Today's nutrition world is bursting with superfoods. However, a long-used beverage has surprising benefits that make it a competitor to many superfoods. Prune juice is a delicious drink loaded with health benefits and an excellent nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Prune Juice:
Prunes come from dried European plums. To make prune juice, these dried plums are re-hydrated, and the juice is extracted.Consuming prune juice can positively impact one's health in many ways. These health benefits make it advisable to add prune juice into a daily diet.
One cup or 8 ounces of prune juice contains 2.6 grams of fiber which is 10 percent of the daily value. The fiber found within prune juice includes insoluble fiber, which is the fiber that helps prevent constipation and keeps you regular, and soluble fiber, the fiber that is more digestible and adds bulk to stool.
Eight ounces of prune juice boasts 10.5 milligrams or 17 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a prominent role in the body by aiding in immunity, cardiovascular health, skin health, vision, and cancer prevention.
Prune juice is classified as an excellent source of potassium as one glass contains 707 milligrams or 20 percent of the daily value. Potassium is an electrolyte necessary for many reactions throughout the body including some involving the heart. It is essential to consume enough potassium every day to help decrease blood pressure, promote bone health, and reduce the prevalence of kidney stones.
In just 8 ounces of prune juice, 3 milligrams or 17 percent of the daily value is found. Iron is a mineral that helps make up red blood cells. It is used by the body for growth, development, metabolic processes, skin, hair, and nails maintenance, and overall function.
The Vitamin K content of prune juice is 11 percent of the daily value making it a good source with 8.7 micrograms per 8 ounce glass. Vitamin K is a nutrient important in the body for blood clotting and bone development.
The USDA puts together a list of the antioxidant amount found in each food called the Database for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or (ORAC). Prune juice is listed among the top 20 ranked foods. Prune juice contains antioxidants known as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. Antioxidants fight oxidative stress, thus combating the onset of diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and many other ailments.
When Can Prune Juice Help?
Prune juice may be helpful for many conditions.
Prunes and prune juice alike are known as a home remedy for constipation. This is due to the high naturally occurring sorbitol content of the fruit. Sorbitol helps empty the bowels and soften stool by drawing more water into the intestines. A 2008 study found that when individuals consumed five to six prunes or about 7 ounces of prune juice a day, constipation symptoms were relieved. The Mayo Clinic recommends treating constipation in children with 2-4 ounces of prune juice. One source claims 4-8 ounces of prune juice remedies constipation in adults however, more studies are needed to confirm the exact amount.
High Blood Pressure & Hypertension
A 2010 study, where participants ate prunes and drank prune juice or drank water for eight weeks, showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol for individuals that consumed prune products compared to those that just drank water, deeming prunes and prune juice cardioprotective. Additionally, a 2010 systematic review linked the soluble fiber found in prunes and prune juice to lowered cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk.
Due to the high amount of iron found in just one cup of prune juice, the beverage can be helpful in preventing anemia also known iron deficiency. Prunes and prune juice also contain a large amount of vitamin C, which assists in the absorption of iron. One cup of prune juice provides 17 percent of daily iron needs. Iron deficiency is important to avoid as it can cause weakness, fatigue, headache, chest pain, and other symptoms.
Adding Prune Juice Into a Day
Although prune juice is loaded with vitamins and nutrients, one glass carries 25 grams of natural sugar. For that reason, drink only about one 8 ounce glass a day, choose brands with no added sugars like those listed below, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Prune juice is lower in fiber when compared to prunes, but both provide the health benefits listed above.
Prune Juice Brands With no Added Sugar
Choose prune juice brands without added sugar, including:
- Lakewood Organic Pure Prune Juice is independently certified as organic.
- Sunsweet Amaz!n Prune Juice comes in 32, 48, and 64 ounce sizes.
- R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Prune Juice is all natural with no preservatives.
Prune Juice for Good Health
Prune juice can be a fantastic first intervention when dealing with constipation, but regularity is not prune juice's only attribute. Prune juice can be incorporated in any diet to increase fiber, vitamin C, potassium, iron, vitamin K, and antioxidant intake, as well as prevent the onset of various diseases. Adding one cup of prune juice to a daily diet is a great way to increase overall health and practice preventative healthcare.