Fun With Prunes (Really!)Dried plums are frequently eaten plain, straight out of the bag, but try these following ideas to mix up your pruney routine! Breakfast: Stir prunes into your morning oatmeal or blend them in your smoothie! Side Dishes: Chopped up prunes are tasty in couscous or quinoa and add a touch of texture and flavor. You can also wrap pitted prunes in prosciutto and bake for several minutes for a deceptively easy, but fancy, appetizer. Meats: Marinade and roast any meat with prunes to retain the meat’s moisture and add a natural sweetness. Dessert: Add chopped prunes to cakes and muffins for sweetness and texture, or stew prunes to make a sauce that complements everything from ice cream to shortcakes.
Health Benefits Of Prunes
- A serving of five dried plums provides 26 grams of carbohydrate and 13 grams of sugars, mainly glucose (about five grams) and fructose (about eight grams). There is very little sucrose (under one gram). In addition, a serving of dried plums also contains about 15 grams of the sugar alcohol sorbitol.
- Dietary fiber is also classified as a type of plant carbohydrate that is not digested by humans. A serving of five dried plums provides three grams of dietary fiber. These carbohydrates including the sugars are “naturally occurring.” There is no added sugar to dried plums.
- Although dried plums contain carbohydrates, dried plums’ main sugars are fructose, glucose, and sorbitol. Dried plums have almost no sucrose. In addition, the dietary fiber in dried plums may help to modulate the body’s uptake of sugar in dried plums. The differences in the sugar profiles and the fiber in dried plums may help explain the moderate GI index.
- Dried plums are a source of dietary fiber, sorbitol, potassium, copper, boron, and phenolic compounds which are active in a web of interrelated physiological and health-promoting functions. Together these compounds help regulate glucose metabolism, promote cardiovascular health, are involved in bone metabolism, protect against cancer, and contribute to digestion. (M. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, PhD., P. Bowen, PhD., RD, University of Illinois Chicago Functional Foods for Health Program literature search. 1999.)
- Dried plums completely stopped and were able to reverse bone loss in an animal model of ovarian deficiency (a model for postmenopausal osteoporosis). The mechanism responsible for this is not known. Some speculate the mechanism might be related to the phenolic compounds, sorbitol, boron, or dried plum’s ability to impact absorption of minerals. (B. Arjmandi, Ph.D., RD, Oklahoma State University, 1998.)
- In an animal model using ovariectomized rats, dried plums suppressed the rise in serum cholesterol without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol associated with the onset of menopause. At menopause, women’s risk for coronary heart disease drastically increases due to ovarian hormone deficiency. Options for lowering cholesterol include a diet rich in plant fiber and other protective nutrients. (B. Arjmandi, Ph.D., RD, Oklahoma State University, 1998.)