I’ve been very fortunate to be an ongoing contributor to the California Prune Board’s educational initiatives over the last several years.
There are many wonderful choices that exist in our food system, and it’s always fun to take a closer look at the unique benefits that certain selections bring to the table—with California Prunes being no exception.
In today’s article, I will be taking a look at the nutrition profile of prunes from the perspective of an active person and/ or athlete.
What nutritional benefits do California Prunes have to offer to this type of person?
Let’s find out!
Prune Power 101
Right off the bat we can acknowledge that prunes, like other fruits, are a very healthy source of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are utilized as the primary fuel for most sports and activities like running, cycling and swimming, which means that active people tend to require more dietary carbohydrates than others.
Prunes play a role in fulfilling that requirement in a convenient way, because they are so easy to transport and can be used in many different ways.
A serving of just four prunes contains an impressive 24 grams of carbohydrates, but they bring much more to the table than that.
A serving of prunes also contains between 2% – 6% of the daily requirement of four key nutrients for active people:
Magnesium – An important mineral that is often under consumed, yet very important for proper muscle functionality and good bone health. It is also lost through sweat.
Calcium – An important mineral that may be under consumed in younger people and is fundamental for good bone health and injury prevention. A single serving of prunes also contains 20 per cent of the daily requirement of Vitamin K, another bone building mineral that is found largely in leafy greens (which may not always be consumed by young athletes). For more information on the benefits of California Prunes for bone health, please read my previous article on the subject.
Iron – Very active people, as well as females and vegans, are more at risk of iron deficiency than the general population. Being able to top up iron stores from an unconventional source (in this case fruit), is a wonderful bonus.
Potassium – An important mineral for proper functioning of the heart and muscles. It is also an electrolyte that is lost through sweat. Getting enough potassium may help reduce the risk of muscle cramps, which is an important note for active people, especially because many Canadians do not consume enough of it.
Antioxidants & Active People
One of the other things that sets California Prunes apart is their exceptionally high antioxidant capacity.
Studies show that they are among the richest sources of dietary antioxidants across all food groups.
They also tend to contain a wide array of antioxidants from the polyphenol family, which have garnered a great deal of scientific interest for their role in the world of sports nutrition. This interest partially stems from the fact that additional stress that high levels of physical activity put on the body mean active people may enjoy additional benefits from a diet that is rich in naturally occurring antioxidants.
Thinking of incorporating more prunes into your daily lifestyle? Try this quick and easy California Prunes Trail Mix.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH