All about Prunes: Health Benefits, Usage Instructions and Recipes

Prunes—does this word puzzle you? I reckon it may be a word you don’t hear too often. Most people in India refer to them as “सूखा आलूबुखारा”. These are dried plums which most people confuse with dates, mostly because they don’t recognize the difference between them. Lately, these nutritional powerhouses have gained fame in the food industry, and people are incorporating them into their diets and food habits. They are beloved because of the immense benefits these prunes offer—from gut health to boosting our metabolism, they are superior fruits in every field.

Beneficial prunes with numerous plus points are slowly finding their way into your life for a healthy lifestyle. These are just some of the many reasons why one might consider including them as a staple in their diet. Firstly, let us know what is a prune.

What are Prunes?

To put it in simpler terms, prunes are dried plums. They are prepared from fully matured plums when a high percentage of moisture is removed from these plums by drying. After drying they are cleaned via steam or water, and a preservative may be added. Usually, there are two types of plums, the Japanese and the European plums, and any of them can be used to make prunes. Among them, the Japanese plums are juicier and larger with a yellow to medium red colour.

Cup of tea with prunes top view
Cup of tea with prunes top view

Dried prunes have a deep red-brown colour, a savoury-sweet flavour, and a chewy texture. These dried plums a suitable for eating because, unlike fresh plums, the dried ones can last in your pantry for up to six months. However, if you store them in a fridge in a sealed container they could even go up to a year.

Benefits of Prunes

  • Support healthy bones

Much research has been conducted in the area of bone health and prunes for the past 15 years. In a recent clinical trial, it has been found that eating 5–6 prunes per day for six months was effective in preventing bone loss which can work miracles for an Osteopenic for postmenopausal women. Many previous research also found that eating 10–12 prunes per day for one year can also increase bone mineral density and improve indicators of bone turnover in postmenopausal women.

  • Help lower blood pressure

Prunes and prune juice are Potassium-rich foods that may help some people with high blood pressure condition. According to the American Heart Association, healthy adults with high blood pressure can discuss this approach with their doctors. However, increasing your potassium intake is not recommended for people with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease. Also, there is no scientific evidence that prunes alone can lower your blood pressure, so you can ask your doctor whether this food may be beneficial for you or not.

  • Help in digestion

These fibre-rich fruits Prunes which helps prevent constipation. Chronic constipation is a common problem, especially in older adults and can also be a painful problem for infants. Constipation can also lead to haemorrhoids. Prune juice has high sorbitol content and thus acts as a laxative. You can even consult your doctor for the same if it’s right for you or your child. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, recommends that females 30 years and younger get 28 grams of fibre each day, and males in this same age group get 34 grams.

While the recommended fibre intake for women and men over 51 is still less. Although prune juice doesn’t contain the same amount of beneficial fibre as the whole fruit, it only retains some fibre and the vitamins and minerals that the whole fruit provides.

  • Help reduce appetite

If you are struggling with unnecessary weight gain and weight imbalance problems then prunes are the right fruit for you! They can help you manage your weight. It allows you to feel full for a longer period.

Reason for the same reason for this is twofold. Premiere, prunes contain lots of fibre which is slow to digest and slower digestion means your appetite stays satisfied for longer. Secondly, prunes usually have a low glycemic index. This means that they slowly raise the glucose levels in your blood.

  • Rich in antioxidants

Prunes contain inflammation-reducing antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are thought to support healthy functioning in many areas — your digestion, nervous system, heart, blood vessels, and more.

The polyphenols found in prunes appear to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers are continuing to study the benefits of prune polyphenols in humans and it has been noticed that inflammation and oxidation dropped by 43% and 32% when prune polyphenols were used.

  • Help regulate the bowel

Adding fibre to your diet can help in dealing with an overactive bladder which can get uncomfortable to deal with sometimes. While an overactive bladder can be caused by many things, sometimes constipation can increase the frequency of urination.

