Healthy nibbles

PRUNE

PRUNE

DID YOU KNOW?
Plums have been cultivated since prehistoric times in temperate zones with numerous varieties and hybrids suitable for many soils and regions. Their cultivation originated in western Asia near the foothills of the Caucasus region and the shores of the Caspian Sea.1 Most of the commercial plums fall into two main species: Prunus domestica (European) and Prunus salicina (Japanese).2 The European plums are the family line that produces the French cultivars of prunes, currently the consumer’s preferred choice of prunes throughout the world because they are naturally sweeter and flavorsome.
After harvest, the freshly harvested plums are dried to become prunes or dried plums. Although all prunes are plums, not all plums are destined for prune production. In North America, the term prune refers to the varieties that can be, and normally are, dried without removing the pit.2 PRUNE
Currently, the USA, together with Chile, Argentina and France, are the largest prune producers, representing 95% of total global production. 95%
BENEFITS
Nutrients
Prunes are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K, and are a source of copper.3,4
Vitamin K
Of all dried fruits, prunes contain the highest amount of vitamin K (59.5 mcg/100 g).
Bone health
Dried plum research has increased over the past decade due to their association with bone health. Prunes have been linked to the prevention and reversal of bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women.5,6,7,8
Digestive health
Prunes may also help manage constipation, according to a 2014 study.9 They are the only fresh or dehydrated fruit with authorization from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to make digestive health claims.
FUN FACTS
Prune trees were introduced to South West France by the Crusaders from the region of Damascus on their return from Jerusalem in the 12th century. It is also believed that the Knights Templar spread the prune tree in the area. Today in that area, prunes are known as “Pruneau d’Agen”.10
PRUNE
Prunes were brought to California after the Gold Rush thanks to Louis Pellier, a French vine grower. In 1850, Pellier began to cultivate plums near Mission San Jose. Now, prunes are an important part of the state of California’s agriculture.1
References:

1)    California Dried Plums Association. http://www.californiadriedplums.org/about-prunes-and-dried-plums/history.
2)    Hui, Y. H. (2006). Handbook of fruits and fruit processing. John Wiley & Sons.
3)    USDA Food Composition Databases. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 slightly revised May, 2016: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list.
4)    Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32006R1924&from=en.
5)    Rendina, E., Hembree, K. D., Davis, M. R., Marlow, D., Clarke, S. L., Halloran, B. P., ... & Smith, B. J. (2013). Dried plum’s unique capacity to reverse bone loss and alter bone metabolism in postmenopausal osteoporosis model. PloS one, 8(3), e60569.
6)    Franklin, M., Bu, S. Y., Lerner, M. R., Lancaster, E. A., Bellmer, D., Marlow, D., ... & Smith, B. J. (2006). Dried plum prevents bone loss in a male osteoporosis model via IGF-I and the RANK pathway. Bone, 39(6), 1331-1342.
7)    Halloran, B. P., Wronski, T. J., VonHerzen, D. C., Chu, V., Xia, X., Pingel, J. E., ... & Smith, B. J. (2010). Dietary dried plum increases bone mass in adult and aged male mice. The Journal of nutrition, 140(10), 1781-1787.
8)    Hooshmand, S., Chai, S. C., Saadat, R. L., Payton, M. E., Brummel-Smith, K., & Arjmandi, B. H. (2011). Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(6), 923.
9)    Lever, E., Cole, J., Scott, S. M., Emery, P. W., & Whelan, K. (2014). Systematic review: the effect of prunes on gastrointestinal function. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 40(7), 750-758.
10)    Amblard C. History of the Prune Industry in France. Comité Economique du Pruneau. International Prune Association. http://www.ipaprunes.org/pdf/History%20of%20prunes%20in%20France.pdf