The top benefits of prune juice include treating constipation, stimulating circulation, protecting heart health, preventing liver disease, strengthening the bones, preventing colon cancer, increasing brain function, boosting the metabolism, and supporting respiratory health. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, aiding in weight loss, preventing anemia, reducing cholesterol, and treating emphysema.
What is Prune Juice?
Prune juice comes from prunes, which is a different name for dried plums. Plums have the scientific name Prunus domestica, and these fruits are grown for their fresh varieties as well. However, more than 1,000 different types of plums are grown specifically to dry as prunes. As plums begin to dry, they retain all of their nutrients, but also increase in a particular active ingredient known as sorbitol. Prunes also have a longer shelf life and a pleasant taste, which is why they are so popular in juice form.
This juice is typically diluted with some water for a tart and rejuvenating drink. Due to some of its specialized health benefits, it has often been thought of purely for problems with constipation, but in fact, prunes have a diverse range of nutrients beyond their soluble and insoluble fiber content. This juice is easy to make and a single glass will have significant levels of fructose, sorbitol, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, and various antioxidant compounds, among others. Therefore, while there has long been a stigma against prune juice as being only for older generations, more and more people are adding this juice to their health regimen due to its impressive effects.
Prune Juice Nutrition
Prune juice is rich in vitamin A, C, E, and K. It also contains other vitamin compounds like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. 100 grams of this juice provides around 71 calories and 18 g of carbohydrates. Minerals found in this juice include potassium, sodium, calcium, and iron, which thereby give many health benefits. Prune juice does not contain any fatty acids or cholesterol and is a great source of energy with 71 kcal per 100 grams of this fruit juice.
Benefits of Prune Juice
One of the most tried and trusted health juices in the world is prune juice, which provides a rich supply of nutrients and a long list of potential health benefits when consumed in moderation. Let us discuss these benefits in detail below.
Aids Digestion & Treats Constipation
Perhaps more than any other benefit, this juice is known to stimulate the digestive system. If you are suffering from constipation or indigestion, a single glass of prune juice can often get things moving again. The dietary fiber found in prune juice, combined with the presence of sorbitol, can stimulate the digestive process and help to improve nutrient uptake in the gut. This also helps ensure no occurrence of hemorrhoids among those who regularly consume this juice.
Prevents Colon Cancer
Recent research on the effects of this juice has shown that it can measurably improve the microflora environment of your gut, which can lower your risk of colon cancer. More research is being done on the antioxidant effects of the juice on other types of cancer.
The antioxidants present in this juice help in lowering the cholesterol levels, thereby prevent coronary heart diseases. The potassium content in prune juice also promotes overall long-term heart health. Whereas, the high content of vitamin K in it improves heart health by preventing the calcification of arteries.
Rich in antioxidants and soluble fiber, prune juice helps in reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, and thereby prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is caused by the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the arteries that turn into plaque. Excess cholesterol in the body can also be led to heart failure, hypertension, and strokes.
Prevents Liver Disease
Prune juice helps in maintaining the production of two main enzymes in your liver, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT). ALT is responsible for breaking down the food in your body into energy. When the liver gets damaged, it increases the ALT levels in your blood, thereby raising blood levels. Prune juice helps in regulating this enzyme, and thereby promoting liver health. It also treats conditions like hepatitis
There is quite a bit of iron in juice made from prunes, and this mineral is necessary for the production of red blood cells. This will help to boost your circulation, providing more oxygenation and nutrients to the areas of the body that need it, as well as increasing energy levels.
With a wide range of B vitamins, prune juice is able to ensure that our metabolism is regulated, which includes regulating enzyme and hormone production, eliminating birth defects and strengthening the immune system.
The nutrient density in prune juice is very high, and it can also help to release leptin, a hormone that tells the body it is full. This appetite-suppressant quality is why this juice is so often recommended to people on weight-loss diets.
Improves Respiratory Health
Numerous studies have connected the intake of prune juice with better respiratory function and a lower risk of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). This is due to the presence of key antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the respiratory passages.
The list of minerals contained in prune juice is a clear sign that it contributes to bone density and preventing the onset of osteoporosis. This is particularly important as we begin to age, another reason why prune juice is so popular among older generations.
The antioxidants, vitamin C and B-family vitamins found in this juice are essential for brain and nerve function, and this can also help to eliminate oxidative stress and lower your risks of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
How to make Prune juice?
So why don’t you make your own prune juice, and delve into its amazing health benefits!
To make prune juice, you need the following:
- Step 1: Remove the pits or seeds from prunes.
- Step 2: Soak the prunes in boiled water overnight.
- Step 3: Take them out of the boiled water after 12-15 hours and then blend them.
- Step 4: Now, add water to the already crushed and juiced prunes.
- Step 5: Top this mix with some lime, and serve cold!
You can also add apple and pear to the mix for some added sweetness. Other recipes of prune juice include prune juice smoothie with cranberries and mango.
Prune Juice for Pregnancy
Although many experts are cautious when recommending dietary choices for pregnant women, prune juice is one that appears to be widely accepted and promoted in the health community. It is particularly effective for constipation during pregnancy, which is quite common at any point in the pregnancy term. This can help to ease discomfort and pressure in the bowels, preventing hemorrhoids and other related conditions, such as cramping, bloating and excess flatulence.
The other nutrients of prune juice are also beneficial during pregnancy, but the most frequent reason for use is the laxative effect of this beverage. As with any dietary item during pregnancy, consume this drink in moderation, and be sure to clear its use with your doctor first.
Side Effects of Prune Juice
- Diarrhea and Dehydration – Prune juice not only contains a high level of dietary fiber, but also sorbitol, both of which can act as a laxative substance in the body. While some people specifically drink this beverage for those emptying effects, excessive intake of dietary fiber can cause abnormal amounts of gas and bloating, as well as diarrhea. Attached to that potential side effect is dehydration, which can happen very quickly if you are experiencing diarrhea symptoms.
- Weight Gain – A single serving of prune juice should be enough to get your system feeling great, but that glass also contains 180-200 calories. If you are drinking an excessive amount of prune juice, you need to factor this into your caloric intake for the day, or you risk gaining weight.
- Diabetes – Many studies have linked the intake of prune juice with a reduction in blood sugar levels. This can be excellent for those trying to manage diabetic symptoms, but if you are already on blood sugar-lowering medication, speak with your doctor before adding prune juice into the mix.
- Carcinogens – Prune juice contains measurable levels of acrylamide, which is a neurotoxin and a carcinogenic substance. Although the concentration is considered quite low, it is still worrisome for people who have high levels of oxidative stress or are at high risk for various cancer.