Are you suffering from constipation? If laxatives have always been your go-to solution to solve the problem, then you’re only making your bowel movement dependent on it. Opt for an all-natural solution which is none other than prune juice. Other than helping regulate one’s bowel and bladder movement, this is packed with numerous health benefits.
What Is Prune Juice?
Prune juice comes from pulverized or dried prunes which are then dissolved in water. It contains a lot of nutrients beneficial to one’s health. Prunes on its own are rich in potassium, fiber, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and iron. Compared to other fruit juices, one cup of prune juice which is approximately 256 grams is rich in:
- Dietary Fiber (2.6 g)
- Calcium (31 mg)
- Phosphorus (64 mg)
- Water (207.97 g)
- Vitamin K (8.7 g)
Moreover, it contains no trans fats. If you opt just to take prunes rather than its juice, then that’s healthy, too. Prunes are a healthy source of vital nutrients, such as:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
Benefits of Prune Juice
Prevents Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Anemia is a disorder where the body is short of strong red blood cells. It is iron that helps in the production of red blood cells. This is where juice from prunes can help. A half cup of prunes is an abundant source of iron. It contains approximately 3 mg or 17 percent of iron.
Aids in Digestion
As mentioned, the juice made of prunes is packed with dietary fiber to help prevent constipation. It acts as an all-natural laxative due to the constituent called sorbitol. Due to its fiber content, it aids in digestion and eases bowel movement.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that consuming juice made from prunes helps lower one’s blood pressure. In fact, a study done in 2010 proved that it significantly reduced the blood pressure of the individuals that consumed prunes and prune juice daily.
Forms Muscles and Bones
Boron is a mineral that is vital in building sturdy bones and strong muscles. Moreover, it helps in refining one’s mental acuity as well as muscle coordination. Juice from prune and dried prunes are packed with this mineral. Not only does it help in forming one’s muscles and bones, but studies have also shown that it is beneficial in treating osteoporosis and preventing bone density loss caused by radiation.
If you plan to lose weight, then consuming dried prunes or juice made from it can help. It takes an extended period to digest because of its rich fiber content. Thus, slower digestion makes you feel full for longer.
Reduces Level of Cholesterol
Atherosclerosis is a condition where fat and cholesterol build up in the walls of the arteries. This circumstance can lead to numerous other health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. It can also cause other severe complications like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Avoid this instance with the help of dried prunes or prune juice. Apart from its fiber content that helps in the reduction of cholesterol, it is also rich in antioxidants which has a good influence on cholesterol levels.
Prevents Risk of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that’s difficult to detect. Moreover, it can be quite aggressive. While a good diet can help prevent one’s risk for getting colon cancer, adding juice made from prunes can greatly lower that risk. In a study by the University of North Carolina and Texas A&M University, dried plums or its juice has a positive effect on the beneficial bacteria known as microbiota in the colon. It increases the number of microbiota which leads to reduced risk of getting colon cancer.
Reduces Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a chronic disease affecting the lungs. This includes emphysema which is characterized by trouble in breathing. While smoking is the main reason for COPD, multiple other reasons can cause it. Recent studies claim that antioxidants and plant polyphenols can help reduce the risk of COPD. Prunes, as such, are a good source of antioxidants that fight the damages caused by smoking. It helps reduce the risk of COPD as well as the chances of lung cancer and emphysema. However, more research needs to be piloted to strengthen this claim.
Despite the wealth of benefits, juice made from prunes along with dried prunes also has side effects. These include the following:
If you’re consuming dried prunes, then it is best to drink enough water. An excess of dried prunes in the diet may likely cause constipation.
While high in fiber, it is also rich in insoluble fiber. This can lead to or worsen diarrhea. If you’re already experiencing diarrhea, then avoid prunes at all costs.
Gas and Bloating
The constituent that is sorbitol is a sugar that is linked to episodes of gas and bloating. So, you may experience this side effect when you consume dried prunes or its juice.
Juice made from prune can definitely help you lose weight. However, it can cause the opposite effect if you take more than the recommended amount. Uncooked prunes have approximately 21.7 grams of sugar and 137 calories. On the other hand, one cup of juice contains 182 calories. Take note of the amount so that you don’t go overboard your calorie count.
Though trace in amounts, prunes contain histamine. You may experience symptoms of an allergy when you consume dried or juiced prunes. Discontinue use and consult with your primary physician for treatment.
Avoid these side effects by slowly introducing prunes into your diet. This gives the digestive system time to adjust. Moreover, the side effects on the gastrointestinal system would be minimal.
A word of caution as well. Prunes undergo the process of drying and form acrylamide which is a chemical. This is a chemical found in fries and chips. The National Cancer Institute considers this chemical as a carcinogen. Even if it is in trace amounts, make sure to consume only a little amount of prunes in a day.
For constipation cure in adults, 4 to 8 ounces of prune juice taken in the morning can help rouse one’s bowel movement. As for children, the recommendation from the Mayo Clinic suggests 2 to 4 ounces. Adjust the amount as needed.