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Midlife Minute: A Surprising Health Benefit of Prunes

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 08/31/2011
Last Updated: 08/10/2012

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Prunes are good for more than just … well, you know. In fact, after you read why, you may never look at those dried out, wrinkled fruits (which are actually dried plums) in quite the same way again.

Quick. Free association time: When you think about a prune, what's the next thing that pops into your head?

I remember when I was younger and had occasional problems with constipation, my mother would prod me with prunes or prune juice. To me, the dark-colored juice was the equivalent of cough medicine—sweet and sticky, vile and viscous. It was the magic serum of old people, after all—something that had a permanent place on the shelf of my grandmother's refrigerator. Definitely not for anyone under 80, I thought.

But with all our recent talk about bone health, prunes—actually dried plums (now, doesn't that sound more palatable?)—are something to consider for any woman who wants strong(er) bones. A Florida State researcher has redeemed the reputation of the fruit. He discovered that prunes play a role in helping to prevent fractures. When women consumed about 10 prunes daily for 12 months, they were found to have significantly higher bone mineral density.

Prunes are also high in antioxidants, potassium (a mineral that helps normalize blood pressure) and fiber. They help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.

P.S. Due to the hurricane having battered the area where I live, I have relocated to temporary quarters and am a bit behind in my posts. But don't worry: I haven't forgotten that I owe you Part 3 of your resistance training from my visit to the Miraval spa. (Have you been waiting with uncontrollable anticipation? Maybe just a little?) Coming soon …


I'm always confused by mentions of prunes. Aren't they dried plums? So wouldn't eating fresh plums give the same benefits?

excellent question! I do eat lots of plums, but confess that I steer clear of prunes.

Yes, prunes are dried plums. And that's a really good question. I'd tend to say yes, that plums would yield the same benefits.

I *love prunes! I eat some almost daily. And I definitely take some with me when I travel. For, you know.

Prunes are actually delicious (as are the lovely dark plums we're getting now)! I'm glad to hear they help with bone health.

fascinating! thanks for the update on this food from my own childhood. li'll be replenishing my supply soon.

I love prunes, it's good to know there are such health benefits!

I love prunes! And not just because we grew prunes on our farm when I was a kid.

I love plums and prunes, and now that I know how good they're for my bones, I love them more! Thanks for the tip

Yay for the prunes :)

I actually love prunes, dates and figs. They are all similar IMO. Glad to know prunes are good for more than making visits to the bathroom go more quickly.

I love all of those fruits, as well. Added health benefits - a nice thing.

I really enjoy eating prunes plain or cooking with them. I've noticed Spanish dishes using prunes so I've started putting them in my darker Mexican sauces too, like in enchilada sauce. It gives the sauce a great texture and a natural sweetness.

Dates and figs, yes, but prunes have never won me over. I'll take a fresh plum over a prune any day.

Plums are good and prunes are good also. They have a brand out there, not sure what the brand name is, but they are flavored. Yep, they have a cherry flavor to them. If you don't like the taste of regular prunes, try these. They are really good.


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