California produces nearly all of the prunes in the United States, and a significant proportion of prunes globally.
In some of my previous work examining the health benefits of prunes, I’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring the connection between prune intake, bone health and osteoporosis.
That particular post, which I encourage you to review, examined some of the reasons why studies have shown 50 grams of California Prunes daily may protect bone health, particularly in postmenopausal women.
In today’s article, I want to emphasize some of the unique benefits, beyond bone health, that California Prunes bring to the table.
No pun intended!
#1 – Prunes Are One of The Highest Non-Vegetable Sources of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is most often associated with leafy green vegetables, but did you know that beyond those food’s prunes are among the richest sources?
Why is this such an important fact? For starters, Vitamin K is thought to play a key role in supporting the body’s immune and anti-inflammatory response.
This is evidenced by the fact that researchers are particularly interested in the role of Vitamin K in conditions such as IBD, which has a strong immune and inflammatory component.
If you are interested in reading more about the unique anti-inflammatory capacity of Vitamin K, I recommend reading the article I’ve linked here.
#2 – Prunes Have A Unique Blend of Nutrients That May Help Improve Gut Health
Prunes have long been considered to play a functional role in facilitating good gut health, and emerging science continues to support this claim.
Researchers believe that prune’s unique blend of dietary fibre and numerous phytochemical compounds ( known as phenolics) act synergistically to support the growth and sustenance of healthy gut bacteria known as probiotics.
How To Use Prunes?
Beyond bone health, gut health and a potentially potent anti-inflammatory and immune supporting effects, California Prunes actually have a fourth superpower – their practicality.
In addition to having a very long shelf life, which is something we all appreciate right now, they are also extraordinarily versatile.
My clients often use them in salads or smoothies, and I actually created a nice little holiday parfait using prunes not too long ago (pictured below).
You can also enjoy them out of hand, combining their sweetness with the crunch of some nuts or seeds as well.
Don’t like my ideas so far?
Don’t worry the California Prune Board has you covered with a whole database of epic recipes.
All fruits are good for human health, but I always find great joy in identifying the nutritional nuance you can only appreciate by looking beyond the surface.
I hope you enjoyed going through this process with me on the topic of California Prunes and can now appreciate some of the unique benefits they bring to the table.
Remember that although I’ve chosen to focus on gut health and vitamin K, prunes also contain other important nutrients such as vitamin B6, copper and manganese which play important roles in both our anti-oxidant and immune system functionality.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH