Few foods are more synonymous with weight loss than prunes. After all, what’s more commonly associated with dropping a few pounds than a prune-filled plum? While the truth is that prunes aren’t exactly the most diet-friendly food on the planet, they do have a place in a healthy diet. In this article, we’ll discuss why prunes are a great choice for weight loss and how to incorporate them into your diet for optimal results.
Why Are Prunes a Great Source of Phytonutrients and Fiber?
When we think about healthy foods for weight loss, few foods stand out as much as prunes. It’s not hard to see why: Their shape, their color, and their taste are all reminiscent of something from paradise. And if that wasn’t enough, prunes are also a great source of fiber and phytonutrients. So what are these magical nutrients and compounds that give prunes their slimming properties? Let’s take a look.
Phytonutrients are compounds found naturally in plants that act as food for humans. Some of the most beneficial phytonutrients for humans include epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), quercetin, and resveratrol. While there are no precise figures available, it is estimated that approximately 70% of the nutrients we eat exist in plant form.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that provides the body with some benefits. For instance, it helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports the digestive system, and encourages the growth of good bacteria in the intestine. Like most low-calorie, high-fiber foods, prunes offer an excellent source of both nutrients and fiber. So, what type of fiber does prunes contain?
The bulk of prunes’ fiber is in the form of pectin, a type of complex sugar that occurs naturally in the wall of fruit cells. This type of fiber is known to dissolve easily in water and can thus be highly effective in maintaining both structural and chemical body integrity. Pectin doesn’t digest appreciably in the human digestive tract, so it provides the body with both nutrients and fiber.
Although they are commonly associated with dessert, dried plums, or prunes, there are actually several different types of fruit that can be considered “prunes.” The name actually comes from the cooking process of the fruit, which removes the outer layer (prune) leaving the inner meat (plum) inside. This type of cooking is referred to as caking, which also happens when fruit is processed in the microwave or boiled in a pot of water. So, while the shape, color, and flavor of prunes are reminiscent of something from paradise, their nutrient-rich nature actually comes from the belly of the earth.
How Does Prunes Fit Into An Overall Healthy Diet?
It’s important to note that although prunes are high in fiber and nutrients, they aren’t calorie-free. In fact, one cup of chopped prunes contains roughly 110 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. That’s a lot of sugar for a food that’s supposed to help you lose weight! To avoid excessive calories, it’s important to combine prunes with other low-calorie, high-fiber foods.
There are several different ways to incorporate prunes into an overall healthy diet. One option is to eat the fruit plain, as it is highly nutritious, filling, and cheap. Prunes are a common addition to both savory and sweet dishes, so it’s easy to get your daily serving. For a sweeter taste, try chopping the fruit and adding it to your favorite dessert recipes or eating it in chunks as a snack on its own.
On the other hand, dried plums are useful as a nutritional supplement as well as a food ingredient. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is higher for adults than for children, so more adults are likely to benefit from these fruits’ high levels of vitamin A than kids are. Also, the combination of fiber and vitamin A are known to boost the immune system and reduce the risks of certain cancers. So, in addition to helping to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help maintain a healthy weight, prunes can also be considered a ‘super food’ due to their high levels of vitamins and minerals!
Are There Any Disadvantages To Eating Prunes?
There aren’t any absolute disadvantages to eating prunes, but there are some things to be aware of. First off, prunes are very high in sugar, and, therefore, have a high glycemic index. This makes them a quick burst of energy followed by a steep drop in blood sugar. Second, people with an intolerance to sulfites may experience an adverse reaction to prunes. These compounds are found naturally in some foods, but are also used to preserve others. For people with this allergy, even the tiny trace amounts in foods can cause rashes and hives.
How Do You Prepare Prunes For Eating?
Since prunes are most beneficial when eaten raw, it’s best to prepare them in this manner. Simply wash the fruit to remove any debris, strip off the outer layer, and toss the flesh into a bowl. Any kind of cooking, whether it’s drying, baking, braising, or boiling, reduces their nutritional value and makes them more susceptible to pathogens.
As with any food, it’s important to consume clean sources of energy, so be sure to prepare your prunes in a way that maintains their nutritional value. Also, it is preferable to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, as nutrients and phytonutrients decrease dramatically once the food is past its prime. This is why it’s important to buy seasonal produce when it’s available.
When Should You Eat Prunes?
The best time to eat prunes is immediately after removing them from the plum. However, this can vary based on the type of fruit you have. Pitted fruits like berries and cherries should be eaten the day they are picked, while fresh apples should be eaten the day they are bought. Of course, you’ll always have the option to refrigerate or freeze your food, so you can plan ahead when needed.
As with any food, the best approach is to determine how much fiber and nutrients you need and then consume a serving that is representative of this amount.
Which Type Of Prunes Should You Eat?
This depends on your needs. If you are looking for quick energy, choose the varieties with a higher sugar content. For example, Deglet Noor, also known as Egyptian plums, have a much higher sugar content than regular plums, so they provide a quick burst of energy. On the other hand, since prunes are a great source of fiber and nutrients, it’s preferable to choose varieties with a higher fiber content.
Also, try to avoid any type of prune that contains sulfites. These compounds are often used to preserve foods, but for people with this allergy, even tiny amounts can cause allergic reactions and make the skin more susceptible to infections. Finally, it’s important to consume food that is seasonal, as nutrients and phytonutrients are greatly reduced in non-seasonal produce. This is why the best time to eat prunes is right after harvesting the fruit.