Prunes' high vitamin K content may help COVID-19 recovery
Over the past few years, enough scientific evidence has been collected to consider prunes as one of the world’s best foods for the treatment of osteoporosis, a condition that affects senior citizens, especially women. And now, mere weeks ago, a team of Dutch researchers revealed a possible relationship between vitamin K, which prunes contain in abundance, and the human body’s response to the coronavirus
The team from the Netherlands, in conjunction with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, monitored 134 hospitalized patients with coronavirus between March and April. At the same time, the scientists also studied a control group of 184 patients in the same age group that did not have COVID-19.
Their measurements detected a direct link between vitamin K deficiency and the severity of the disease. In fact, there is a connection between low levels of vitamin K and the accelerated decomposition of tissue fibers, including elastin, which is involved in pulmonary disease. This vitamin plays an integral role in the production of proteins that regulate coagulation.
“We are dealing with a spectacular product. This discovery, in addition to prunes’ many other benefits, has drummed up more interest in this fruit, which can be consumed in red or white meat dishes and can be used in baking, desserts, breakfast — especially mixed with yogurt and other fruits — snacks, and may also be packaged in many different ways to be enjoyed any time," said Pedro Acuña, executive director of Chileprunes.
According to Kevin Verbruggen, European marketing director for the California Prune Board, “the results of the study revealed that vitamin K is not a form of treatment against COVID-19, but they also show that poor levels of this vitamin are related to a bad prognosis.”
The benefits of prunes – backed by proven scientific evidence – are plentiful. One of its most well-known traits is serving as a natural remedy against constipation. In 2011, the Alimentary, Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal published an article showing that this fruit is high in fiber and sorbitol, ingredients that improve bowel movement and relieve constipation.
In addition to constipation relief, prunes prevent premature aging, promote cardiovascular health and serve as a great antioxidant. They are also an excellent source of fiber, in fact, there are 6.1 grams of fiber in 100 grams of fruit.
This evidence concerning osteoporosis was discovered by researchers from George Mason University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research en College Station, as well as other institutions, such as NASA’s Ames Research Center’s Bone and Signaling Laboratory, the department of radiation oncology at the University of California-Irvine and the University of California’s division of endocrinology and metabolism.
Prunes decrease cancer risk as well. A 2015 study from the International Conference on Cell and Experimental Biology in Boston revealed that prunes help decrease the risk of suffering colon cancer by facilitating the retention of intestinal bacteria in the colon.
They also contain boron, a mineral that helps build strong bones and muscles. This fruit can counter the effects of radiation in bone marrow, thus preventing a loss of bone density.
Another prune-related benefit was discovered by the British Journal of Nutrition. Their study showed that antioxidants, in conjunction with the soluble fiber contained in prunes, can help reduce cholesterol levels and offset the development of arthrosclerosis.
One 28-gram serving of prunes contains vitamin K (21 percent of the daily recommended intake), and to a lesser degree, vitamins A, B2, B3 and B6, and minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Finally, this fruit is ideal when you need a quick boost of energy thanks to its high sugar content (simple carbohydrates).
“As the world’s number one prune exporter, we would like to invite you to consume this product in any of its presentations,” said Acuña.