Prunes have suffered something of an image problem in the
past, due to their well-known role in treating constipation. But the benefits
of prunes, or dried plums, go way beyond your digestive health.
- Bone strength. A 2022 study
published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that
eating five or six prunes a day helped women past menopause to preserve bone
mineral density in their hips, which could translate to a lower risk of
osteoporosis and fewer bone breaks. And it is not because of calcium. The
researchers speculated that the daily handful of prunes lowered inflammatory
chemicals that contribute to bone breakdown.
- Blood sugar. Despite being fairly
high in carbs, prunes do not cause a substantial rise in blood sugar levels.
The fibre in prunes slows the rate your body absorbs carbs after a meal, and
prunes also appear to increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that plays a
role in blood sugar regulation.
- Heart health. A number of studies
has found that prunes benefit your heart. Eating prunes and drinking prune
juice improved levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, decreased ‘bad’ or LDL
cholesterol and lowered blood pressure. It is thought that the combination of
fibre, potassium and antioxidants is what makes prunes heart protective.
World Osteoporosis Day is 20 October. For more information
on bone health, visit worldosteoporosisday.org