Prunes are marketed as a fruit snack, but you can use them in a variety of recipes ranging from soufflés and puddings to cakes and muffins. This unique-tasting fruit is well known as being an excellent source of fiber; however, prunes also provide other essential nutrients.
In 2001, plum growers won the FDA's approval to start calling prunes "dried plums." Plum growers requested the name change because they wanted to de-emphasize the reputation of prunes as a laxative and remarket them as a nutritious fruit snack, according to the California Dried Plum Board. The new name commonly gets mixed-up with the old and as such, they're often referred to as dried prunes, instead. Since prunes are actually dried plums, calling them dried prunes is not quite accurate. Prunes can be further dehydrated so that all the moisture is removed. When this occurs, the resulting dehydrated, low-moisture prunes are technically, dried prunes, although they are typically referred to as just dehydrated prunes. Dehydrated, low-moisture prunes are a small, very dry product that's suitable for cooking, but not edible as a fruit snack.
One cup of prunes, or dried plums, has 418 calories, 3.8 grams of protein, .6 grams of total fat and 111 gram of total carbohydrates. Prunes deserve their reputation as a laxative because a 1-cup serving has 12 grams of dietary fiber. This means that a 1-cup serving of prunes provides 32 percent of the fiber that men need daily and 48 percent of the amount that women require each day, based on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.
Prunes are a great source of vitamins K and A, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. One cup has 103 micrograms of vitamin K and 1,359 international units of vitamin A. One cup of prunes also provides .32 milligrams of riboflavin, 3.3 milligrams of niacin and .35 milligrams of vitamin B-6.
Prunes provide 75 milligrams of calcium and 120 milligrams of phosphorus in a 1-cup serving. This serving also gives you 1.6 milligrams of iron and 1,274 milligrams of potassium. Prunes are also a good source of several essential trace minerals. A 1-cup serving contains .77 milligrams of zinc, .49 milligrams of copper and .52 milligrams of manganese.