Prunes aren’t exactly the most popular of fruits here in the States, but elsewhere in the world, they’re as popular a snack as apples, oranges, raisins, or any other delicious sweet and healthy bite.
They seem to be suffering from a bad reputation around these parts – or maybe a good one, depending on what you’re really looking for out of your food – that they can get things moving in your intestines.
Do prunes really help you poop, though? Should you chow down if you’re feeling a little backed up?
According to a 2010 European Food Safety Authority, your granny is wrong about this one – they say it’s dishonest to sell prunes as laxatives, since there is “insufficient evidence” to prove prunes can really relieve a digestive tract in distress.
That said, plenty of people took issue with the idea that we needed science to get involved at all.
“Most of our constituents do not require a scientific test,” said Sir Graham Watson, just before he challenged the commissioner of health and consumer police to a prune eating contest so he could “see for himself.”
Despite that one ruling, there is scientific evidence that prunes have all of the power our grandparents believed they did. Chemist Andy Brunning wrote on his blog that studies from 2008 and 2011, concluded that prunes do, indeed, make effective laxatives.
It makes sense, too, because prunes are high in insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to food as it digests, meaning it passes through the system faster. In addition, prunes contain sorbitol, which is an actual laxative, and it’s used in sugar-free gum, just so you know.
They also contain traces of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which are the same chemicals that help get things moving after you down that first cup of coffee in the morning.
So, yes, while consumer protection agencies may not like people marketing prunes as actual chemical laxatives, the truth of the matter is that they will get the job done, as long as things aren’t too dire.
Also, they’re pretty tasty, something people seem to forget while they’re avoiding them as “those things my grandparents tried to make me eat.”
If you want to give them a try, you’ll want to look for “dried plums,” instead – back in 2000, the industry decided to try rebranding, with some success.
“Ninety percent of consumers told us that they’d be more likely to enjoy the fruit if it were called a dried plum instead of a prune,” the newly renamed California Dried Plum Board said in a press release titled “You Won’t Have Prunes to Kick Around Anymore.”
It sounds like prunes could definitely be a delicious way to stay regular, whether they can be labeled as laxatives or not!
So that’s the info, but what’s your experience with prunes? Do they work? Do they not?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!