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Dried Figs vs. Prunes — Nutrition & Health Impact Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on May 13, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Dried Figs
vs
Prunes

Summary

Figs are higher in protein, fat, and dietary fiber, whereas prunes are slightly higher in net carbs. 

Prunes are richer in most vitamins, containing 3.8 times more vitamin K; they are also higher in vitamins B2, B3, B6, and vitamin A. Dried figs, on the other hand, are higher in most minerals; they are more than 3.5 times higher in calcium and also higher in iron, manganese, and magnesium.

Introduction

Figs (Ficus Carica) come in a variety of colors and sizes, and they are shaped like a pouch. They have a sweet taste and a soft interior packed with tiny seeds. The pouch size ranges from tiny to big, with the most common colors being green and dark purple. They're from the Middle East and Western Asia.

The fig tree is a dioecious tree, which means it has both a pollen-carrying and a seed-carrying tree. A certain wasp is required to transport pollen from one tree to another. However, with agricultural development, the wasp is no longer required to pollinate seed-bearing trees, eliminating the wasp from the tree's life cycle. As a result, the fig tree spread all over the world.

Prunes (Prunus Domestica) are dried plums, and plums are known as one of the first domesticated fruits in human civilizations. Their origin traces to Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Not all plums can be dried into prunes. A specific type of plum is required for this process which does not get fermented during the drying process. 

Usage

Figs have a shorter shelf life than prunes because they ripen sooner.

Figs may be eaten raw or dry, and they are also used to make jam.

Dried figs are used in various ways, including as a garnish or topper on European fusion salads.

The sugar and calorie content of fig jam must be considered while eating it.

Prunes have various usages in the culinary world. They are mostly eaten as they are, mixed in fruit, cereal, or oat bowls. They can be made into cookies, power shakes, and desserts. A fillet mignon with prune sauce is a gourmet European dish with a strong and rich flavor.

In this article, we will compare figs to prunes according to their difference in nutritional content, weight loss and diet effects, and health impacts.

Nutrition

The nutritional values are presented for 100g of dried figs and prunes.

Macronutrients and Calories

Figs and prunes are almost equally nutrient-dense, with very similar macronutrient contents. However, figs are slightly higher in protein, fats, and dietary fiber, whereas prunes are slightly higher in net carbs.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +51.4%
Contains more Fats +144.7%
Contains more Other +42.7%
Equal in Carbs - 63.88
Equal in Water - 30.92
3% 64% 30% 2%
Protein: 3.3 g
Fats: 0.93 g
Carbs: 63.87 g
Water: 30.05 g
Other: 1.85 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 Protein +51.4%
Contains more Fats +144.7%
Contains more Other +42.7%
Equal in Carbs - 63.88
Equal in Water - 30.92

Calories

100g of figs and prunes provide 249 and 240 calories, respectively. Thus, one fig (8.4g) would provide 21 calories, whereas one prune (9.5g) would provide 23.

Protein

Figs are 1.5 times richer in proteins than prunes, containing 3.3g per 100g serving.

Fats

Figs are also over 2 times higher in fats; however, both figs and prunes contain less than 1g of fats.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the primary macronutrient in these fruits. Figs and prunes have nearly 64g of total carbs per 100g serving, with dried figs containing 2.7g more dietary fiber.

Dried figs contain 9.8g of dietary fiber, whereas prunes contain 7.1g. Both contain varying amounts of soluble and insoluble fibers. According to a study, prunes are slightly higher in soluble fiber, whereas dried figs are higher in insoluble fiber (1, 2).

Most net carbs in these fruits are glucose and fructose. They also contain starch in lower amounts.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fructose +84.2%
Contains more Galactose +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +114.3%
Contains more Maltose +∞%
Equal in Starch - 5.11
Equal in Glucose - 25.46
10% 47% 43%
Starch: 5.07 g
Sucrose: 0.07 g
Glucose: 24.79 g
Fructose: 22.93 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0.13 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 Fructose +84.2%
Contains more Galactose +∞%
Contains more Sucrose +114.3%
Contains more Maltose +∞%
Equal in Starch - 5.11
Equal in Glucose - 25.46

Vitamins

Prunes are richer in most vitamins than figs, containing 3.8 times more vitamin K and covering the recommended daily value by 65% for women and 50% for men. 

