Think of prunes and the first thing that comes to mind is constipation! Prune juice is often used to treat constipation in infants and young children, but it can be used by adults as well.
Prunes belong to the plum family and are sold mostly as dried fruits. Apart from being used as a laxative, prunes are also used in several sweet and savory dishes like stewed prune, compote tzimmes, North African tagines, puddings (Nordic prune kisel), soups cakes and sugar plums and stuffing.
Side Effects Of Prunes:
Prunes do make your bowel movements smoother and offer some other benefits too. But like everything else in nature, prunes too can cause a few side effects. Here are a few side effects of prunes consumption:
Prunes contain a high concentration of acrylamide, which is considered as a carcinogen and a neurotoxin. Acrylamide is not naturally found in normal food. But when the food is cooked at a temperatures of above 100 °C, it is formed in the food. While drying equipments of prune do not generally create temperatures of over 100 °C, prunes are still seen to contain high amounts of acrylamide.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization, the amount of acrylamide required to cause neuropathic harm is about 500 times the daily dietary intake. So, eating prunes is relatively safe. However, the carcinogenicity is an issue of concern as prunes are found to be highly carcinogenic to animals tested on the labs.
Dietary fructose intolerance is found in many individuals. This condition leads to painful abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Prunes contain high amounts of sugar, which can trigger such a problem. Even people who do not have dietary fructose intolerance can get diarrhea on eating prunes. Prunes are natural laxatives and contain a laxative compound called sorbitol. So, an unregulated dose or eating too many of these fruits can easily lead to diarrhea.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Diarrhoea ]
3. High Calorie:
As evident from the nutritional value chart above, 100 grams of prunes contain 240 kCal of energy. This is a high calorific value for a fruit. We eat calorific foods all the time, but expect the least of it in fruits. So again, it is unlikely that these extra calories would be shed in a day’s work. These calorie content gets converted into fat. If you are watching your weight, small portions can help you keep daily calorie intake under the target.
4. Intestinal Gas And Bloating:
Prunes contain complex carbohydrates and sugars that do not completely break down in the digestive tract. So, when the sugars reach the colon, the bacteria start feeding on these undigested carbohydrates.
These bacteria are responsible for intestinal gas and bloating. You can take alpha D galactosidase before eating prunes as it reduces intestinal gas by breaking down the complex carbohydrates before they reach your gut.
5. Blood Sugar:
Prunes have a high concentration of natural sugar and overeating can lead to blood sugar spike. However, it contains much less sugar when compared to sweet fruits like bananas, watermelons, apples, etc.
Prunes also contain a lot of soluble fiber, which means it does not have a very high impact on the blood sugar levels. It has a low glycemic index and can be paired with foods having high glycemic index for a less dramatic change in blood sugar levels.
6. Laxative Dependency:
Prunes are mostly used as irritant laxatives. However, those who suffer from frequent constipation should not rely completely on prunes to clear their digestive system. This can lead to laxative dependency and after a certain period of usage, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced. One may experience:
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
Prunes have their own set of side effects, but you can still consume them in moderation. A prune or two a day will not really harm you and will keep you energetic all through the day!
Hope now you are aware of side effects of prunes! Do share with us if you know any other prune side effects in the comments section below.
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