April 5, 2019 6:11 am Leave your thoughts
Prunes: sticky, squishy, sweet and black, they take pride of place on the top row of our shelves of dried fruit. They’re made from plums – but while all prunes are plums, not all plums can become prunes! To become a prune, a plum needs to have an especially soft, thin and sweet skin, with a good complement of natural sugar inside, to help with preservation.
We buy our organic prunes from France and from the USA. They’re dried naturally and have a moisture content of around 23%. They’re large, which helps to ensure that the fruit is soft and sweet. Needless to say, they have nothing added to them, to colour, flavour or preserve. They’re simply naturally sweet and wonderfully juicy.
But apart from their sweetness and deliciousness – why eat them?
Prunes keep things moving
Prunes are perhaps best known for their positive effects on the bowels: thanks to their high fibre content, they make a useful natural laxative.
The fibre within them is great for us in many other ways too. It keeps us feeling full, stopping us from snacking unnecessarily, and provides energy in a steady, slow-releasing fashion, limiting spikes in blood sugar. Foods that are high in fibre play an important role in preventing heart disease and diabetes and in managing cholesterol levels.
What else are prunes good for?
Prunes contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a look at each – and at why each one matters.
Antioxidants: antioxidants prevent or slow the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Boron: boron is a balancer and a handler within our bodies: it creates and maintains a good balance of sex hormones and ensures that our bodies handle other vitamins and minerals correctly.
Copper: copper works with iron to form red blood cells in the body (it helps us absorb iron too). It plays an important role in maintaining strong bones, blood vessels and nerves and keeps our immune systems working well.
Iron: iron is what our body uses to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around our body.
Magnesium: magnesium regulates our muscle and nerve function, keeps blood sugar levels and blood pressure stable, assists in the manufacture of proteins, bones and DNA, and is particularly good for memory function.
Manganese: manganese helps our bodies form connective tissue and bones. It assists with blood clotting and in the production of sex hormones. It also plays a role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates from food and in the absorption of calcium, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. In addition, it’s essential for the normal functioning of our brains and nerves.
Potassium: potassium works with sodium to maintain normal blood pressure and the correct balance of fluids in the body.
Vitamin A: this vitamin is essential for normal vision and for the correct working of the immune and reproductive systems. It also helps our other organs function properly.
Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin): this vitamin helps the body absorb and activate iron, folic acid and the other B vitamins.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin): it’s believed that deficiency in this vitamin leads to birth defects. Like the other B vitamins, niacin helps us access and release the energy stored in the food we eat.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 allows the body to use and store the energy obtained from protein and carbohydrates in food. It also helps us form haemoglobin and regulates hormones, particularly in women.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K aids blood clotting and gives us strong bones. It’s important in keeping our arteries clear too, thus preventing heart disease.
How should I eat prunes?
Prunes, just on their own, make a superbly healthy snack. Many people love them for breakfast too, perhaps accompanied by some of our dried apricots and figs (rehydrate these first, by soaking them in water). There are numerous recipes, sweet and savoury, calling for prunes – here are a few of the greats:
A final note: as well as adding sweetness to baking, prunes are great at absorbing moisture. You might choose to use them in place of some of the sugar in a recipe, but also to replace some of the fat, making your sweet treats a little more healthy. You can find plenty of advice on substituting prunes for fat online.
See all our prunes here.apricots, dried fruit, figs, organic prunes, prunes
Categorised in: Dried Fruit
This post was written by Yzanne