Prunes also have 3 times more vitamin B3, 2 times more vitamin B2, and vitamin B6. They are also rich in vitamin A RAE (39 mcg). 

Prunes contain a somewhat higher content of vitamins E, B2, and B6, whereas figs are a somewhat better source of vitamins B1, B9 (folate), and C.

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.
:
6
Prunes
Contains more Vitamin C +100%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +66.7%
Contains more Folate +125%
Contains more Choline +56.4%
Contains more Vitamin A +7710%
Contains more Vitamin E +22.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +126.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +204%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +93.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +281.4%
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.422
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 1% 7% 0% 4% 22% 19% 12% 27% 25% 7% 0% 9% 39%
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 +100%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +66.7%
Contains more Folate +125%
Contains more Choline +56.4%
Contains more Vitamin A +7710%
Contains more Vitamin E +22.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +126.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +204%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +93.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +281.4%
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.422

Minerals

Dried figs are richer in most minerals than prunes: they are over 3.5 times richer in calcium, a mineral crucial for bone health, 2 times richer in iron, and over 1.5 times richer in manganese and magnesium. 

Figs are also somewhat richer in zinc and selenium. Prunes are somewhat richer in potassium. 

They are equal in copper and phosphorus.

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.
Contains more Calcium +276.7%
Contains more Iron +118.3%
Contains more Magnesium +65.9%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Manganese +70.6%
Contains more Selenium +100%
Contains less Sodium -80%
Equal in Phosphorus - 69
Equal in Potassium - 732
Equal in Copper - 0.281
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 49% 77% 49% 29% 60% 2% 15% 96% 67% 4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 13% 35% 30% 30% 65% 1% 12% 94% 39% 2%
Contains more Calcium +276.7%
Contains more Iron +118.3%
Contains more Magnesium +65.9%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Manganese +70.6%
Contains more Selenium +100%
Contains less Sodium -80%
Equal in Phosphorus - 69
Equal in Potassium - 732
Equal in Copper - 0.281

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of figs is 61, which is considered medium. In comparison, the glycemic index of prunes is 29, which is considered low.

Glycemic Load

Both have low glycemic loads. The glycemic load of figs and prunes are and 2, respectively.

Acidity

One of the ways to look at the food's acidity is by calculating its PRAL value. The PRAL or Potential Renal Acid Load value of foods shows how much base or acid is produced in the organism by the given food.

The PRAL value of prunes and figs are -13.4 and - 4.9, making them alkaline, with prunes being more alkaline or base-producing.

Weight Loss & Diets

Both figs and prunes may be used during weight loss diets, as they are nutrient-dense and high in dietary fiber, which is known to induce satiety and limit food intake.

Prunes and figs are recommended as substitutes for snacks like chocolate bars or refined and processed snacks.

Keto

In moderation, figs are recommended in the keto diet; mostly dried figs or even fresh ones can be associated with a breakfast made with low-carb toast and goat cheese.

Although the carbohydrate amount of prune is high, they are recommended to be consumed in lower amounts or even moderate amounts. This is mainly due to its laxative effect and gastrointestinal benefits. Thus the pros outweigh the cons.

Health Impact: Health Benefits & Risks

Diabetes

Figs have anti-diabetic effects due to abscisic acid, a phytohormone found in figs. It has been shown that blood glucose levels were better maintained after eating in those who ingested abscisic acid than those who did not. Furthermore, abscisic acid is associated with improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and fasting blood glucose (3).

Prunes have anti-diabetic properties that may increase insulin sensitivity, thus, alleviating diabetes' long-term side effects. Uncontrolled insulin spikes and blood sugar levels negatively affect the long run, increasing the risks, or worsening metabolic syndrome, including diabetes, obesity, and hypertension (4).

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Certain compounds found in dried fruits, such as prunes, may exhibit ACE inhibition activity, which is similar to the action of medications commonly used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure, such as Captopril and Lisinopril (5, 6).

Prunes also have a higher potassium content compared to dried figs, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Both dried figs and prunes contain antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds, which may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, ultimately reducing cardiovascular risk. 

Studies suggest that consuming prunes may help to reduce LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels in the blood, which is essential for preventing atherosclerosis. More research is needed to determine the same effect of dried figs consumption (7, 8). 

When incorporating dried figs or prunes into your diet for cardiovascular health, it's important to consider portion sizes and overall dietary patterns. While these dried fruits offer health benefits, it's crucial to practice moderation as they are calorie-dense, especially for those watching their calorie intake.

