How Many Dried Prunes Should I Eat A Day


How Many Dried Prunes Should I Eat A Day? Dried prunes have been used as a healthy snack food for decades. They are rich in nutrients, low in calories, and taste great. They are also easy to carry around as they come in sealed packets that keep them fresh for longer. There is only one problem, how many dried prunes should you eat a day?

Nowadays, people have a desire for a healthy lifestyle. Some of them even have their own exercise programs which require regular physical activity. The fitness program is not for everyone, and sometimes people need a little bit of assistance in reaching their weight and health goals. Prunes are great assistants in this case.

Wondering what are the side effects of eating prunes? Prunes are commonly eaten as a natural laxative to clean the intestines and relieve constipation. They have been used since Ancient Greece. However, in 2009, prune juice was suspended by FDA due to an outbreak of severe diarrhea linked with drinking this juice. Here is the list of side effects of eating prunes.

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How many prunes should I eat per day? Dr. Hooshmand says how many prunes you should eat in a day depends on the size of the prunes themselves, but current research recommends 50 grams of prunes per day which is equal to about 5 to 6 prunes.

Prunes: Are There Health Benefits?

Prunes are plums that have been dehydrated for preservation purposes. Sometimes called dried plums, prunes are deep red-brown with a chewy texture and a savory-sweet flavor. 

Unlike fresh plums, prunes can last in your pantry for about six months. When stored in the fridge in a sealed container, they remain edible for up to a year.

The many plum varieties originate from two main types: the Japanese plum and the European plum. Fresh Japanese plums are larger and juicier, ranging from yellow to medium red. Fresh European plums are smaller and denser with dark blue or purple-red colorations.

When brought to North America by settlers, both types of plums were used to cultivate the popular varieties we enjoy today. Research now supports the varied health benefits of eating these dried plums.

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Nutrition Information

A serving of five prunes contains:

  • Calories: 114
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 18 grams 

Prunes are a good source of: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Vitamin B6

Prunes are also rich in potassium, a mineral that helps your muscles, nerves, and heart function properly. Eating four to five prunes gives you about 280 mg of potassium or around 12% of your daily recommended intake.

Potential Risks of Prunes

While the potential health benefits of eating prunes are encouraging, there are also risks. Consult your physician and consider the following before making dried plums a regular part of your diet:  

Increased Risk of Diarrhea

Eating too many prunes and other dried fruits, like raisins and figs, can lead to or worsen diarrhea due to their high fiber and sorbitol content. Both can have a laxative effect on the body.

Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Distress

In some people, ingesting polyalcohol sugars such as sorbitol can also lead to intestinal bloating, gas, mild nausea, moderate to severe stomach cramps, or vomiting. Prunes have 14.7 grams of sorbitol per 100 grams, with as little as 5 grams of sorbitol potentially causing bloating. Consuming 20 grams or more of sorbitol could result in severe cramping.

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Increased Exposure to Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a chemical that can develop naturally in foods when they’re heated at a high temperature. It forms from the interaction of sugars and a certain amino acid called asparagine. The chemical acrylamide, when ingested, can increase cancer risk. You can reduce exposure to acrylamide by reading labels carefully or choosing prunes dried at lower temperatures.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Prunes?

Prunes are well known for their nutritional value and have been in our diet for centuries. Prunes contain dietary fiber and are packed with minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. You will also find that prunes can help you shed those extra pounds. Prunes are dried plums. Unfortunately, many people are not familiar with prunes or have not tasted any. What are the benefits of eating prunes?

Ripe juicy plums on a old wooden table.

Prunes are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.

Prunes or dried plums are known for their laxative effect. But these wrinkly fruits have many other potential health benefits. They’re loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that may strengthen your bones, improve your vision and help maintain proper bowel function.

Prunes are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, iron, riboflavin, and vitamins A and K, all of which can contribute to keeping your body functioning properly.

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Prunes Contain Healthy Macronutrients

These fruits are nutrient-dense but pack a substantial number of calories. Per serving or 1/4 cup, pitted prunes contain about 105 calories. If you’re trying to manage your weight, you should definitely monitor your consumption of prunes.

The sugar content in prunes is quite high — 17 grams per serving — but it is the natural form of sucrose, fructose and sorbitol. Due to their low glycemic index rating, prunes have a negligible impact on blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index is a ranking of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after you eat a particular food. Prunes have a GI rating of 29 and a glycemic load of 10, and low GI foods may reduce your risk of Type II diabetes and heart disease.

A good source of energy, prunes provide 28 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Eating three plums for a pre-workout snack will give you 19.2 grams of carbs, without any fat or cholesterol.

Prunes get a reputation for being one of the foods that help you poop thanks to their high fiber content. A 1/4-cup serving delivers 3.1 grams of fiber — that’s more than 12 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Prunes Are Packed With Nutrition

Eating a bowl of stewed prunes each morning will set you up with a small amount of protein — about 0.8 grams per serving — and all the vitamins and minerals your body needs for good health. These fruits provide the following essential minerals:

  • Calcium: 18.7 milligrams or 1.5 percent of the DV per serving
  • Iron: 0.4 milligrams or 3 percent of the DV per serving
  • Potassium: 318.4 milligrams or 7 percent of the DV per serving
  • Magnesium: 18 milligrams or 4 percent of the DV per serving
  • Phosphorus: 30 milligrams or 3 percent of the DV per serving
  • Zinc:0.2 milligrams or 2 percent of the DV per serving
  • Copper:

0.12 milligrams or 14 percent of the DV

  • Manganese: 0.15 milligrams or 6 percent of the DV per serving

Prunes also deliver high doses of B-complex vitamins. These nutrients provide your body with the energy it needs for the proper function of your brain, muscles, skeletal system, and cell function. One serving of prunes contains:

  • Thiamin: 0.02 milligrams or 1.7 percent of the DV
  • Riboflavin:0.07 milligrams or 6 percent of the DV
  • Niacin: 0.8 milligrams or 5 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B5:

0.17 milligrams or 4 percent of the DV

  • Vitamin B6:

0.1 milligrams or 5 percent of the DV

  • Folate: 1.75 micrograms or 8 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 339.4 IU or 11 percent of the DV
  • Beta-carotene: 171.4 micrograms or 2 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 0.175 milligrams or 1.2 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 25.8 micrograms or 21.5 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 0.25 milligrams or 0.25 percent of the DV

Keep Your Bowels Healthy

Adding prunes or plum juice to your diet is a good way to keep your digestive system functioning properly. Prunes are rich in dietary fiber, the sugar alcohol sorbitol, and phenolic compounds, all of which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They pass undigested into the colon, adding bulk and drawing moisture into your digestive tract to soften the stool, which helps prevent constipation.

The relationship between prune consumption and constipation relief was illustrated in the journal _Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutic, published in August 2014 and funded by the California Plum Board.

The systematic review of four trials has found that consuming 100 grams of prunes per day was more effective than psyllium, a bulk fiber laxative, for improving stool weight, consistency, and frequency in participants with constipation. Further research was suggested to determine the benefits for non-constipated individuals.

Additionally, prunes have been shown to have a positive effect on the microbiota, or gut bacteria, in the digestive system. Research from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Texas and the University of North Carolina showed that prunes promote the retention of beneficial bacteria in the colon, which could help reduce the risk of colon cancer. The results of the research were presented at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston.

A large prospective study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published in August 2015, also suggested that colorectal cancer rates were reduced with a high intake of dietary fiber.

Recommended serving sizes

Prune juice is an effective remedy for constipation in both children and adults. When giving prune juice to an infant, the Mayo Clinic recommends trying 2 to 4 ounces at a time and adjusting the amount as needed. For adults, drink 4 to 8 ounces of prune juice each morning to stimulate a bowel movement.

Just remember that more isn’t always better. Adding more fiber doesn’t always help stimulate a bowel movement. Extra fiber can make you feel worse if you’re dehydrated. It’s important to only stick with one serving, or six dried plums, per day.

