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Health food of the month - Prunes

April 2013

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Diet & Supplements Index

Health Food of the Month: PrunesPrunes are anything but exotic.

They are not hailed as a super fruit, they are not new or colourful, they have annoying stones, there is little in fact to make them noteworthy. However, prunes do have two really good features - they taste terrific and yes, they do contain some very good health properties.

Prunes are simply dried plums. They have a history of being known as a strong laxative which doesn’t really hold true, but they do contain reasonable levels of fibre plus sorbitol. This is a mild colonic stimulant that helps reduce the transit time of stool and consequently the risk of constipation. The neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids present in prunes may also improve their laxative action.

Interestingly prunes are a source of phenols, which help prevent oxygen damage to cells. They also contain hydroxycinnamic acids, recognised as highly effective antioxidants which can help to prevent heart disease, cancer and other problems. Prunes also offer vitamin A and also K, an essential vitamin for strong bones and blood clotting. They contain some potassium, copper and magnesium.

There was an old belief that prunes were a good source of iron, but this doesn’t seem to be the case although they do contain small levels.

The good news is that prunes contain no or minimal levels of fat or cholesterol. They do make an ideal snack food, but it is worthwhile remembering they contain around 20 calories a prune.



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