Digestion

Figs and prunes are high in dietary fiber, with figs being 2.6g higher; dietary fiber is known for its laxative effects and for relieving constipation by increasing water and mucous secretion and bowel movements.

Regular fiber-rich foods consumption reduces the risk of colon cancer, GERD, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids (9).

Dried fruits should be avoided for people with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and IBS-D, as they will worsen diarrhea.

Cancer

Although the fig itself does not have anti-tumor capabilities, fig latex and fig leaf components such as sitosterols, palmitoyl, and linoleyl have been shown to have anti-tumor characteristics. They may suppress cancer cell growth (10).

Prunes reduce the risks of developing colon cancer; this is discussed in the subsection on “Digestion.”

Inflammation

Luteolin, found in figs, has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects (11)

Polyphenols present in prunes have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. These polyphenols induce macrophage performance and reduce free radicals (12).

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: May 13, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan

Infographic

Dried Figs vs Prunes infographic
Infographic link

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +200%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +456.5%
Contains less Saturated Fat -38.9%
22% 25% 53%
Saturated Fat: 0.144 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.159 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.345 g
43% 26% 31%
Saturated Fat: 0.088 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.053 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.062 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +200%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +456.5%
Contains less Saturated Fat -38.9%

Comparison summary table

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Dried Figs Prunes Opinion
Net carbs 54.07g 56.78g Prunes
Protein 3.3g 2.18g Dried Figs
Fats 0.93g 0.38g Dried Figs
Carbs 63.87g 63.88g Prunes
Calories 249kcal 240kcal Dried Figs
Starch 5.07g 5.11g Prunes
Fructose 22.93g 12.45g Dried Figs
Sugar 47.92g 38.13g Prunes
Fiber 9.8g 7.1g Dried Figs
Calcium 162mg 43mg Dried Figs
Iron 2.03mg 0.93mg Dried Figs
Magnesium 68mg 41mg Dried Figs
Phosphorus 67mg 69mg Prunes
Potassium 680mg 732mg Prunes
Sodium 10mg 2mg Prunes
Zinc 0.55mg 0.44mg Dried Figs
Copper 0.287mg 0.281mg Dried Figs
Manganese 0.51mg 0.299mg Dried Figs
Selenium 0.6µg 0.3µg Dried Figs
Vitamin A 10IU 781IU Prunes
Vitamin A RAE 0µg 39µg Prunes
Vitamin E 0.35mg 0.43mg Prunes
Vitamin C 1.2mg 0.6mg Dried Figs
Vitamin B1 0.085mg 0.051mg Dried Figs
Vitamin B2 0.082mg 0.186mg Prunes
Vitamin B3 0.619mg 1.882mg Prunes
Vitamin B5 0.434mg 0.422mg Dried Figs
Vitamin B6 0.106mg 0.205mg Prunes
Folate 9µg 4µg Dried Figs
Choline 15.8mg 10.1mg Dried Figs
Vitamin K 15.6µg 59.5µg Prunes
Tryptophan 0.02mg 0.025mg Prunes
Threonine 0.085mg 0.049mg Dried Figs
Isoleucine 0.089mg 0.041mg Dried Figs
Leucine 0.128mg 0.066mg Dried Figs
Lysine 0.088mg 0.05mg Dried Figs
Methionine 0.034mg 0.016mg Dried Figs
Phenylalanine 0.076mg 0.052mg Dried Figs
Valine 0.122mg 0.056mg Dried Figs
Histidine 0.037mg 0.027mg Dried Figs
Saturated Fat 0.144g 0.088g Prunes
Monounsaturated Fat 0.159g 0.053g Dried Figs
Polyunsaturated fat 0.345g 0.062g Dried Figs

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

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
13%
Dried Figs
29%
Prunes
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
44%
Dried Figs
32%
Prunes

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Prunes
Prunes is lower in Sugar (difference - 9.79g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Prunes
Prunes contains less Sodium (difference - 8mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Prunes
Prunes is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.056g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Dried Figs
Dried Figs is lower in glycemic index (difference - 29)
Which food is cheaper?
Dried Figs
Dried Figs is cheaper (difference - $2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Dried Figs
Dried Figs is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

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. Dried Figs - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174665/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.