Seven Health Advantages of Plums and Prunes

Plums boast exceptional nutrition, offering an array of health advantages. Laden with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, they potentially lower the risk of various chronic ailments. Whether eaten fresh or dried as prunes, they’re renowned for enhancing health conditions like constipation and osteoporosis. This piece highlights seven scientifically-supported health perks of plums and prunes.

1. Convenient to Incorporate into Your Eating Habits:

Plums and prunes are convenient and easy to incorporate into your diet.

You can eat them on their own, or enjoy them in smoothies and salads, such as in the following recipes:

Spinach, Basil and Plum Salad
Cinnamon Plum Smoothie
Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken and Plum
Plum Avocado Summer Salad
Prune, Orange, Fennel and Onion Salad

Prunes can also be consumed as juice and are commonly stewed, which is the process of combining them with water and then simmering, as in this recipe.

2. Plums and prunes could contribute to heart health improvements.

Regular consumption of plums and prunes may offer protective benefits for heart health.

Studies have investigated their potential to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both significant risk factors for heart disease. For instance, in one study, participants who consumed prune juice and ate three or six prunes daily for eight weeks exhibited notably lower blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels compared to those who drank only water.

Similarly, another study observed reduced LDL cholesterol levels in men with high cholesterol after consuming 12 prunes daily for eight weeks. Animal studies have also indicated positive outcomes, with mice fed dried plum powder and plum juice showing lower cholesterol levels and increased HDL cholesterol.

These heart-healthy effects are likely attributed to the high fiber, potassium, and antioxidant content found in plums and prunes. However, it’s important to note that while these findings are promising, further human research is necessary to fully validate the heart-protective properties of these fruits.

3. Prunes Could Enhance Bone Health

Prunes may offer notable benefits for enhancing bone health.

Several studies have associated prune consumption with a reduced risk of bone conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia, characterized by decreased bone density. Not only can prunes potentially prevent bone loss, but they may also have the ability to reverse existing bone loss.

While the exact mechanisms behind these effects remain unclear, the antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties of prunes are believed to be contributing factors. Additionally, research suggests that prune consumption may elevate levels of hormones involved in bone formation.

Moreover, prunes are rich in various vitamins and minerals known to support bone health, including vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Although much of the evidence stems from animal and laboratory studies, human research on prune intake and bone health has shown promising results. Compared to other fruits, prunes seem to be particularly effective in both preventing and reversing bone loss.

4. They Could Aid in Reducing Blood Sugar Levels

Plums possess properties that could assist in blood sugar management.

Despite their relatively high carbohydrate content, plums and prunes do not seem to cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels after consumption. This could be attributed to their potential to enhance adiponectin levels, a hormone involved in blood sugar regulation.

Furthermore, the fiber content in plums likely contributes to their impact on blood sugar. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body after a meal, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar levels rather than a sudden spike.

Moreover, incorporating fruits such as plums and prunes into your diet is linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes, as prunes are calorie-dense and easy to overindulge in. A recommended serving size is 1/4–1/2 cup (44–87 grams).

5. Plums and prunes boast abundant antioxidants.

Plums and prunes are abundant in antioxidants, which play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and shielding cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Particularly rich in polyphenol antioxidants, they offer potential benefits for bone health and may contribute to lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Studies indicate that plums contain more than double the amount of polyphenol antioxidants compared to other popular fruits like nectarines and peaches.

Numerous laboratory and animal studies have demonstrated the potent anti-inflammatory properties of the polyphenols present in plums and prunes. Additionally, these antioxidants show promise in preventing cellular damage associated with various diseases.

In a test-tube study, the polyphenols found in prunes notably reduced inflammatory markers linked to joint and lung diseases. Among the different types of polyphenols, anthocyanins stand out for their robust antioxidant activity, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Despite these promising findings, further human studies are necessary to fully understand the health benefits of plums and prunes.

6. Prunes and prune juice could alleviate constipation

Prunes and prune juice are renowned for their efficacy in relieving constipation. This is largely attributed to their high fiber content, with each prune supplying 1 gram of fiber. The insoluble fiber in prunes aids in adding bulk to stool and facilitating its passage through the digestive tract. Furthermore, prunes and prune juice contain sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol with gentle laxative properties.

Research suggests that consuming prunes is more effective in treating constipation compared to other types of laxatives like psyllium fiber. In a study, individuals who consumed 2 ounces (50 grams) of prunes daily for three weeks reported improved stool consistency and frequency compared to those using psyllium.

However, it’s important to consume prunes in moderation to avoid potential side effects such as diarrhea. A recommended serving size is 1/4–1/2 cup (44–87 grams) per day. When opting for prune juice, ensure it is 100% juice without added sugars, and limit your intake to 4–8 ounces (118–237 ml) per day.

7. They encompass a plethora of nutrients

Plums and prunes boast an impressive array of nutrients, comprising over 15 vitamins and minerals, along with fiber and antioxidants. Below is a summary of their nutritional compositions.

Plums are calorie-friendly yet pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. A single plum offers the following nutrients:


Calories: 30

  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugars: 7 grams
  • Vitamin A: 5% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 3% of the RDI
  • Copper: 2% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 2% of the RDI

Moreover, a plum supplies a modest dose of B vitamins, phosphorus, and magnesium.


Comparatively, prunes outweigh plums in calories per weight. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of prunes presents the following nutritional breakdown:

  • Calories: 67
  • Carbohydrates: 18 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugars: 11 grams
  • Vitamin A: 4% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B2: 3% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B3: 3% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Copper: 4% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 4% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 2% of the RDI

In essence, while plums and prunes offer similar vitamins and minerals, prunes edge slightly ahead in vitamin K content and are marginally richer in B vitamins and minerals.

Moreover, prunes surpass fresh plums in calorie content, fiber, and carbohydrate levels.

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