Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Prunes - not a laxative but still good for your diet

Prunes have long been regarded as something to eat to help keep bowel movements regular. But, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there is "insufficient" evidence of a link between dried plums and normal bowel function. After looking at three studies of prune consumption they have ruled that prunes do not have a laxative effect and producers cannot say that they do.

Whatever you choose to believe, prunes still provide a valuable contribution to our diet. They’re a good source of dietary fibre, virtually fat free, with vitamins A, B2, B6, Niacin and K and minerals copper, magnesium and potassium.

Whether eaten in dried form or soaked in juice, prunes make a healthy and nutritious snack. Prunes are also helpful when you’re on a diet because they’re filling. However, as with all dried fruit, they do contain a fair amount of sugar which translates to more calories.

One of the tastiest ways to enjoy eating prunes is by adding them to porridge or just enjoying them topped with some natural yogurt and a sprinkling of high fibre cereal. If you’re buying prunes canned in liquid, go for those in fruit juice rather than syrup as the syrup only adds more sugar and calories.

One way of buying ready-soaked prunes is in individual pots such as these from Tesco. Each pot holds 120g of prunes in juice and has 100 calories. However, if you drain the juice out, this brings the calorie count down to around 60. Each pot also counts for 1 portion of your 5-a-day.

Furthermore, buying individual pots means you don’t have to eat them all at once. Many prunes are sold in large 410g cans which means, unless you are serving them up for more than one person, they have to be eaten in around 2 days.

Tesco’s Prunes in fruit juice can be found in the dried and canned fruit section of Tesco stores.

Nutrition Information: Per 120g pot: 100 calories, 0.8g protein, 23.6g carbohydrates, 23.6g sugars, 0.2g fat, 0g saturated fat, 2.9g fibre, trace salt

You can read the rest of the article on the EU prune ruling as reported in the Telegraph.


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