With a naturally sweet taste, low cost and long shelf life, pitted prunes -- sometimes called dried plums -- make an economical and enjoyable addition to a balanced diet. Dried plums count toward your daily fruit intake. Each half-cup serving is equal to a cup of fruit under U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, and helps you achieve the 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit recommended daily. Pitted prunes also boost your nutrient intake, providing essential vitamins and minerals that benefit your health.
Prunes and dried plums help you consume more dietary fiber, a carbohydrate essential for a healthy diet. Fiber fights digestive disorders, including diverticular disease, hemorrhoids and constipation. It also keeps you satisfied after your meal -- it not only swells in your stomach to help you feel full, but also slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream, fighting hunger-causing blood sugar spikes and crashes. A half-cup serving of dried plums contains 6.2 grams of dietary fiber -- 16 percent of the daily fiber requirements for men and 25 percent for women, according to guidelines set by the Institute of Medicine.
Prunes also contain a considerable amount of vitamin K, a fat-soluble nutrient. Vitamin K helps to activate enzymes in your cells. Some of these enzymes play a role in blood clotting, and maintaining healthy vitamin K levels helps fight excessive bleeding after injury, easy bruising and nosebleeds. Each half-cup serving of dried plums offers 52 micrograms of vitamin K. This makes up 42 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 58 percent for women, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Incorporate pitted prunes into your diet to boost your vitamin A intake. A half-cup of dried plums contains 679 international units of vitamin A -- 29 percent of the daily intake requirements for women and 23 percent for men, according to recommendations set by the Institute of Medicine. Vitamin A helps to regulate gene activity in your cells, guiding new cells as they develop into functional tissues. It helps you produce healthy blood cells, maintains healthy skin tissue and also supports healthy vision.
Potassium and Copper
Dried plums contain copper and potassium, two minerals essential for good health. Potassium activates enzymes that your cells need to metabolize carbohydrates, while copper activates enzymes essential for energy production. Potassium also supports muscle health and lowers your blood pressure. Copper keeps your connective tissues strong. Consuming a half-cup of dried plums ups your potassium intake by 637 milligrams, providing 14 percent of your recommended daily intake. A serving also offers 244 micrograms of copper, or 27 percent of your daily intake requirements, set by the Institute of Medicine.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Plums, Dried (Prunes), Uncooked
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Copper
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