If you experience chronic constipation, or if eating prunes and drinking prune juice doesn’t solve your problems, contact your doctor for professional advice. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor if you begin to experience:

  • rectal or abdominal pain
  • blood in your stool
  • thin stool
  • unexplained weight loss

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Prunes for Constipated Infants

Infants are children that are less than 1 year old. While they are most commonly reliant on the mother’s milk, they tend to be constipated once introduced to solid food. High-fiber food helps prevent mild constipation, and eating prunes is a great fruit to incorporate into their diet. In addition, its naturally sweet taste makes it palatable even to infants. 

For infants, you can puree the prunes for easier ingestion. Simply soak a pack of pitted prunes with ½ cup of warm water and let it sit for 30 minutes to allow the prunes to soften. Then, blend the prunes with water. You can store the prune puree in the fridge for up to 3 days.

When the baby starts eating solid food at six months, slowly incorporate the puree into their diet. Two to three tablespoons of prune puree are enough to prevent constipation in babies and relieve mild constipation. You can puree as many as 6 dried plums per day. Note that too many prunes may cause diarrhea, so a physician’s prescription is recommended.

Prunes for Constipated Toddlers

Your child is termed a toddler after becoming one year old. Constipation in toddlers is frequent, especially when undergoing toilet training. Although you can encourage eating prunes as is, we still recommend you puree the prunes for easier ingestion and digestion. 

Constipated toddlers can be given up to half a cup of prune puree to relieve straining during bowel movements, but if you decide to feed them prunes, give them no more than 7 dried plums per day.

To make the prunes or dried plum more palatable, you can mix the prune puree with yogurt, fresh fruit, and chia seeds. These additions enhance flavor, aid digestion, and fulfill your kid’s daily protein needs.

Prunes for Constipated Adults

Among adults, prunes appear superior to Psyllium husk, a commercial laxative, for improving stool frequency and consistency among constipated people. Intaking 100 grams of prunes for three weeks massively alleviates constipation and regulates bowel movements. But if you’re not constipated but want to hasten digestion, taking 100 grams of prunes per day will increase your stool weight, proof that better digestion is taking place in the stomach.

In adults, prunes can be taken as is or incorporated into your granolas or with a fiber smoothie. Mixing prunes with fiber-rich fruits enhances its effects on relieving constipation, as fiber bulks up the stool while softening it for easier passage.

Side Effects of Eating Prunes

Prunes are one of those foods that most people desire to try once, but only a few can handle them. If you’re thinking that those people must be nuts, then you might be right, sort of. Some side effects of eating prunes include a lower risk of heart disease, reduce risk of diabetes, and good for your digestive system.

Dried plum in wicker bowl

Side Effects of Prunes

Prunes are made from dehydrated plums and are sometimes called dried plums. Both purple and yellow plums can be used to make prunes, which are high in nutrients and dietary fiber. Prunes can be eaten dried as-is, although they are sometimes stewed to make a dessert or are processed into prune juice. Consuming too many prunes can lead to digestive side effects, including diarrhea and a dependency on laxatives.

Bloating and Gas

Prunes are naturally high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. A half-cup serving of prunes contains 6.2 grams of fiber, according to USDA National Nutrient Database. This provides 21 percent of the RDA for men over 50 years of age and 30 percent of the RDA for women in the same age group. You can benefit from a diet high in fiber, which helps maintain bowel function and lower cholesterol levels. However, the side effect of high fiber is bloating and gas so eating too many prunes may cause some intestinal discomfort, especially if you are not used to a diet high in fiber.

Fast Natural Laxative

Prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has laxative effects, which causes bowel movements when taken in sufficient quantities. says 50 grams of sorbitol is enough to provide relief from constipation, although you would need to eat a large number of prunes to reach this amount. A half-cup serving containing 10 prunes yields roughly 12 grams of sorbitol. Prune juice, because it is more concentrated than whole prunes, has 15 grams of sorbitol per half-cup serving, according to California Dried Plums. Too many prunes could cause diarrhea resulting in dehydration that may result in kidney damage, fainting, weakness, and tremors, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

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Dangers Of Acrylamide

Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is produced during the process of drying plums. Prune juice content ranks relatively higher on the acrylamide index says HealwithFood. Although consuming prunes in moderate amounts is relatively safe, carcinogenicity is a concern if you eat too many.

