prunes
- 5 cups of water
- 1 cup of pear juice (if you like a sweet taste)
Heat the water to a boil. In the meantime, remove the pits from the prunes.
Place the prunes in a heat-safe bowl, and pour the boiled water over them until they are completely submerged. Keep this bowl aside to soak for about 12 hours (overnight is a good idea). Keep the rest of the boiled water as well as you will need it for later use.
The soaked prunes are ready for blending after about 12 hours. Sieve the blend into a one-liter container keeping the solid pieces out. If you feel the prune juice is not as sweet as you expected, you can add some pear juice to it.
Add the remaining water to the container and stir it well. Then, place the jar in the refrigerator and consume chilled.
Even if you can’t finish the entire one liter in one go, this juice can stay fresh if kept under refrigeration for almost a week.
Final Word on Having Prune Juice
In conclusion, the health benefits and the nutritional facts of this fruit are underrated, and people need to become aware of the health benefits. Knowing its importance and including it in your daily diet can help do away with numerous complaints, and is advised by nutritionists and health consultants all over.
Han, Y.H., et al., “Effect of Prune Supplementation on Dietary Fiber Intake and Constipation Relief,” Korean Journal of Community Nutrition, June 2008; 13(3): 426-438. https://koreamed.org/SearchBasic.php?RID=0106KJCN/2008.13.3.426&DT=1, last accessed August 23, 2017.
“The Surprising Benefits of Prune Juice — Not Only Constipation Relief,” Dr. Axe; https://draxe.com/prune-juice/, last accessed August 23, 2017.
“Side Effects of Prunes,” LIVESTRONG, August 9, 2014; http://www.livestrong.com/article/346774-side-effects-of-prunes/, last accessed August 23, 2017.
Ahmed, T., et al., “Report: prunes and liver function: a clinical trial,” Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, October 2010; 23(4): 463-466. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20884464, last accessed August 23, 2017.
“Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked,” SELF NutritionData, http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2043/2, last accessed August 23, 2017.