To help regulate your bowels, the Women’s Center for Public Health recommends increasing your fibre intake by taking 1-2 tablespoons of the following mixture every evening with a large glass of water:

  • 1 cup prune juice
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup oat bran or unprocessed wheat bran

But it is important to consult with your doctor if you notice changes to your bowel or bladder habits. Your doctor can diagnose the cause and help you select any treatments that may be needed.

  • High in potassium

Prunes are known to be a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that assists in a variety of vital bodily functions. This mineral helps with digestion, heart rhythm, nerve impulses, and muscle contractions, as well as blood pressure. Since it is known that our body doesn’t naturally produce potassium, Researchers are continuing to study the benefits of prune polyphenols in humans, thus consuming prunes or prune juice can help you avoid deficiencies. Also, if you follow a low-potassium diet due to conditions such as chronic kidney disease, your doctor or dietitian may recommend that you avoid prunes.

How are prunes beneficial for children?

If your child has constipation, pure prune juice could help ease their symptoms. Babies who are about 4 to 8 months old should drink up to 3 ounces of juice per day, while kids under the age of 8 to 12 months old can have up to 6 ounces. But too much juice can be unhealthy for them so they should only drink prune juice daily for a week or two.

How to make Prune juice?

Plum and prunes juice in glass on wooden table background. Natural Green Leaf
Plum and prunes juice in glass on wooden table background. Natural Green Leaf

Take dried plums i.e., prunes and add water to them, then let then soak for about 20 minutes. Then, mix the soaked prunes in a blender with additional water. You can also add a splash of lemon juice and some additional sugar as per preference.

Dates VS Prunes

What are Dates?

These middle eastern fruits, Dates of the date palm tree are small, oblong, and usually dark in color. These fruits are typically consumed after they have been dried, are very sweet, relatively high in calories, and packed with nutrients.

Usually, Dates and prunes are consumed in their dried form and look similar. However, these are two completely different species of fruit, and each has its own specific properties:


Dates are the sweeter of the two fruits. These are less intensely sweet, have a lighter texture and are eaten raw. As dried fruits which is their common form, they can be very sugary due to their high levels of fructose and glucose and taste like maple, honey, or caramel. While Prunes are milder in flavour than dates, with a hint of acidity. Prunes because of low sugar content are less suitable for baking but their overall flavor is more subtle.


Dates are often smaller than prunes, and they contain a round, pointed pit. Some dates, such as Medjools, will be quite dark, while some will be a lighter, caramel-like colour. Prunes commence life as plums, they shrink during the drying process and are still sometimes larger than dates. They are dark in colour, and will have a delicately wrinkled surface texture.


Dates have a soft or gooey texture, although some will be a bit dryer and more tough with outer flaky skin. It usually depends on the variety and how they were prepared. The texture of prunes is similar to other dried stone fruits, such as apricots. Somewhat chewy, with a slight stretchiness to the flesh, prunes are still soft and easy to eat.


Dates as well as prunes, are highly nutritious. Much sweeter dates with higher carbohydrates and calorie content. They have high levels of vitamins such as B6 and the minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. They also contain calcium, selenium, and copper. Prunes contain health-promoting antioxidants and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, and the minerals copper and potassium. Like dates, they are also high in dietary fibre, making them good for digestive health.

5 Quick and Easy Prune Recipes

Oatmeal Prune Bars

This is a must snack to try enriched with goodness prunes and oat. This is a milk-time snack that’s recommendable for all the kids! It doesn’t matter if it’s chilly or warm outside. There is nothing better than a warm treat, freshly baked from the oven, especially on a winter cold night in December, with a hot cup of cocoa. Here, we have the simplest recipe for your delight. These chewy and crisp oatmeal prune bars are no exception.

A quick recipe which is made using only six ingredients, plus a few delicious add-ins, that you will definitely love!


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8-10 prunes, cut into fourths
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350. 
  • In a medium bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, oats, and salt, and mix until combined. Fold in the prunes, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut.
  • Spread the mixture in a greased or parchment lined 9 x 9 baking dish. Bake 24-28 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let cool before slicing.

