National Prune Day Founder Rhayne Thomas sitting in a chair next to a table

National Prune Day: Celebrating the Versatile Prune

National Prune Day, observed annually on June 15, is a day dedicated to celebrating the numerous health benefits and culinary versatility of prunes. Founded by Rhayne Thomas, a nutrition advocate and prune enthusiast, this day aims to increase awareness not only about the positive impact of prunes on our diet and overall health but the deliciousness of prunes – as a snack and as an ingredient. 

The Founder: Rhayne Thomas

Rhayne Thomas, founder of National Prune Day poses with her prune pants

Rhayne Thomas, a noted figure in the field of nutrition and wellness, established National Prune Day as part of her extensive efforts to educate the public about nutritious food choices. The goal of National Prune Day is to highlight the often-overlooked benefits (and deliciousness!) of this dried fruit. She has a background in dietetics and a passion for promoting healthy eating habits, and her advocacy for prunes stems from her recognition of their unique nutritional profile, their potential to contribute to a healthier lifestyle, and their versatility as a stand alone food as well as an ingredient.

Rhayne, who is an unabashed prune fanatic, has always encouraged folks to eat prunes. In fact, she loved them so much that her friends started to tease her and call her the Prune Queen. Over time, her love for prunes and unofficial title as Prune Queen led her toward the decision to make her birthday National Prune Day. It took YEARS of working and unfailing commitment to get the day officially recognized. Why? Rhayne explains, “I want them to be synonymous with health, wellness, and growing – money in your community. That’s what I would like for National Prune Day.” 

Prunes are so good for your bones, they’re so good for gut health. I mean, we need to get back to our foundation of what makes us feel good, and what keeps our gears running smoothly. Prunes to me are just one step, but if you take that one step, perhaps you can look at another step,” Rhayne encourages. Spend a few minutes with her and her passion will win you over.

The Health Benefits of Prunes

California Prunes are a nutrient-dense food packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some key health benefits celebrated by National Prune Day:

  1. Digestive Health: Prunes are rich in dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, which aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation. The natural sorbitol and phenolic compounds in prunes also promote healthy bowel movements.
  2. Bone Health: Prunes are a good source of vitamin K and potassium, both of which are vital for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. Studies have shown that regular consumption of prunes can help improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: Prunes contain high levels of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. Boosting your antioxidant intake can help provide added protection for the body against heart, eye, memory, and immune system issues.
  4. Heart Health: The potassium and fiber in prunes contribute to cardiovascular health by helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Prunes also contain boron, which is linked to heart health benefits.
  5. Blood Sugar Control: Despite their natural sweetness, prunes have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower, more stable rise in blood sugar levels. This makes them a suitable snack for individuals managing their blood sugar.
  6. Weight Management: The fiber in prunes helps promote a feeling of fullness, which can aid in appetite control and weight management. Prunes are a satisfying snack that can help reduce overall calorie intake.

prunes in a glass bowl on a blue and white checkered cloth

FUN FACT! There are TWO holidays celebrating California Prunes. The other is Four Prunes Day on October 17 which reminds folks to eat (at least) four prunes a day.

Celebrating National Prune Day

National Prune Day is an opportunity for people to explore the many ways prunes can be incorporated into their diet. Here are some ways to celebrate and enjoy prunes:

  • Culinary Creations: Experiment with prunes in various recipes, from savory dishes like Moroccan tagine to sweet treats like prune muffins, fudgey cakes, and energy bars. Their natural sweetness and rich flavor make them a versatile ingredient.
  • Health Education: Participate in workshops, webinars, and social media campaigns that focus on the health benefits of prunes. Nutritionists and dietitians often share valuable insights and creative recipe ideas.
  • Community Events: Join or organize community events such as prune tastings, cooking demonstrations, and health fairs. These events provide a platform for spreading awareness and sharing the joy of prunes with others. And this year, join the Prune Packers for Prune Fest on Saturday, June 15. Get tickets here.

National Prune Day is a celebration of the humble prune and its remarkable health benefits. By recognizing and promoting the nutritional advantages of prunes, this day encourages people to incorporate this delicious and nutritious fruit into their daily diet. As we celebrate National Prune Day (and Rhayne’s birthday) on June 15, let’s remember the countless ways prunes can enhance our health and well-being, from supporting digestion to strengthening bones and promoting heart health. And, leading a truly delicious life!