Had your daily prunes yet? These tasty dried fruits are known to keep bowel movements regular, especially in the elderly. They provide a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium and copper, and they also contain some protein.
The good news is they can also help slim you down.
A half cup of prunes can be diet-friendly and contains only 204 calories. Calorie requirements vary based on physical activity. The less activity, the fewer calories required. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 need around 1,800 to 2,400 calories while men require 2,000 to 3,200. The 204 may seem like a lot of calories for a snack.
But according to a recent 12-week study from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, prunes may help with weight loss. The study was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Prunes for Weight Loss and Hunger Satisfaction
The study consisted of 100 overweight and obese individuals who normally would consume a low fiber diet. Researchers looked at whether eating prunes while trying to lose weight would benefit or hinder weight control. Turns out, prunes may help to satisfy hunger and help to keep you full for longer.
The study participants were placed in two groups: One was given advice on healthy weight loss snacks and another ate prunes daily. The men ate 171 g of prunes while the women consumed 140 g.
The final four weeks of the study produced the best results for the prune-eating participants who experienced greater weight loss and feelings of fullness, and tolerated the high fiber prunes despite normally following a low fiber diet. The prune group dropped more inches around the waist than the healthy snack group—impressive findings for the prunes!
Why Eat Prunes?
Prunes and other dried fruit such as figs and dates can certainly help your weight loss regime, but you have to know the best varieties. Some dried prune packages contain the preservative potassium sorbate, which can lead to skin, respiratory and digestive irritation. The preservative counteracts one of the main benefits of prune eating—digestive health. The insoluble fiber in prunes helps feed the large intestine’s “good” bacteria for a healthy colon.
The fiber content benefited the dieters who consumed the prunes daily. The obese individuals went from eating low amounts of fiber to eating the nutrient daily. Consider the big picture of how fiber helps weight loss. When you consume foods with plenty of insoluble fiber daily, you decrease the time that digested food spends in your intestine. Your intestine will not absorb starches and sugars as a result which prevents weight gain.
Insoluble fiber also allows you to feel full after a meal, which means you won’t head directly for cake and ice cream after a big dinner.
Best Weight Loss Strategies
Dieters often still feel hungry when trying to lose weight because they are only watching the calories when they should also consider the nutrient content. Prunes are great to include, but the main hurdle becomes the processed foods. Your body needs nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Try adding in a little exercise, too. It gets you into an active routine, improves digestion and will help prevent constipation. When you improve your digestion, it can also lead to losing excess weight.
Also consider losing weight with other supportive people such as family or friends. The buddy method helps to keep the weight from returning once you have achieved your weight loss goals, since you have someone else to whom you’re accountable. Prunes, exercise, and an active physical and social life. Imagine the potential for your health!
“Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows,” ScienceDaily website, May 30, 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140530124331.htm.
Coleman, E., “Weight Loss with Prunes,” LIVESTRONG.com website, March 19, 2014; http://www.livestrong.com/article/292542-weight-loss-with-prunes/.
“Prunes,” The World’s Healthiest Foods website; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=103&tname=foodspice, last accessed June 10, 2014.