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Health Benefits of Plums and Prunes

Compared to many other plant foods, plums haven’t gotten a lot of research love. And most of the studies on plum consumption and human health have used prunes rather than fresh plums, presumably because they’re easier to get year-round and also because using a single brand of prune reduces experimental variability. Those are valid reasons, but they also mean we know less about the health effects of fresh plums than we might wish we did. However, it seems likely that prunes confer many of the same benefits as plums, with some added water.

Plums and Prunes for Constipation and Gut Health

No surprise here — after all, prunes are pretty much the poster children for bowel regularity. A 2019 British study gave prunes and water to 120 healthy adults who weren’t getting much fiber, as evidenced by their pooping frequency of less than one bowel movement per day (and some as infrequently as three times per week). After four weeks, the prune eaters were pooping significantly more, both in weight and frequency. There were no negative side effects, except (and whether this is a negative depends on your point of view) more flatulence after eating prunes.

Other trials confirm prunes’ ability to get things moving. In several head-to-head matchups, prunes outperformed psyllium powder, a popular bulking-agent laxative, in increasing stool frequency and improving stool consistency.

So what does this mean for you, if you want to deploy prunes for digestive regularity? If you’re mildly constipated, half a cup of prune juice can help you poop. If your constipation is more severe, you may want to drink a full eight-ounce cup daily. Alternatively, you can eat 100 grams of prunes (about 6–8 pieces). Regular consumption at a regular time can help keep you (wait for it…) regular.

( Excerpt from The Food Revolution Network)

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