(NaturalNews) Prunes and prune juice are well known for eliminating constipation and providing "regularity". They are often part of a joke around just that. But they don`t get enough respect for other qualities. This is unfortunate because there are many other health benefits for which plums have not received credit.
Prunes are derived by drying plums. This enables one to carry around and consume more of the fruit then one could by eating plums. They make an ideal snack food and last much longer than their mother plums.
Unheralded Health Benefits
For starters, prunes are at the top of the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) chart, leaving raisins at a distant second place and making prunes a top source of antioxidants available from plant sources. Antioxidants are your first line of defense against cellular break down and staying healthy at the cellular level.
Prunes also assist in preventing premature negative aging issues. Antioxidants called phenols are present in prunes. Phenols are reported to help block oxygen based free radicals from damaging the body`s fats. This is important for staving off the aging process in both mind and body, since your brain cells and skin cell outer membranes are composed of fat.
Prunes are among the best foods for potassium and vitamin A. Potassium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure while assisting heart function with healthy heart muscle tissue. Beta-carotene defends against free radicals oxidizing our cells, preventing undue damage to cellular DNA.
Cellular DNA damage can lead to cancer and a host of other diseases, including inflammatory conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A Tale of Two Fibers
There are two types of fiber in prunes that do what prunes are famous for. In addition to the natural sorbitol that give prunes their stool loosening properties, prunes contain soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber adds bulk and absorbs water, making you feel full longer with less cravings for more snacking. More importantly, it delays the absorption of glucose. This helps eliminate sugar spikes and normalize blood sugar levels. The resultant action of increased insulin sensitivity prevents or even controls type 2 diabetes.
With insoluble fiber it even gets better. Insoluble fiber helps increase bile production, which is very important for breaking down fats and protecting the liver. When friendly intestinal bacteria break down this fiber, short chain fatty acids form to help absorb minerals. These short chain fatty acids also help maintain a strong and supple large intestine and colon.
The process of digesting insoluble fiber also releases propionic and acetic acids, which are used as fuels by the liver cells and muscles. Animal studies have also confirmed propionic acid`s ability to prevent excess cholesterol production.
Fat-free and low in calories, prunes are also simply a healthy source of fuel for your body, storing 26 grams of carbohydrates per quarter cup serving. They make an ideal snack on the go, so you can stop eating those high glycemic, processed sweets in between meals.
Sweet and delicious, it is clear that prunes, especially unprocessed organic prunes, should be a staple in your snacking habits. The dried plum is another superfood providing many deterrents and nutrients, helping your body stay young longer.
Prunes also contain oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in bodily fluids, they can accumulate and crystallize, causing problems for people with unresolved kidney or gall bladder problems.
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Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com