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Prunes vs Plums - Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on March 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Plum
vs
Prunes

Summary

Plums and prunes are health-promoting and disease-preventing foods. The difference between their glycemic indices is 24 units, with lower prunes.

Prunes have higher amounts of macronutrients, fiber, minerals, specifically iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus, vitamins, particularly A, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and amino acids. Prunes have a longer shelf life since they are dehydrated.

Introduction

Plums are fruits in the Prunus subgenus. To date, 40 registered species of the plum fruit are documented, of which the European and Japanese plums are of the most considerable economic importance (1).

The dehydrated form of specific plum cultivars is called a prune. Drying leads to the loss of the plum's volatile components and the appearance of new compounds. Prunus domestica, Prunus salicina, and Prunus americana are three plum species contributing to the production of most prunes (2). The carbohydrate composition in these plums allows the fruit to undergo dehydration while avoiding fermentation (3).

Plums are mostly eaten fresh, while prunes are eaten dried or juiced.

Prunes and plums have been used as food and medicine for centuries. A simplistic analysis lets us explore how these two items are nutritionally similar or different.

Nutrition

The nutritional content of plums and prunes is summarized below using visual aids.

Prunes have approximately five times the amount of calories in plums. Moreover, prunes have a higher carbohydrate, sugar, starch, fat, protein, fiber, and polyunsaturated fat content due to a lower water percentage. The glycemic index of prunes is lower than that of plums.

Plums are more abundant in saturated and monounsaturated fats than prunes.

The anticipated cholesterol and trans fat content of prunes and plums are null.

Regarding essential amino acid content, prunes are richer in tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, and histidine.

Vitamins

Prunes contain more vitamins A, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. On the other hand, plums contain 15 times more vitamin C and are higher in folate than prunes.

Both items contain no vitamin D.

In short, prunes are more abundant in vitamins.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Plum
2
:
9
Prunes
Contains more Vitamin C +1483.3%
Contains more Folate +25%
Contains more Vitamin A +126.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +65.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +615.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +351.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +212.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +606.9%
Contains more Choline +431.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +829.7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 21% 6% 0% 32% 7% 6% 8% 9% 7% 4% 0% 2% 16%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 47% 9% 0% 2% 13% 43% 36% 26% 48% 3% 0% 6% 149%
Contains more Vitamin C +1483.3%
Contains more Folate +25%
Contains more Vitamin A +126.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +65.4%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +615.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +351.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +212.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +606.9%
Contains more Choline +431.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +829.7%

Minerals

Prunes are richer in minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus.

Plums have a lower sodium content, with the difference being 2mg.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Plum
1
:
9
Prunes
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Calcium +616.7%
Contains more Iron +447.1%
Contains more Magnesium +485.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +331.3%
Contains more Potassium +366.2%
Contains more Zinc +340%
Contains more Copper +393%
Contains more Manganese +475%
Contains more Selenium +∞%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 2% 7% 5% 7% 14% 0% 3% 19% 7% 0%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 13% 35% 30% 30% 65% 1% 12% 94% 39% 2%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Calcium +616.7%
Contains more Iron +447.1%
Contains more Magnesium +485.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +331.3%
Contains more Potassium +366.2%
Contains more Zinc +340%
Contains more Copper +393%
Contains more Manganese +475%
Contains more Selenium +∞%

Health Impact

Digestion

Section reviewed by gastroenterologist Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

Prune's high fiber and polyol content contribute to its laxative effects (1). Therefore, it can be beneficial for constipated people, specifically for mild constipation. The high fiber content also helps people stay fuller for longer.

Mental Health

Studies have pointed out the anti-anxiety effect that prunes have (2). Oxidative stress is correlated with anxiety problems, so the anxiolytic effect of prunes may be mainly through some contents that ameliorate the antioxidant defense mechanism (2).

The plum fruit has been shown to enhance cognition and memory (2).

Cancer

Numerous studies have shown that pruning suppresses specific human cancer cell growth (2). It is hypothesized that the anticancer action of prunes is due to its antioxidant compounds (2).

