Prunes are plums that are dried naturally under the sun without undergoing any fermentation process. Prunes are known to be one of the healthiest foods known for their laxative properties. However they have a number of other health benefits too.
Dried prunes contain good amount of vitamin K and beta-carotene, which work together as a force against the aging effects of free radicals.
- Prunes are proved to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. They have high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients called phenols. Phenolic compounds present in the dried plums prevents the deposition of fat in the arteries.
- Prunes have vitamin A in the form of carotenoids. These carotenoids are converted into vitamin A by the body and used by eye cells. Regular eating of prunes or plums helps you to overcome the weakness in eyes or eye related issues. Deficiency in vitamin A leads to night blindness, dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Potassium in prunes are found in very high amount. An important mineral that ensures proper functioning of the heart and nerve response throughout the body. Daily intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of problems such as dizziness, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Prunes and plums contain high levels of phytonutrients called phenols. A number of studies have shown that these phytonutrients help to prevent damage to cells particularly when it comes to the oxidation of lipid molecules in the body. Since all of our cell membranes as well as our brain cells, are largely made up of lipids which contain fat, these are important phytonutrients to have in the diet.
- These phytonutrients have also been found to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the body, making them an important factor in the prevention of chronic diseases.
- Manganese, iron and plant phenolic in prunes function as antioxidants. Manganese protects the mitochondria, the cellular structures that create energy, from damage caused by free radicals.
- Iron is known to carry oxygen but it is also known to protect cells in the immune system. White blood cells destroy bacteria by secreting a substance that kills them. The same substance damages the white blood cells if it is not neutralized by iron. Atleast one prune daily fulfils the recommended intake of manganese and iron. These antioxidant rich prunes can help prevent you from getting sick during the cold season. Iron in prunes make it an ideal fruit for anaemic patient.
- The flavonoids in prune juice have been shown to provide protection against cognitive impairment that accompanies age, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The phytonutrients in plums help reduce the inflammation in regions of the brain associated with learning and memory.
- Dried prunes also have anti-inflammatory properties and are highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis.
The plum significantly increases the good bacteria in the gut leading to regularisation of proper digestion.
Dried plum significantly increases the bone mineral density. Phenolic and flavonoid compounds in prunes are very effective to not only slow the bone loss but also reverse some kind of bone mineral density loss.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna