Are Prunes Really Such a Great Source of Fiber?

I have fond recollections of spending weekends with my grandparents; my grandmother was never anything but kind to me and it was through her that I first found my love of cooking.  She seemed to be able to prepare a lovely meal out of the very basics without ever presenting anything less than fantastic.   

She also took such good care of my grandfather, even before he was overtaken with senile dementia, by always preparing his every breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

One of these snacks was out of necessity…er, for his…regularity, I suppose you could say.

Every afternoon while he was typing on his E. Remington and Sons (he was a writer), she’d bring his daily snack of three prunes in prune juice in a small dish.

I suppose it worked for him, as she did that as long as I can remember, and, being that it occurred from the time I was born until my grandmother passed away when I was 13, I took it as fact that prunes were, therefore, the absolute best source of dietary fiber.

But are they, really?


Sure, they have some fiber; one prune has 1 g of fiber, but you’d have to eat a whole cup to get about 12 grams of fiber, but along with that, you’d also be getting a whopping 400 + calories, many of which would be coming from fructose (sugar) and even though their glycemic load is lower than some other dried fruits, like dates, there are better Paleo options to rely on for fiber, including:

  • Greens — collards, kale, turnip greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Pumpkin, canned
  • Peppers 
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes 

This is not to say we shouldn’t eat prunes; with the exception of those following Paleo for treating acne, small amounts of dried fruit as part of a balanced meal now and then can be perfectly Paleo.

As a side note, there is research to show that occasional constipation can be treated with prunes and prune juice; according to the research of Dr. Sydney Marsi,  prunes contain a compound, called dihydroxyphenyl isatin, that reportedly stimulates contraction of the intestinal wall and increases secretion of fluid, making the stools softer.

Note, however, that not being regular is a sign that something isn’t quite right and something you should sort out straight away.  Figure out the cause- what you’re eating, meds you’re taking and so on, and proactively prevent it, rather than putting band-aids on the issue, even if it is a prune-band aid!

Click here for my Chicken Marbella Recipe, which happens to use prunes.