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A guide to prune juice

close up of prunes with plums in backgrround
Prune juice is commonly known for its laxative effect, but just how true is it? In this article you find out everything you need to know about prune juice.

If you have decided to look into prune juice,  it may be that you are looking for ways in which you can help bowel movement or constipation. However, there is much more to prunes than you might think.

Prunes, or dried plums, can be a good addition to your diet and can be beneficial for constipation due to their high levels of fibre.1

In the following article we’ll go through the motions, so you can learn what introducing prune juice into your diet can do.

Is prune juice good for you?

Prune juice is filtered so it doesn’t contain as much fibre as dried prunes, however both are good for your overall health.

While there is limited scientific proof that prunes can help with digestion relief, it’s commonly thought that prunes and prune juice can keep you regular.  

However, there are a number of additional benefits that prune juice can have on your health.

A 2013 study looked at the health benefits of prunes and prune juice.2 Researchers noted that the fruit contains considerable amounts of a sugar alcohol called sorbitol. It was found that prune juice contains 6.1g of sorbitol per 100g of juice, which could be an explanation for its laxative qualities.

Sugar alcohols are a category of sweet carbohydrates and are partially resistant to digestion. Sorbitol in particular passes through your body undigested. It then draws water into the gut, which bulks up the stool and increases bowel movement.

Sorbitol is an effective laxative, which is safe to use, even for older adults.3 Despite the ‘alcohol’ part of the name, alcohol sugars do not contain ethanol, the compound that makes you drunk.

Summary

  • Prune juice is filtered and does not contain as much fibre as dried prunes
  • Prunes and prune juice contains 6.1g of the alcohol sugar, sorbitol per 100g of juice
  • Sorbitol draws water into the gut, which increases bowel movement
  • Despite the alcohol name, alcohol sugars don’t contain ethanol and are safe to use

Five health benefits of prunes

We know that prunes can aid digestion. But there are more prune and prune juice benefits when adding them to your diet.

Here we will provide five ways in which the addition of prune juice in your diet can help:

  1. Helps digestion

It’s definitely worth repeating that prunes and prune juice are high in fibre, which helps constipation.

Dried plums contain more than double the amount of sorbitol than juice, at 14.7g per 100g of dried fruit – compared to the 6.1g per 100g serving of prune juice. However, both are rich in fibre and have been known to soften stool consistency.4

While prunes may not be scientifically proven to fix constipation, it is noted that prunes and their juice are a healthier, safer and tastier first line therapy for mild to moderate constipation.5

Prune juice weight loss claims

Research from the University of Liverpool on the effects of prunes for weight loss suggest that it can actually help as part of a healthy diet.5

They study tested the effects of prunes on weight and appetite on 100 overweight and low fibre consumers over a twelve-week period.

Participants were divided into two groups – those who ate prunes every day (140g a day for women and 171g a day for men) and those who were given advice on healthy snacks over the period of active weight loss.

Research found that members of the group which ate prunes as part of a healthy life-style diet lost 2kg in weight and shed 2.5cm off their waists.  However, the people in the group which was given advice on healthy snacks lost only 1.5kg in weight and 1.7cm from their waists.

Summary

  • Prunes are high in fibre, which helps digestion
  • Juicing prunes will lose some of the fibre
  • Prunes and prune juice can help mild constipation
  • Prunes can help weight loss in a controlled diet
  1. Helps control the bladder

Adding fibre to your diet can help with discomfort of having an overactive bladder.

Obviously, there are many things that can cause an overactive bladder, but one known reason is constipation. It stands to reason that the addition of prunes or prune juice to your diet could help with eliminating bladder irritants.6

Summary

  • Adding fibre to your diet may be able to help with bladder discomfort
  • Constipation can have an effect on your bladder
  • Prune juice could help with both of the above
  1. High in potassium

Prunes and prune juice are a good source of potassium.

Potassium is an electrolyte, which helps the body achieve various bodily functions.

Potassium is needed for7:

  • maintenance of normal blood pressure
  • healthy muscle function
  • supporting the nervous system

it works by conducting nerve signals throughout the body to generate muscle contractions, including those in the heart and gut. As we don’t naturally produce potassium, prune juice is a good way of adding more potassium to your diet.

The NHS suggests that adults (aged 19-64) should have 3,500mg of potassium a day, which you should get from a healthy, balanced diet.8

Summary

  • Prunes are high in potassium which can help the body perform many important functions
  • The body doesn’t naturally produce potassium, so prunes are a good source
  • NHS suggest adults aged between 19-64 should have 3,500mg of potassium per day
  1. High in vitamins

Vitamins provide essential nutrients for the body, and prunes contain a number of key vitamins.

