Prunes can help ensure excellent gut health. We have decided to share some top tips for prunes and gut health, to help all you with a sensitive gut.
Winter has arrived, bearing chilly gifts such as plunging temperatures, torrential rain, gale force winds and even some snow. To ensure your immune system is ready and willing to fight any dreaded winter bugs, your gut should also be in excellent health.
Prunes are versatile and nutritious snacks and also great to use when cooking, not to mention the fact that this fruit is a super soldier in the ongoing battle to create and maintain good gut health. And the good news is that Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts currently has a huge Winter Warmer special on prunes so now is a good time to stock up on this fibre-packed and delicious fruit.
Top Tip 1:
Sweet and juicy prunes are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. The fruits are great natural laxatives as a result of at least two different ingredients, the already-mentioned fabulous fibre, and sorbitol. Here’s some food for thought: A single prune provides an incredible 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of fibre, a fibre bargain if ever there was one.
Top Tip 2:
Sorbitol is a natural sugar that functions as a laxative because it pulls moisture into the digestive tract and facilitates bowel movements.
According to studies reviewed in the October 2014 issue of the “Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics” medical journal, prunes are more effective laxatives than psyllium. (Do however keep in mind that too much of a good thing is not all that good: Eating too many prunes can cause gastrointestal distress because of the excessive amounts of sorbitol and fibre you’ll ingest.)
Top Tip 3:
Prunes are also low in fat, low in sodium, not to mention the fact that they have a low GI or Glycaemic Index (great for sustained energy) and are fabulously rich in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid used in herbal medicine for treating high blood pressure, colds and urinary tract infections.
Top Tip 4:
More prune-positive news is that our bodies do not naturally produce the electrolyte potassium, but consuming prunes can help you avoid potassium deficiencies. Prunes are a good source of potassium and this electrolyte can assist in various vital bodily functions. Apart from helping with digestion, it can also help support heart rhythm, nerve impulses, muscle contractions and blood pressure. And if that’s not yet enough to make you positive about prunes, they also contain a high amount of vitamin A that promotes good eyesight.
Top Tip 5:
In addition, prunes have serious amounts of purple power. Prunes get their bright pigments from powerful antioxidants that help boost your immunity by soaking up free radicals. Prunes are simply packed with antioxidants and the fruit has twice the amount of antioxidants as those found in raisins and blueberries.
Clever ways to include prunes in your diet:
- Enjoy prunes as a snack on their own or add chopped prunes to hot or cold cereal for added juiciness and fibre.
- Mix prunes with nuts and other dried fruit to make your own wholesome trail mix.
- Add prunes to baked goods.
- Purée them to make a paste and enjoy it as a “prune butter” or sugar free jam.
- Add it to savoury stews or use pitted prunes in kebabs.
- Make yummy finger food by wrapping a prune in bacon and then frying it in a pan for a crispy and deliciously sweet treat.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: (Links to articles included in the blog)
Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts internal training document making use of the following documents:
Lim T.K. (2012) Prunus domestica. In: Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants. Springer, Dordrecht
South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette.
South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette.
Wolmarans, P. et al. (2010) Condensed Food Composition Tables for South Africa. Medical Research Council, Parow Valley, Cape Town