Bowl of prunes on cutting board with fresh strawberries and raspberries, spinach and a glass of milk

Are Prunes Good for You?

Prunes are a good-for-you snack that offers a wealth of nutrients and health benefits related to gut health, bone health, heart health and more! Studies have shown that snacking can be an important part of a healthy diet – but it can also lead to health problems depending on how often someone snacks, what they snack on, why, and how it fits into an overall eating pattern.

How’s your snacking game? If you’re looking to make it work harder for you, there’s hardly a better choice than California Prunes. Often underrated, a serving of four to six prunes (38 grams) is around 100 calories and is deliciously satisfying, with a sweet, deep flavor and a luxurious texture.

Key nutrition in prunes:

  • 3 grams of fiber, which helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
  • 24 grams of carbohydrates, which provide energy for bodies to perform at their best.
  • 20% of your Daily Value of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
  • 6% of your Daily Value of potassium, an important mineral that may play a role in maintaining healthy bones and is important for muscle contractions and fluid balance.
  • Other important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, boron, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
  • No added sugar, cholesterol, sodium or fat … and how many snacks can make that claim?

More than 70 peer-reviewed, published studies have examined the nutrition and health benefits of prunes, including how they help support healthy digestion, gut health, bone health, heart health, and even weight management and satiety. Here are a few findings from just the past few years:

two hands holding a small bowl of prunes

Overall Prune Health Benefits

A 2018 systematic review on the health effects of prunes and their fresh cousins, plums, showed promising results on their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and memory-improving characteristics, authors said. They added that plum and prune consumption is associated with improved cognitive function, bone health indicators and cardiovascular risk factors.[i]

Improved Digestion and Gut Health

In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in 2022, drinking prune juice helped alleviate constipation without side effects.[ii] A 2019 study had similar findings with whole prunes.[iii] These built on earlier studies concluding that prunes worked better than psyllium, the main ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives, for relieving constipation.[iv], [v] Most recently, a 12-month study among older women eating prunes daily showed a notable increase in a certain type of beneficial gut bacteria.[vi]

Bone Protective Benefits

Several studies among postmenopausal women, who are at increased risk for osteoporosis, have shown bone-protective effects of eating 50 grams a day.[vii]

In one of these, study authors noted there was “high compliance and retention” over the 12-month study[viii] — in other words, the women in the study enjoyed eating prunes daily and didn’t tend to forget or drop out. In another study, authors said the bone-protective health of prunes in postmenopausal women may be attributed to their unique combination of minerals, vitamin K, phenolic compounds and fiber, which may work together for greater effect.[ix]

Recently published research is also showing a bone-protective effect of daily prune consumption in men.[x],[xi]

Heart Health Benefits

Building on other research, a 2021 study found that postmenopausal women who ate 50 to 100 grams of prunes daily for six months had lower total cholesterol, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers than those in a control group.[xii]

Health Snacking for Weight Management

Research has shown that eating prunes as a snack can help suppress hunger more than a higher carbohydrate snack with the same number of calories.[xiii], [xiv] A 2021 study showed that men and women who ate prunes had a reduced appetite as compared to a control group, and snacking on prunes may have contributed to their weight loss – but this needs to be studied further. Overall, the study participants liked snacking on prunes and said it was an easy change to make in their diet.[xv]

Healthy Aging and Improved Cognition

Several studies have suggested that regularly eating foods high in polyphenols, including prunes, has been associated with “reduced aging in humans and may exert beneficial effects on improving insulin resistance and related diabetes risk factors, such as inflammation and oxidative stress,” according to a 2021 research overview.[xvi] Another article notes that eating

polyphenol-rich foods throughout life “holds a potential to limit neurodegeneration and to prevent or reverse age-dependent deteriorations in cognitive performance.”[xvii]

Try grabbing a few prunes as a snack, or try them in recipes – think baked goods, salads, rice dishes and more. Search the California Prunes recipe database for inspiration.


[i] Igwe EO, Charlton KE. A systematic review on the health effects of plums (prunus domestica and prunus salicina). Phytother Res. 2016 May;30(5):701-31. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5581. Epub 2016 Mar 16. PMID: 26992121.

[ii] Koyama T, Nagata N, Nishiura K, Miura N, Kawai T, Yamamoto H. Prune juice containing sorbitol, pectin, and polyphenol ameliorates subjective complaints and hard feces while normalizing stool in chronic constipation: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2022 Oct 1;117(10):1714-1717. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001931. Epub 2022 Aug 12. PMID: 35971232; PMCID: PMC9531972.

[iii] Lever E, Scott SM, Louis P, Emery PW, Whelan K. The effect of prunes on stool output, gut transit time and gastrointestinal microbiota: A randomized controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb;38(1):165-173. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.01.003. Epub 2018 Feb 15. PMID: 29398337.

[iv] Lever E, Cole J, Scott SM, Emery PW, Whelan K. Systematic review: The effect of prunes on gastrointestinal function. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Oct;40(7):750-8. doi: 10.1111/apt.12913. Epub 2014 Aug 11. PMID: 25109788.

[v] Attaluri A, Donahoe R, Valestin J, Brown K, Rao SS. Randomized clinical trial: Dried plums (prunes) vs. psyllium for constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Apr;33(7):822-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04594.x. Epub 2011 Feb 15. PMID: 21323688.

[vi] Simpson, AMR; De Souza, MJ; Damani, J; Rogers, C; Williams, NI; Weaver, C; Ferruzzi, MG; Chadwick-Corbin, S; Nakatsu, CH. Prune supplementation for 12 months alters the gut microbiome in postmenopausal women. Food Funct. 2022, 13, 12316–12329. doi: 10.3390/horticulturae9050584

[vii] Hooshmand S, Kern M, Metti D, Shamloufard P, Chai SC, Johnson SA, Payton ME, Arjmandi BH. The effect of two doses of dried plum on bone density and bone biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women: A randomized, controlled trial. Osteoporos Int. 2016 Jul;27(7):2271-2279. doi: 10.1007/s00198-016-3524-8. Epub 2016 Feb 22. PMID: 26902092.

[viii] De Souza MJ, Strock NCA, Williams NI, Lee H, Koltun KJ, Rogers C, Ferruzzi MG, Nakatsu CH, Weaver C. Prunes preserve hip bone mineral density in a 12-month randomized controlled trial in postmenopausal women: The Prune Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Oct 6;116(4):897-910. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac189. PMID: 35798020.

[ix] Damani JJ, De Souza MJ, VanEvery HL, Strock NCA, Rogers CJ. The role of prunes in modulating inflammatory pathways to improve bone health in postmenopausal women. Adv Nutr. 2022 Oct 2;13(5):1476-1492. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab162. PMID: 34978320; PMCID: PMC9526830.

[x] Hooshmand S, Gaffen D, Eisner A, Fajardo J, Payton M, Kern M. Effects of 12 months consumption of 100 g dried plum (prunes) on bone biomarkers, density, and strength in men. J Med Food. 2022 Jan;25(1):40-47. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2021.0080. Epub 2021 Oct 29. PMID: 34714130.

[xi] George KS, Munoz J, Ormsbee LT, Akhavan NS, Foley EM, Siebert SC, Kim J-S, Hickner RC, Arjmandi BH. The short-term effect of prunes in improving bone in men. Nutrients. 2022; 14(2):276.

[xii] Hong MY, Kern M, Nakamichi-Lee M, Abbaspour N, Ahouraei Far A, Hooshmand S. Dried plum consumption improves total cholesterol and antioxidant capacity and reduces inflammation in healthy postmenopausal women. J Med Food. 2021 Nov;24(11):1161-1168. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2020.0142. Epub 2021 May 11. PMID: 33978491.

[xiii] Furchner-Evanson A, Petrisko Y, Howarth L, Nemoseck T, Kern M. Type of snack influences satiety responses in adult women. Appetite. 2010 Jun;54(3):564-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.02.015. Epub 2010 Mar 3. PMID: 20206217.

[xiv] Farajian P, Katsagani M, Zampelas A. Short-term effects of a snack including dried prunes on energy intake and satiety in normal-weight individuals. Eat Behav. 2010 Aug;11(3):201-3. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Feb 26. PMID: 20434071.

[xv] Harrold, JA, Sadler, M, Hughes, GM, Boyland, EJ, Williams, NJ, McGill, R, et al (2021). Experimental studies and randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of traditional dried fruits consumed as snacks on food intake, experience of appetite and body weight. Nutrition Bulletin, 46, 451–467. doi: 10.1111/nbu.12528 

[xvi] Meccariello R, D’Angelo S. Impact of polyphenolic food on longevity: An elixir of life. An overview. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 24;10(4):507. doi: 10.3390/antiox10040507. PMID: 33805092; PMCID: PMC8064059.

[xvii] Vauzour D. Dietary polyphenols as modulators of brain functions: biological actions and molecular mechanisms underpinning their beneficial effects. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:914273. doi: 10.1155/2012/914273. Epub 2012 Jun 3. PMID: 22701758; PMCID: PMC3372091.