In 64g of prunes you will find:

Nutrient

Amount 

% of FDA recommended daily amount

Vitamin K

52 mcg

65%

Vitamin A

679 IU

14%

Riboflavin

0.16 mg

9%

Vitamin B-6

0.18 mg

9%

Niacin

1.6 mg

8%

Vitamin A does a lot for your skin. From helping the healing process and supporting the immune system and promoting natural moisture.Vitamin K aids blood clotting and wound healing. It keeps your bones healthy too.

Riboflavin and niacin are part of B vitamins that help many things to help the body function, including; the brain and nervous system, cell reproduction, normal immune function and releasing energy from food.

Summary

  • Prunes contain a number of key vitamins that your body requires
  1. Good source of iron

When the body doesn’t get enough iron it can lead to deficiency. By improving your iron intake you will improve the quality of your red blood cells.11

Prune juice is a great source of iron and can help the body get the right amount.

Symptoms of iron deficiency can include:

  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heath palpitations
  • Pale skin

Summary

  • Prunes contain a lot of iron, which helps produce red blood cells
  • Lack of iron in your diet can lead to tiredness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and pale skin

Is prune juice better than other fruit juices?

As fruit and veg contains water, nutrients and often fibre, keeping hydrated is a good way to help with bowel movement or cases of constipation.

What causes constipation?

There could be a number of reasons that you may feel constipated, they may include:

  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Low fibre diet
  • Diet that is high in dairy
  • Traveling
  • Medication
  • Pregnancy

In many cases of occasional constipation, making diet and lifestyle changes is very effective for relieving symptoms.

Drinking certain juices may help with constipation for some people. Some juices contain dietary fibre and sorbitol, both of which help regulate bowel movements.

Fruits that contain sorbitol include:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Pitted fruits, such as plums, peaches, and apricots
  • Dried fruit, including prunes and dates

Summary

  • Fruit and veg are good a source of water, nutrients and fibre.
  • Keeping hydrated is a good way of increasing bowel movement
  • There are a number of reasons you could be constipated, including an inactive lifestyle, low fibre diet or a diet high in dairy
  • Drinking certain fruit juices that contain dietary fibres and sorbitol can help regulate bowel movement

Top 3 fruit juices to help with constipation

  1. Prune juice

You guessed it…The number one juice for to help bowel movement is prune juice!

Does prune juice make you poop?

Although they’re high in dietary fibre, much of the fibre is lost in the juice-making process. However, because prune juice contains sorbitol, magnesium and potassium it acts as a laxative.

You can make prune juice yourself at home, but buying natural prune juice is the easiest method.

How long do prunes take to work?

If you are having difficulty going to the toilet, then drinking between half and one glass of prune juice in the morning can help improve digestion.

Alternatively, a glass thirty minutes to one hour after a heavy meal may also be beneficial.

How to make prune juice

Ingredients:

  • 300 g prunes
  • 2 litres of water

Method:

  1. Add 300g of prunes and two litres of water to a saucepan. Heat the over medium or high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce to low heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour prunes and water into a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. If required, pour the blended mixture through a sieve to remove the larger pieces.
  4. Pour prune juice into bottles and store in the refrigerator.
  1. Lemon juice

Much like prune juice, the antioxidants in lemons, in this case vitamin C pull water into the gut, which increases bowel movement.

Drinking a mixture of lemon and water may help with constipation in some people as increasing your water intake can help with mild constipation.

It’s ideal to use fresh, locally sourced lemons where possible.

How to make lemon water

Simply mix the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water. For best results try drinking at night and first thing in the morning.

  1. Apple juice

Apples contain high amounts of dietary fibre and sorbitol, which act as a laxative in the same way as prune juice. Apples also contain pectin, which is a type of water-soluble starch that may increase bowel movement.

However, drinking large quantities of apple juice can cause digestive discomfort in people who have sensitive bowels, so it’s best to drink in low amounts.

How to make apple juice

You can simply juice apples whole and drink them. Alternatively, you can add apple juice to other juices or smoothies.

When making apple juice at home, consider leaving the skin on for extra fibre content. Although keep in mind, that the juicing process does lessen the amount of fibre you consume.

Who can drink prune juice?

Prune juice is suitable for both adults and children. The recommended allowance for prune juice for adults is 120ml per day.12

Prune juice for babies

If you are looking for prune juice for baby consumption, the recommended daily allowance is 30-60ml of diluted prune juice.13

Prune juice side effects?

While prune juice can be a great addition to your diet, as with many things it's often a good idea to start slowly and with caution as there can be some negative effects.

Side effects can include:

  • Bloating and upset stomach

 Sorbitol in prunes and prune juice can cause gas and bloating.

  • Constipation

This may sound contradictory, however, it’s important that you drink enough fluids when adding prune juice to your diet.

Give your digestive system time to adjust by adding prunes to your diet in moderation, which should see symptoms of gastrointestinal upset reduced.

If you are looking where to buy prune juice, then look no further.

Last updated: 16 March 2021

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