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Prunes are a girl’s best friend!

Far from being just a classic grandmother’s remedy for tummy troubles, prunes are actually an amazing health food for women, especially for those who are looking to keep in shape.

Prunes: a girl’s best friend!
© Thinkstock

Prunes fit easily into everyday life, are great to snack on as well as being a gread addition to meals, and all this makes them a girl’s best friend. Here is quick view of a fruit that’s like no other!

The prune’s nutritional qualities are undeniable and, contrary to popular misconception, prunes are not fattening. Prunes are recommended eating for all women, and have their own special health benefits.

The health-packed prune

“The health benefits from eating prunes have been known for a long time,” as Dr. Jean-Marie Bourre, a French research director tells us. “The Greek Hippocrates (460-377 BCE) mentions prunes in the preparation of medicine.”

  • The vitamin E and beta-carotene content in prunes means they have a higher concentration of antioxidants than other fruits. These antioxidants protect fatty acids and cell membranes against attack from free radicals, and this allows the body to fight signs of ageing skin, such as a loss of elasticity and wrinkles.
  • The potassium content in prunes gives them both a diuretic and detoxifying effect on the body.
  • Prunes contain another essential nutrient for women: boron, which plays an important role in ossification. Together with calcium and vitamin D, boron actively participates in the preservation of bone density and general upkeep of your bones.
  • Prunes also contain magnesium, necessary for muscle contraction and nervous impulses.
  • A final key health benefit is the iron content in prunes (2.1 mg per 100g of prunes), which is particularly good for pregnant women who are often deficient in this essential mineral.

The prune: your figure’s best friend

Despite their sweet taste, prunes are not as full of calories as you might think. They don’t contain any fats and 93% of the energy you get from prunes comes from carbohydrates. The prune is a unique fruit in that it has a particular composition and proportion of carbohydrates: glucose, fructose and a polyphenol called sorbitol, which is found almost exclusively in prunes.

“The addition of these three carbohydrates allows the brain to make use of energy that is readily available, while gradually assimilating energy,”’ explains Dr. Bourre. He also points out that, “Finishing off breakfast with a few prunes stops you getting hungry again before lunch”. A study led by Professor Gerard Slama in 2007 showed that the prune has a low glycemic index (GI) and therefore, as Dr. Bourre indicates, ‘”The prune fits into the category of dried fruit which is both recommended and recommendable.”

On top of all this, prunes are also rich in fibre, with 100g of prunes covering 63% of your recommended daily fibre intake. This amount is equally divided into soluble and insoluble fibre, which has a gently regulating effect on digestive transit and gives a strong sense of being full up as well. “An adult woman can consume 4 to 5 prunes a day, as a snack or as dessert, included in her recommended daily calorie intake,” dietician Marie-Alix Rose suggests.

The prune is EVERY girl’s best friend

On top of all these wonderful nutritional benefits, prunes add a certain exoticism and diversity to your diet, often constituting a healthier alternative. We all reach for chocolate if we are a bit peckish or in need of relaxation, but prunes actually have a similar anti-stress effect thanks to their high magnesium content.

While you can buy prunes in most supermarkets, there is one particular variety of prune that's a cut above the others, both nutritionally and in taste... The French Agen prune. The south-western city of Agen is known as the "global capital of the prune", and produces world-renowned large and absoltely luscious prunes, so look for the name.

Health professionals recommend prunes, especially to:

  • Pregnant women or those who are trying to conceive: there is an especially high need for folic acid (vitamin B9) and calcium in these cases. Eating prunes daily contributes to a supply of folates, allowing the body to build up ‘reserves’. Agen prunes are also a good source of calcium.
  • Athletic women: you have to fuel your body when exerting yourself over a long period, however it cannot just be any kind of carbohydrate: your body needs a carbohydrate with a moderate or medium GI. Water loss must be compensated for by drinking fluids and you should make sure mineral salts stay balanced. Agen prunes fit the GI and water bill, are an energy-packed qualitative snack with the tiniest concentration of insulin engendered through a high mineral content, which allows the body to make up for losses.
  • Menopausal women: this stage in your life is accompanied by an increase in body fat to the detriment of lean body mass. In addition to this blood tests can show high cholesterol and a fasting level of glucose which is subnormal. Agen prune fibres and the sorbitol content allow glycaemia to be regulated and also reduce the absorption of cholesterol. The antioxidants play a role in the prevention of cells’ ageing. Prunes’ richness in boron has a beneficial effect on the solidity of the bone matrix and also improves cognitive function.

Source: Press kit - "Le pruneau d'Agen le fruit universel qui sait prendre soin des femmes !", BIP, March 2009 ; Jean-Marie Bourre, Salim Rashidi, Jean-Michel Delmas, "Valeur nutritionnelle du pruneau d'Agen", Médecine et nutrition, volume 43, N°4, 2007.

Posted 26.07.2011

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