Prune Juice Cookies

High in fibre which helps keep us full longer and helps us avoid those sugary and fatty snacks. The most obvious health benefit and I’m sure the one we are all aware of, is that prunes help to keep us regular. Not a surprise right? They keep things moving through our digestive tract. Luckily prunes are here to save the day!


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped prunes


  • Preheat oven to 375° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, flax meal, dry milk powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer beat together the softened butter, maple syrup, applesauce, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the dry ingredients beating until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the oats and diced prunes.
  • Using a 2 inch cookie scoop, scoop out balls of the dough and place them about 2 inches apart from each other on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container or freeze them.

Warm Prune Salad with Sweet Potatoes

Here, we have another round of mouth watering quick and easy to make treat for you. A dish you or a an evening or morning time snack that can convert to a fulfilling meal. 


  • 2 small-medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 3 large handfuls baby arugula
  • Approx. 50 grams crumbled goat cheese (approx. 2 ounces)
  • 12 California Prunes

Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 a lemon, juice only
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt + pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Peel + cube sweet potato into 1-inch pieces. Place on baking sheet + toss with olive oil + cinnamon, using a large spoon or your hands. Once sweet potatoes are evenly coated, spread them out on the baking sheet + place in the oven for 30 minutes (or until tender + slightly brown).
  • Meanwhile, cook quinoa on the stove top according to package directions.
  • While ingredients cook, make salad dressing by combining all dressing ingredients into a small jar + shaking vigorously. Slice the California Prunes in half + set aside.
  • Spread walnuts onto a small baking sheet + add to the oven when there are 6 minutes left on the timer. Remove from oven, along with sweet potatoes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • On a serving platter, add baby arugula, cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, sliced prunes, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with salad dressing, and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Banana Prune Muffins

Prune Muffins are a perfect sweet breakfast or on the go snack. We like to enjoy hot muffins right out of the oven, smeared with ricotta, cream cheese or butter.


  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 cup White sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Banana mashed
  • 1 Apple grated
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 6 tbsp Butter melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Carrot grated
  • 1 cup Prunes chopped
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts chopped


  • Preheat oven to 400º and grease muffin tin.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and the salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk, banana, carrot, apple, melted butter and vanilla.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture , add the egg mixture, prunes and walnuts and stir the batter gently until combined.
  • Divide Prune Muffins batter evenly among 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake muffins on the middle rack middle for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.

Prune Porridge Topped with Toasted Walnuts and Cinnamon

This prune porridge topped with walnuts and cinnamon makes for a delicious alternative. It’s fast becoming my favourite way to eat my oats. The toasted nuts add crunch and taste and the cinnamon gives a warming scent as well as flavour. The caramelised scent of this treat will take your breath away.


  • 40 g rolled oats (porridge oats)
  • 200 ml rice milk or whatever plant milk you like best
  • 3 prunes chopped
  • 1 pinch Himalayan pink rock salt
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


  • Bring the milk to a simmer. Add the oats, prunes and salt. Stir and lower the heat to the minimum possible.
  • 40 g rolled oats (porridge oats),200 ml rice milk,3 prunes,1 pinch Himalayan pink rock salt
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the oats sticking.
  • Meanwhile dry fry the walnuts until nicely toasted on both sides, then roughly chop.
  • 20 g walnuts
  • Pour the porridge into a bowl, top with the nuts and dust with a little cinnamon.
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

These many benefits of prunes—never heard, no? How can a single, tiny dried plum be filled with so many joys? Hopefully, it was a wild ride for you to acquaint yourself with the delicious recipes and dietary benefits for your nourishment and better digestive system. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks like this!

Kavya Goswami

Kavya Goswami is an upcoming writer and content editor who believes in the art of words and prose. She is pursuing her Bachelor in Business Administration from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is focusing on her preparations for higher education. She started writing poetries and short stories two years ago when her world revolved around books. She loves reading books of various genres. It is her second year of college, and she has participated in various poetry writing contests and got her name published in a few of them. Currently, she is working on her writing and editing skills to overcome her ambitions. She aims to travel around the world and explore their culture and history

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