Weight Gain

Prunes pack a punch with their weight-gaining sugar content. One serving of six uncooked prunes contains 137 calories and 22 grams of sugar, according to USDA National Nutrient Database. One cup of prune juice contains about 185 calories. And the high glycemic index of prunes may raise your blood sugar levels more than most other fruits do. So eating prunes in excess will likely result in a gain in weight.

How Many Prunes is Safe

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you eat two servings of dried fruit per day for a healthy diet, which can include fruit juice. A serving of prunes is half a cup, or 10 to 12 prunes, while a serving of prune juice is one cup. California Dried Plums recommends if you are not used to a diet high in fiber, start with a smaller serving of four to five prunes and gradually increase your consumption to avoid digestive side effects.

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Dependency on Laxatives

Eating too many prunes for a laxative effect, possibly because of the inaccurate belief that laxatives are effective for weight control, could be harmful to your body. Those who do not have regular bowel movements should not rely on dried plums to relieve constipation too frequently. Overuse and dependency on laxative-producing foods can cause electrolyte and mineral imbalances and damage the function of nerves and muscles in the colon, warns the National Eating Disorders Association.

Health benefits of dried prunes

Dried prunes are an easily digestible and nutrient-rich food that is both beneficial to your health and delicious. The benefit of eating dried prunes though is that they can be great for your health. They contain large amounts of nutrients and fiber. Prunes are also cheap and frequently on sale, making them a great fruit to add to your weekly grocery list.

This article will take a look at the health benefits of dried prunes and why you might consider adding these healthy fruits to your diet!

1. Improves Vision

Dried Prunes are a great source of vitamin A, a vitamin that is essential for healthy vision. One prune delivers 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. People who are deficient in vitamin A are prone to night blindness, dry eyes, macular degeneration, and cataracts. 

2. A powerhouse of Antioxidants

Blueberries may be high on the antioxidant scale, but surprisingly prunes are even higher. A study conducted by researchers from Tufts University in Boston ranked prunes, or dried plums, as the #1 food in terms of antioxidant capacity. Prunes contain manganese, iron, and plant phenolics that function as antioxidants and help protect the cell membranes from free radical damage.

3. Heart Healthy

“Dried Prunes are high in potassium, an important mineral that ensures proper functioning of the heart and nerve response throughout the body”, says Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Internal Medicine, National Heart Institute. Daily intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of problems such as dizziness, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. One should not overlook the health benefits of prunes.

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4. Relieves Constipation

Prunes have been sold as a popular digestive remedy for years together. And when it comes to laxatives, prunes are more effective than even psyllium, according to the April 2011 issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Prunes help the body in digesting food properly, relieve constipation and have a regular bowel movement. This is because prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol.

5. Protection Against Osteoporosis

A single serving of prunes (100 grams) fulfills the daily requirement for boron, and the potassium present in prunes helps support bone health. According to Florida State University, prunes may be able to reverse osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. For the study, postmenopausal women were asked to eat 100 grams of dried plums per day and as a result, they had improved bone formation markers after only three months, compared to a control group who were eating 75 grams of dried apples. Prunes also have anti-inflammatory properties and are highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis.

6. Promotes Hair Health

Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, dryness and discoloration of hair. And prunes are great sources of iron, contributing to the overall health of your hair and offering countless benefits to it. They are a source of vitamin B, vitamin C, et al which are great for your hair growth. These nutrients strengthen your hair from the roots and prevent breakage and damage.

7. Great for Skin

The vitamins and minerals present in prunes help in maintaining healthy skin. This humble fruit also helps slow down the aging process and delays the development of wrinkles. the presence of many minerals makes it quite a good snack, further giving you glowing skin. How’s that for sweet!

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