The Reason You Should Be Eating More Prunes Isn't What You Expect

Most of us probably know that one of the keys to maintaining a healthy diet is to eat lots of fruits. In addition to being sweet and tasty, fruits are an essential source of many important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and Vitamin C, which can boost longevity and reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture's My Plate website.

But while eating plenty of healthy fresh fruits is certainly important, dried fruits can also play an essential role when it comes to good health. As your grandmother may have already told you when you were a kid, prunes are a dried fruit — basically, dried plums — that provide many healthy benefits. And while you may not have liked eating them when you were young, it turns out your grandmother was right. Prunes are already lauded for their amazing digestive benefits. They are an excellent source of two types of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which can aid in digestion, improve gastrointestinal health, and maintain regularity, according to Web MD. But it turns out that eating prunes delivers even more health benefits.

Prunes may help reduce the risk of heart disease

Eating prunes has also been shown to be extremely beneficial to heart health. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (posted by the National Library of Medicine), eating prunes daily has been shown to reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease. Researchers at the San Diego State University School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences reported that women who ate at least 50 grams of prunes per day had improved levels of HDL cholesterol and reduced inflammation, both of which can be risk factors for heart disease, after a six-month study, as Eat This, Not That! reports.

"Dried plums contain bioactive components that have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects," the study reported, going on to say their "findings suggest that daily consumption of 50-100 g dried plum improves CVD risk factors in postmenopausal women as exhibited by lower TC, oxidative stress, and inflammatory markers with no clear dose dependence." So the time you reach into your kitchen cabinet for a snack, remember the advice your grandmother gave you, and don't forget to put an extra prune or two on your plate.