A study has shown that plums contain many types of phytochemicals that prevent cell proliferation in breast cancer cell lines (5).

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Clinical studies have demonstrated that including plums and prunes in the diet may help prevent and treat hypercholesterolemia and arterial hypertension. They are beneficial for cardiovascular health due to their high fiber and potassium content and their antioxidant properties.

Regular intake of prune juice and extract can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of LDL ("bad" cholesterol). Similarly, daily consumption of plums can increase the concentration of tocopherol in plasma, which is also crucial in lowering the risk of atherosclerosis (2,6).

Studies suggest that prunes and plums may have cardioprotective and antihypertensive effects by inhibiting ACE, similar to antihypertensive medications like Captopril, Lisinopril, and Perindopril (7,8).

Muscle Mass

Plums contain polyphenols that encourage muscle formation (4). This is particularly important in certain chronic diseases, where muscle wasting is a problem.

History and Origin

Historical data show that Prunus domestica and other Eurasian plum species contributed to the development of primitive European societies (9).

The plum was first documented in the 7th century BC. Historical evidence suggests that plums were a result of human cultivation and selection. Prunus domestica is thought to have originated from an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea; however, determining the exact origin of plums remains a matter of debate (9). It can only be inferred that the early varieties of the plum originated in Western Asia and traveled to Europe and consequently reaching North America (10).

Culinary Tips

Prunes and plums are considered versatile ingredients to work with. They can be eaten as is, pureed, juiced, or cooked. They are a great addition to your breakfasts, snacks, smoothies, proteins, and salads. Because of their sweet taste, they can be used in deserts to help reduce the amount of added refined sugar. Pureed prunes can help partially replace the fat content of baked desserts (3).

Storing Conditions

Unripe (usually green-colored) plums should sit at room temperature away from sunlight until they ripen (usually turn purple).

Ripe plums are fresh fruits that can quickly go rancid. Store them in the fridge to keep plums fresh for a few days. Store plums in the freezer to conserve them for several months (up to 6).

Prunes should be stored in cool and dry conditions in air-tight containers. They can be stored in the freezer to increase shelf life up to 12 months.

How Should You Buy Them?

Ripe plums are hard but can be gently squeezed. Unripe ones are very firm. Be careful of signs of cuts, discoloration, or decomposition.

Prunes should be shiny. They can be pitted or not. Beware of the presence of mold, added sugar, or any additive.

Consumption and Production

China is the world's leading producer and consumer of plums, producing around 6,676,142 tons per year and composing around 59% of total consumption (11).

The largest exporter of prunes in 2018 was Chile. The largest importer was Germany (12).

Recommendations

The amount of fruit needed per day widely varies depending on age, sex, level of physical activity, health status, weight, metabolic rate, and many other criteria.

According to the USDA, one cup of fruit (or 100% fruit juice) or half a cup of dried fruit can be considered one cup from the Fruit Group. An individual should get a serving of one to two cups daily from the Fruit Group.

One cup of raw or cooked plum equals three medium or two large pieces or one cup of 100% plum juice. For prunes, the recommendation will be half a cup per day.

These amounts apply to individuals who get less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Those physically more active may have higher caloric needs and consume higher amounts (13).

Contraindications

There are no documented side effects of consuming prunes or plums to date.

There are some reports of diarrhea due to prune consumption (2). Research showed that consuming a maximum of 100 grams of prunes in a regular daily diet did not produce significant bowel changes in men and postmenopausal women (2).

Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: March 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan

Infographic

Plum vs Prunes infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Plum
1
:
4
Prunes
Contains more Water +182.1%
Contains more Protein +211.4%
Contains more Fats +35.7%
Contains more Carbs +459.4%
Contains more Other +613.5%
11% 87%
Protein: 0.7 g
Fats: 0.28 g
Carbs: 11.42 g
Water: 87.23 g
Other: 0.37 g
2% 64% 31% 3%
Protein: 2.18 g
Fats: 0.38 g
Carbs: 63.88 g
Water: 30.92 g
Other: 2.64 g
Contains more Water +182.1%
Contains more Protein +211.4%
Contains more Fats +35.7%
Contains more Carbs +459.4%
Contains more Other +613.5%

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Plum
2
:
1
Prunes
Contains less Saturated Fat -80.7%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +152.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +40.9%
9% 69% 23%
Saturated Fat: 0.017 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.134 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.044 g
43% 26% 31%
Saturated Fat: 0.088 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.053 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.062 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -80.7%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +152.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +40.9%

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Plum
3
:
3
Prunes
Contains more Sucrose +946.7%
Contains more Maltose +33.3%
Contains more Galactose +∞%
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Glucose +402.2%
Contains more Fructose +305.5%
16% 51% 31%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 1.57 g
Glucose: 5.07 g
Fructose: 3.07 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0.08 g
Galactose: 0.14 g
12% 59% 29%
Starch: 5.11 g
Sucrose: 0.15 g
Glucose: 25.46 g
Fructose: 12.45 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0.06 g
Galactose: 0 g
Contains more Sucrose +946.7%
Contains more Maltose +33.3%
Contains more Galactose +∞%
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Glucose +402.2%
Contains more Fructose +305.5%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Plum Prunes
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Plum Prunes Opinion
Net carbs 10.02g 56.78g Prunes
Protein 0.7g 2.18g Prunes
Fats 0.28g 0.38g Prunes
Carbs 11.42g 63.88g Prunes
Calories 46kcal 240kcal Prunes
Starch 0g 5.11g Prunes
Fructose 3.07g 12.45g Prunes
Sugar 9.92g 38.13g Plum
Fiber 1.4g 7.1g Prunes
Calcium 6mg 43mg Prunes
Iron 0.17mg 0.93mg Prunes
Magnesium 7mg 41mg Prunes
Phosphorus 16mg 69mg Prunes
Potassium 157mg 732mg Prunes
Sodium 0mg 2mg Plum
Zinc 0.1mg 0.44mg Prunes
Copper 0.057mg 0.281mg Prunes
Manganese 0.052mg 0.299mg Prunes
Selenium 0µg 0.3µg Prunes
Vitamin A 345IU 781IU Prunes
Vitamin A RAE 17µg 39µg Prunes
Vitamin E 0.26mg 0.43mg Prunes
Vitamin C 9.5mg 0.6mg Plum
Vitamin B1 0.028mg 0.051mg Prunes
Vitamin B2 0.026mg 0.186mg Prunes
Vitamin B3 0.417mg 1.882mg Prunes
Vitamin B5 0.135mg 0.422mg Prunes
Vitamin B6 0.029mg 0.205mg Prunes
Folate 5µg 4µg Plum
Choline 1.9mg 10.1mg Prunes
Vitamin K 6.4µg 59.5µg Prunes
Tryptophan 0.009mg 0.025mg Prunes
Threonine 0.01mg 0.049mg Prunes
Isoleucine 0.014mg 0.041mg Prunes
Leucine 0.015mg 0.066mg Prunes
Lysine 0.016mg 0.05mg Prunes
Methionine 0.008mg 0.016mg Prunes
Phenylalanine 0.014mg 0.052mg Prunes
Valine 0.016mg 0.056mg Prunes
Histidine 0.009mg 0.027mg Prunes
Saturated Fat 0.017g 0.088g Plum
Monounsaturated Fat 0.134g 0.053g Plum
Polyunsaturated fat 0.044g 0.062g Prunes

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Plum Prunes
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
9%
Plum
29%
Prunes
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
6%
Plum
32%
Prunes

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Prunes
Prunes is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Prunes
Prunes is lower in glycemic index (difference - 24)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Prunes
Prunes is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Plum
Plum is lower in Sugar (difference - 28.21g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Plum
Plum contains less Sodium (difference - 2mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Plum
Plum is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.071g)
Which food is cheaper?
Plum
Plum is cheaper (difference - $1.5)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Plum - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169949/nutrients
  2. Prunes - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168162/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.