09 Jun 2021

What are the nutrients in prunes?

author Ashley Owen
Prunes have the reputation of being very good for us, especially when it comes to our digestion. But there’s more to these wrinkly little gems than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at the nutrients in prunes, the role each plays in the body, and why prunes are so good for our health.

What are the nutrients in prunes?

Prunes are made by gently drying fresh plums until much of the water has been removed, resulting in a tender, wrinkled fruit with a dark purple colour.

A 30g serving of prunes (around three) will provide you with 72 calories. The vast majority of this energy is provided by carbohydrates, which make up about 96% of the fruit. (The remaining 4% is made up of protein (3%) and fat (1%).

Prunes are extremely low in fat at around 0.1g per serving. However they are very high in fibre, providing 8% of your daily requirement, or around 2.1g, in every 30g serving.

Alongside the macronutrients in prunes, you’ll also find plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals. These include potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamins K, E and A.

In short, prunes pack a nutritional punch!


Macronutrients in prunes

 In 100gIn a 30g serving


(12% DV)


(4% DV)



(0% DV)


(0% DV)

Saturated Fat


(0% DV)


(0% DV)



(0% DV)


(0% DV)



(21% DV)


(6% DV)



(25% DV)


(8% DV)



(76% DV)


(23% DV)



(4% DV)


(1% DV)

Prunes contain negligible amounts of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also low in protein, providing 0.7g per serving.

On the other hand, prunes contain significant amounts of carbohydrate, fibre and sugars. Let’s take a look at their role in your body.

Carbohydrates in prunes

The total carbohydrates listed on food labels include dietary fibre, sugars and starch. Therefore, the numbers you see listed under ‘fibre’ and ‘sugars’ above are included within the total for ‘carbohydrate’.

Some people, for example people with diabetes or those trying to lose weight, find it useful to calculate the ‘net carbohydrate’ in their food. This is a calculation of the amount of carbohydrates which your body is able to digest, and you can calculate it by subtracting the amount of fibre from the total amount of carbohydrates. The net carbohydrate in a 30g serving of prunes would therefore be 17g.

Of those net carbohydrates, 11g are sugars.


While this number might seem rather high, remember that these are naturally occurring sugars. You are also consuming them alongside the other nutrients present in the fruit, such as fibre, which also have an effect on how they are absorbed.

If you consumed 11g of granulated refined sugar, it would cause your blood sugar to quickly rise and then crash. However this doesn’t happen with dried fruit, like prunes.

Prunes have a low glycemic index (29/100). The glycemic index measures how quickly your blood sugar levels rise after eating a certain food.

Those with a high index are associated with large fluctuations in your blood sugar level, whereas low GI foods produce smaller, steadier changes. Scientists believe that eating low GI foods can help prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as playing a role in weight loss.(2)

As you can see, it’s important to bear in mind not only the total amount of sugar in a food, but also how your body absorbs it.

All fruit is relatively high in natural sugars, and this is especially true for dried fruits, whose nutrients have been made more concentrated by the removal of water.

So, although it may be that there are a lot of sugars in prunes, it’s not something to worry about.

One thing you might want to consider is when you eat prunes; many dentists advise that you should eat dried fruit with meals rather than as a snack. This is to prevent the fruit lodging in your teeth, where their natural sugars can contribute to tooth decay.


Dietary fibre

The high amount of fibre in prunes is part of the reason they have gained such a reputation for helping with digestive health. In fact, they’re one of the most commonly recommended remedies for constipation.

As we know, fibre helps food to move through our digestive system and allows us to absorb more nutrients. There are two types: soluble and insoluble fibre.

Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the material moving through our intestines, slowing it down so we can better absorb the nutrients in our food. Soluble fibre, on the other hand, creates a gel-like substance which allows food to pass smoothly through our digestive system. Prunes contain both types.

However it’s not just the high levels of fibre in prunes which helps with constipation. Prunes also contain phenolic compounds such as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which are thought to have a laxative effect.(3)

This may help explain why prunes seem to be better than other high-fibre foods at ‘helping things along’ in the digestive system!

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