if you are a fan of prune juice and you choose to drink it frequently, here are some side effects you can expect to experience.
Prune juice is a beloved staple when constipation strikes, thanks to the naturally occurring sorbitol (a type of sugar) found in these fruits. But leaning on naturally sweet juice can do so much more for your health than just help you go number two when your body needs a little more support in that department.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 90% of Americans are not meeting their fruit and vegetable needs, leaving a large group of people vulnerable to experiencing potential nutrition gaps. And since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognizes that 100% fruit juice, like prune juice, provides key nutrients and hydration, including prune juice in a healthy diet can help people meet their fruit quota as long as at least half of the recommended amount of fruit still comes from whole fruit instead of juice options.
Prune juice isn’t just an easy way to sneak some fruit into your diet. This beverage popular amongst pregnant moms, elderly adults, and other groups that need a little extra help in the bathroom department, is chock-full of key nutrients that support our overall health.
Prune juice is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, which work as a laxative and can help maintain a healthy digestive system along with preventing heart disease, strokes, and other health problems.
It’s also an excellent source of:
Nutrients per Serving
An 8-ounce serving of prune juice (the amount of about 1 cup, or a single serving) contains:
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 44 grams
Fiber: 4 grams
Sodium: 15 milligrams
Sugars: 26 grams
So, if you are a fan of prune juice and you choose to drink it frequently, here are some side effects you can expect to experience.
1. You may have regular bowel movements
Unlike prunes, prune juice can be devoid of fiber due to filtration before bottling, depending on the brand you choose. But the lack of fiber shouldn’t stop you from looking to prune juice as a constipation solution.
Prune juice naturally contains sorbitol, a sugar-like substance similar to glucose. But unlike glucose, which is absorbed quickly by the body, sorbitol is absorbed slowly. This slow absorption feature allows sorbitol to increase the moisture content of the stools, ultimately resulting in the easier passage of bowel movements.
Results from a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition showed 25 grams of sorbitol to be an effective dose when a laxative effect is desired. Since one serving of prune juice contains 10.5 grams of sorbitol, including a glass into your daily habits can help you meet that effective dose in a simple way.
2. May strengthen your bones
One of the minerals in prunes is boron, which your body uses to build and maintain your bones. In fact, this mineral’s also used to treat bone conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
One 2016 animal study, for example, found that prunes reduce the effect of radiation on bone marrow. That could help combat bone density loss. Two other studies, one in 2016 and one in 2017, found that prunes could help prevent bone density loss in postmenopausal women.
And boron’s not just good for your bones. It’s also important for your body in other ways, including healing wounds, lowering inflammation, and boosting magnesium absorption.
3. Can support a healthy immune system
Prune juice is a natural source of many immune-enhancing nutrients, including vitamin C and zinc. Although other juices will offer more bang for your immune-health buck, drinking prune juice will help you meet your quota of some key nutrients that may help keep sickness at bay. Additionally, prune juice can help people maintain proper hydration—another important factor when it comes to immune health.
4. Can support blood sugar balance
Fruit juice is oftentimes vilified when people are focused on managing their blood sugars. And while it is true that fruit-flavored “drinks” and balanced blood glucose levels do not go hand-in-hand, opting for 100% prune juice may not be as bad for your blood sugars as you think. Because of the sorbitol found in this juice, the sugars aren’t as rapidly absorbed as candy or other options that result in a blood sugar spike once consumed.
And with a low glycemic index value of 29, including 100% prune juice in an overall healthy diet can be a reasonable option for those who want managed blood sugars.
5. It lessens your risk of hemorrhoids
With less constipation, you might also be less likely to get hemorrhoids. A hemorrhoid is when a vein in your anus or rectum gets swollen. This can happen when you have to try too hard to go number two. Hemorrhoid-related pain can range from uncomfortable to unbearable and you might experience some bleeding.
How can prune juice help? With sorbitol keeping things moving, you’re more likely to have softer, more regular stools. That makes it less likely you’ll be straining yourself when you’re going to the bathroom. And happy poops, happy butt.
6. It might help reduce your risk of high blood pressure
Prune juice is high in potassium, which is a mineral that your body needs to do lots of different things. It helps maintain normal fluid levels in cells, contract muscles, balance sodium levels in your blood, and maintain normal blood pressure.
In general, studies suggest that potassium-rich foods help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. A 2010 study also found that people who drake prune juice or ate prunes daily had lower blood pressure and a lower risk of hypertension.
7. It’s got plenty of iron
Your body needs iron to support blood health — and prune juice has plenty of it. In fact, just a half cup of prune juice has 3 milligrams of iron. That’s about 17 percent of the FDA’s daily recommended value for adults.
Iron allows your blood cells to create hemoglobin, a component of blood that carries oxygen from your lungs throughout your bod. Getting enough iron every day can help prevent the most common type of anemia, a condition where your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
8. It might be good for your liver
In traditional medicine, prune juice has been used to treat hepatitis — a liver disease. When there are problems with your liver, it produces harmful chemicals. Prune juice vitamins and antioxidants reduce these chemicals, helping to maintain liver health and fight disease.
However, it should be noted that prune juice is not a cure for hepatitis, and if you have hepatitis you should talk to your doctor about treatment options.
9. Heart health
The antioxidants and fiber found in prune juice have been shown to stop the harmful effects of chemicals that can lead to heart problems.
Fiber also helps keep a healthy heart by lowering levels of cholesterol in your blood. If your cholesterol gets too high, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.