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One Major Effect of Eating Prunes, Says Dietitian

Here's why you should "up" your prune game.

When you hear the word prunes, it's inevitable that one thing immediately comes to the forefront of your mind: going to the bathroom.

That gut instinct isn't inaccurate—some research suggests that eating prunes on a regular basis could help prevent constipation. One 2014 systematic review, for example, found that consuming prunes can increase the frequency of bowel movements and may even improve the consistency of stool so that's more comfortable to pass.

This is because prunes, or dried plums, are a great source of fiber, which can help you have more bowel movements. A 100-gram serving of prunes (about 10 prunes) contains about 7 grams of fiber, which is a considerable amount of your daily needs. According to the most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines, it's recommended women consume anywhere between 22 to 28 grams of fiber daily, whereas men should consume 28 to 34 grams of fiber each day.

 Popular Foods With More Fiber Than Oatmeal

Aside from helping you use the restroom, have you ever thought of prunes as a food that helps promote bone health?

"While often just thought of as an all-natural source of fiber, that's just one of the many, important benefits," says Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., RD, and co-owner of Mohr Results. "In one trial, published in Osteoporosis International, researchers found eating five to six prunes each day may help prevent bone loss."

bowl prunes

This research may be especially important for postmenopausal women, whose reduced estrogen levels could make them susceptible to low bone density over time.

The 2016 study Mohr refers to above specifically examined the consumption of prunes in postmenopausal women who have osteopenia, a condition that describes weak bones due to bone loss. Those who consumed five to six prunes daily over the course of six months were able to prevent the same amount of bone mineral density loss as those who were prescribed 10-12 prunes daily.

"Couple that with [new] data suggesting this same amount of prunes may help improve risk factors for heart disease and inflammation and you certainly have a winning addition to the diet and a food that should be a regular in [your] diet."

Bottom line: prunes won't just help you stay regular, they may also help keep your bones in tip-top shape as you age, and may even help to prevent heart disease.

For more, be sure to check out Popular Foods for Stronger Bones After 50, Say Dietitians. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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