Health Benefits of "PRUNES"
Prunes, also known as dried plums, are a good source of many essential nutrients, including dietary fiber and several vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, according to the USDA.
Fiber exists in two forms: insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that does not dissolve in water, and soluble fiber, which dissolves in water. Prunes contain high amounts of soluble fiber, according to MayoClinic.com. Soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream by binding to fatty acids and carrying them out of the body. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help you lower your total cholesterol and LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Like most other fruits, prunes contain no saturated fat and only a small amount of unsaturated fat. A serving of five prunes contains only 0.15 g of fat. Prunes contain no cholesterol. A healthy diet should emphasize foods such as prunes that are nutrient-rich and low in fat. The USDA recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
A serving of five prunes provides 17 mg of calcium, 0.37 mg of iron, 16 mg of magnesium, 28 mg of phosphorous, 293 mg of potassium, 0.2 mg of vitamin C, 2 mcg of folate, 158 mcg of beta-carotene and 312 IU of vitamin A. A diet rich in potassium can help you lower your blood pressure, slow bone loss and reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. Beta-carotene, a naturally occurring antioxidant, can help protect the body's cells from damage by free radicals.
Normalizing Blood Sugar Levels and Helping with Weight Loss
Prunes' soluble fiber helps normalize blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and by delaying the absorption of glucose (the form in which sugar is transported in the blood) following a meal. Soluble fiber also increases insulin sensitivity and can therefore play a helpful role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. And, prunes' soluble fiber promotes a sense of satisfied fullness after a meal by slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach, so prunes can also help prevent overeating and weight gain.