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Chemical Composition and Potential Health Effects of Prunes: A Functional Food?

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Abstract

Prunes are dried plums, fruits of Prunus domestica L., cultivated and propagated since ancient times. Most dried prunes are produced from cultivar d'Agen, especially in California and France, where the cultivar originated. After harvest, prune-making plums are dehydrated in hot air at 85 to 90 degrees C for 18 h, then further processed into prune juice, puree, or other prune products. This extensive literature review summarizes the current knowledge of chemical composition of prunes and their biological effects on human health. Because of their sweet flavor and well-known mild laxative effect, prunes are considered to be an epitome of functional foods, but the understanding of their mode of action is still unclear. Dried prunes contain approximately 6.1 g of dietary fiber per 100 g, while prune juice is devoid of fiber due to filtration before bottling. The laxative action of both prune and prune juice could be explained by their high sorbitol content (14.7 and 6.1 g/100 g, respectively). Prunes are good source of energy in the form of simple sugars, but do not mediate a rapid rise in blood sugar concentration, possibly because of high fiber, fructose, and sorbitol content. Prunes contain large amounts of phenolic compounds (184 mg/100 g), mainly as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which may aid in the laxative action and delay glucose absorption. Phenolic compounds in prunes had been found to inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro, and thus might serve as preventive agents against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Additionally, high potassium content of prunes (745 mg/100 g) might be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Dried prunes are an important source of boron, which is postulated to play a role in prevention of osteoporosis. A serving of prunes (100 g) fulfills the daily requirement for boron (2 to 3 mg). More research is needed to assess the levels of carotenoids and other phytochemicals present in prunes to ensure correct labeling and accuracy of food composition tables in order to support dietary recommendations or health claims.
... The exact mechanism by which prunes relieve constipation is not fully understood, but its efficacy is attributed to a combination of several components: high fiber content (both fibers that are fermented by bacterial microbiota and those that are poorly fermented and increase stool water and volume), sorbitol which has a laxative effect, and chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids which pass undigested into the colon and are subsequently fermented by colonic bacteria [8,9]. Prunes can be a safe, well-tolerated, and inexpensive addition to the bowel regimen of women undergoing benign gynecologic surgery. ...
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Objective To investigate the effect of postoperative prune consumption on time to first bowel movement after benign gynecologic surgery. Materials and methods In this randomized, open label, controlled trial, 77 adult women who had benign gynecologic surgery that required at least one night in the hospital were enrolled from July 2018 to April 2019. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to one of two groups using a randomization assignment: 4 oz prunes daily plus docusate sodium 100 g twice daily versus docusate alone. The study’s primary objective was time to first bowel movement (BM). Secondary outcomes were pain associated with first BM, stool consistency using Bristol stool scale, and patient satisfaction with bowel regimen and surgery experience. Results Postoperative survey data was available for 68.4% of participants (n = 52). There was no difference in time to first BM between the two groups (p = 0.29); however, consumption of > 12 prunes was associated with an increased likelihood of having a BM in the study period. Among women who consumed at least 12 prunes, hospital discharge was earlier, and there was a not statistically significant greater satisfaction with postoperative bowel regimen. Conclusions The addition of prunes to postoperative bowel regimen of docusate sodium may be a beneficial adjunct to postoperative bowel regimen. Clinical trial The Institutional Review Board at the University of Southern California approved the study, and the study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (ID: NCT03523715).
... ture gain ( Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis et al., 2001 ). These findings however partly agree with the findings of Pavani and Aduri (2018) about the effect of HDPE and LDPE on -carotene and vitamin C contents of dried leafy vegetables during storage. ...
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... These results are in close line with those found in the H. barteri (80 mg/100 g DW), 61 and Mangifera indica pulps (40-49 mg/100 g DW), 64 and the Prickly pear juice (83-89 mg/100 g DW). 65 Furthermore, they were much greater than those obtained with Prunus domestica (12 mg/100 g DW), 66 and Anacardium occidentale (12 mg/100 g DW). Calcium is essential in many biological functions (cardiac automatism, in the contraction of smooth and striated muscles, nerve conduction, coagulation, and endocrine and exocrine hormonal secretions). ...
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