Health Benefits of Prunes
Prunes are an ideal snack because of its various health benefits. A balanced diet, which includes prunes along with raw vegetables, nuts, whole grains, oily fish, lean meat and other fruits, will help promote mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Prunes are excellent sources of dietary fiber. It has both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is equally important in digestion, constipation, lowering the risk of colon cancer and in regulating the level of cholesterol and blood sugar in the body. Moreover, the dietary fiber in prunes keeps the stomach feeling full thereby aids in weight loss as well as weight control. It is however important to keep a count of calorie intake when losing weight as prunes contain a significant amount of calories (3 oz. = 205 calories).
Prunes are good source of energy as it contains a substantial amount of carbohydrates but have low glycemic index (GI) due to its rich fiber content. The GI measures how food that contains carbohydrates raises the level of blood sugar. Foods with low GI such as prunes cause a slow rise in the level of blood sugar thereby providing a steady rate of release of energy.
Prunes contain high amount of antioxidants, which are necessary in eliminating free radicals that harm the fat cells. Fat cells are vital in the development of the brain cells in particular. Moreover, prunes have high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene, an added source of antioxidant. Prunes were found to aid in the prevention of various diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, heart disease brought about by diabetes, asthma and colon cancer.
Prunes contain high potassium level necessary in maintaining a normal level of blood pressure and therefore lower the risk of heart disease. Potassium helps as well in the absorption of calcium necessary in nourishing the bones. Prunes help increase absorption of iron in the body, which is vital in red blood cells formation. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
The rich content of vitamin C in prunes helps in the absorption of iron in the body, which is crucial in the formation of RBC (red blood cells). Vitamin A provides nourishment to the retina thereby helps in promoting good vision. It also helps in maintaining a healthy skin. Vitamin B6 is beneficial in preventing cardiovascular diseases. It helps the body metabolize proteins and fats as well as process carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 also plays a crucial role in fertility and hormonal balance. A single cup serving of prunes provides 49% RDA of this vitamin.
The rich amount of fiber in prunes is attributable to its carbohydrate content called pectin. As such, it helps in lowering the level of blood cholesterol. Daily consumption of 100g of prunes reduces total cholesterol level as per the findings of researchers at the University of California.
7. Other Nutrients
Other health benefits found in prunes are various minerals such as copper, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium as well as various vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, folate, niacin, panthotenic acid and vitamin b complex.
8. Mental Health
It is a given fact that the food eaten affects the physical health and there are evidences that show that it likewise affects the mental health as well as the general wellbeing and mood of a person.
9. Dental Health
Researchers reveal that prunes are safe to snack on, as it does not reduce the plaque pH to critical level. It does not therefore raise any risk of tooth decay or cavities.
- Jess Palestina
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