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What Are the Benefits of Dried Plums?

by
author image Nicki Wolf
Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.
What Are the Benefits of Dried Plums?
The fiber in dried plums may help relieve constipation. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Dried plums are often called prunes. This fruit may be dehydrated in an oven or in the sun, and they resemble large, black raisins. The leathery skin and moist flesh provide nutritional benefits. Consult your physician before eating dried plums to correct medical issues.

Fiber

Dried plums contain quite a bit of fiber – 12.4 grams per 1-cup serving. Eating them has long been a home remedy for constipation because of the fiber content. Some people opt to use psyllium to relieve constipation instead because dosages can be carefully controlled. However, research published in a 2011 issue of “Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics” indicates that dried plums are more effective than psyllium fiber. Patients with chronic constipation experienced better constipation relief from a 1/2-cup of dried plums daily than from psyllium over an 8-week period.

Vitamin K

Eat dried plums to satisfy your daily needs for vitamin K. Each serving provides 129 percent of the recommended daily intake of this vitamin, which is important for normal blood clotting. Consuming enough vitamin K may help you stay healthy as you age, according to evidence a 2011 edition of “Menopause International.” Researchers note that a vitamin K deficiency in older people correlates to certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, so including dried plums in your diet may help you avoid these problems.

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Potassium

One serving of dried plums contains 36 percent of the potassium your body requires daily. Potassium helps to ensure proper function of the heart and transmission of nerve impulses throughout your body. It may also positively affect bone health. A study in “The Journal of Nutrition” in 2008 links potassium-rich foods such as dried plums with bone integrity, although more studies are needed to confirm this finding.

Vitamin A

Consume a serving of dried plums, and you take in 27 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. This makes dried plums a good choice for eye health – vitamin A fosters good nighttime vision and protects the cornea. The vitamin A in this fruit is also helpful for the immune system in general. Research featured in a 2011 issue of “Vitamins and Hormones” reports that vitamin A may help trigger cell death in potentially dangerous cells.

Considerations

While fruits are nutritious, eating too many calories – even from healthy foods – can cause weight gain. A serving of 6 pitted, dried plums provides about 150 calories. Going overboard by eating a full cup lands you with 418 calories. Limit your snacks to 100 to 200 calories, advises nutritionist Michelle Turcotte of the Diet Channel. Dried plums contain more dense amounts of calories and natural sugars per serving than fresh plums, so particularly if you have diabetes or carry excess pounds, fresh plums may be a better choice. Pairing dried plums with lower-glycemic foods, such as nuts and low-fat milk, can help keep your blood sugar and appetite in-check.

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References

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