Prune Juice For Weight Loss
While adding prunes and prune juice to your diet can help with weight loss, consuming them with abandon can have the opposite effect. A serving size of six uncooked prunes (or 57 g) has 137 calories and 21.7 g of sugar. A 1-cup serving of prune juice has about 182 calories.
Fruit is a good thing for you — it’s full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. But too much fruit can make you fat. Eating three pieces of pie at Thanksgiving will pack on the pounds faster than any other meal in your plate. The same goes for drinking a quart of peach cobbler or a bowl of fresh blueberry muffins. Fruit is loaded with natural sugars that turn into fat when digested. This is why many health experts recommend limiting your intake of sugary fruits like bananas to once per day. And if you want to lose those extra pounds, eating just one piece of apple pie won’t do it. You’ll need to cut back on those sweet treats by cutting out entire meals of desserts. Instead, try substituting fruit for dessert as an occasional treat. It doesn’t taste nearly as bad.
But what happens when you eat less dessert but still crave something sweet? If you’ve ever had a glass of prune juice, then you know how powerful this simple little drink can be. While adding prunes and prune juice to your diet can help with weight loss, consuming them with abandon can have the opposite effect.
There are two different types of prunes: seedless and seeded. Seedless prunes contain more fiber and are sweeter while their seeds add flavor. Seeded prunes are smaller and firmer, and they’re used primarily for cooking. They also provide more nutrients than seedless varieties. Pruning takes off all of the seeds and stems from the bottom of the prune, leaving behind only the edible fleshy part. Then these pruned prunes are dried until they reach a crisp texture. When purchasing prunes, look for plump, shiny ones without wrinkles or bruises. Avoid any prunes that appear shriveled because they may not be fully ripe. Ripe prunes should be soft and slightly squishy. To ripen prunes, place them in a paper bag near a window sill. After a few days, they’ll start to soften up. If you don’t plan on using them right away, store them in the refrigerator so they stay fresher longer.
A typical serving size of prunes is about 3 ounces, which contains around 60 grams. That amount is roughly equivalent to half a cup of raisins or four pitted cherries. One cup of prune juice has about 140 calories and 18 grams of sugar. So if you want to use prunes to fight fat, you’d better choose the best quality available.
Read on for ways to incorporate prune juice into your daily routine.
Benefits of Prune Juice
Pruning Your Own Prunes
Tips for Drinking Prune Juice
Benefits of Prune Juice
The benefits of prune juice extend far beyond its delicious taste and gooey texture. There are actually several reasons why this low-calorie beverage works wonders in reducing weight gain and controlling appetite.
First, prunes contain phytonutrients called polyphenols. These chemicals give prunes their deep red color and rich antioxidant properties. Polyphenols work to neutralize free radicals, which damage cells and cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In addition to preventing cell damage, polyphenols also promote healthy bones and teeth and strengthen capillaries. Researchers believe that polyphenols play an important role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and protecting against certain cancers, including colon and prostate cancer.
Second, prunes contain fiber. Unlike other forms of fiber, prunes’ soluble fibers dissolve in water instead of being bulky and filling up stomach space. Soluble fiber helps regulate bowel movements and prevents constipation. Since prunes release energy slowly over time, they keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Although there isn’t enough evidence yet to support claims that prunes prevent diabetes, some studies suggest that soluble fiber from prunes lowers glucose response after eating foods high in carbohydrates.
Finally, prunes contain pectin, which binds to calcium molecules in our digestive tracts, making it harder for us to absorb the nutrient. Pectin is found most abundantly in apples, peaches and citrus fruits. However, prunes are a great source of pectin, providing 2 grams per ounce compared to the 0.2 gram provided by an average orange. Pectin may also aid in digestion by slowing down intestinal transit times.
Now that we know what makes prune juice so beneficial, let’s talk about how to get the maximum benefit from it. Read on for tips for buying the best prune juice, preparing it yourself and incorporating it into your regular diet.
Pruning Your Own Prunes
When shopping for prunes, avoid any bags marked “100% pure” unless you’re sure that those prunes were grown organically. Seeds, skin and stems are removed during the process before drying. Any bag marked 100 percent means that the product didn’t undergo this step. When picking your own prunes, pick bright red, firm specimens without blemishes or bruising. Store whole prunes in plastic containers in a dark, dry location. Don’t refrigerate them; this could change the consistency of the juice.
If you prefer to buy pre-pruned prunes, you might notice that the price tag is higher than the cost of buying whole prunes and processing them yourself. Before you decide whether to splurge on fancy prunes or save money by doing the job yourself, consider this: According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, pruning a single tree can take up to 20 hours. Not only does pre-processing require less hands-on work, it also reduces waste since you can always reuse the discarded parts.
Once you’ve picked out your prunes, wash them thoroughly under cool running tap water. Place them into a colander and allow the excess liquid to drain. Rinse the remaining pulp gently in cold water. Next, slice open each prune along the stem end and remove the stones. Once you’ve finished cleaning, transfer the sliced prunes to a bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and cinnamon to taste. Let sit overnight in order to extract the maximum amount of juice. Strain through cheesecloth next morning and store in airtight containers.
To reap the healthiest results, drink prune juice within three months of juicing. If stored in a freezer, however, it can last indefinitely. Just be sure to thaw frozen juice first. Enjoy!
For recipes that pair well with prune juice, check out the links on the following page.
As long as you consume the pits, seeds and skins, you can enjoy a variety of prune products. People who live in Mediterranean climates often snack on dried prunes throughout the year. Dried prunes are popular among people living in warmer climates since they can easily withstand hot weather conditions. The skin is peeled away and ground to create prune powder, which is used as a coffee substitute. Seeds are boiled to produce prune paste, which is added to sauces and main dishes. Both dried and fresh prunes can also be candied.
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