dried prunes, dried plums

Q. My wife had vascular surgery for blocked arteries in both legs three months ago. She also had an aneurysm in her abdomen repaired. The doctor told her she probably would not have bowel movements for a while until her plumbing sorted itself back into proper position.

She had problems and tried laxatives that gave her an upset stomach or didn’t work. She finally tried prune juice and it works, but a little too well. Getting the “dose” right has been a problem. Can she become addicted to prune juice?

A. Prune juice has been used for decades to combat constipation. Research suggests that prunes may also have heart benefits, since this fruit prevents oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol (Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, July, 2001).

Although it is possible to become dependent on stimulant laxatives, there is no evidence this is a problem with moderate prune consumption. To help your wife deal with the “dosing” issue and discover other natural remedies, we are sending you our Guides to Constipation and Digestive Disorders.

“Power Pudding” is a combination of prune juice, coarse bran and applesauce. For years, nurses have recommended taking one tablespoon of the mixture with a glass of water to alleviate constipation.

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  1. Brad
    New Hampshire

    Eat as much as you want. Don’t listen to faceless people on the internet telling you how much or how little you should eat based on virtually no data.

    Prunes are a fruit off of a tree. I can’t think of a better source of calories. Keep that in mind when you eat small amounts of junk food. Why not eat an abundance of the best food nature has to offer? The junk food industry must die.

  2. Rachel

    I know! I’m a 16 year old girl and I think I’m addicted to prunes.. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE THEM!
    I think I like them better than chocolate! That’s crazy, I know.
    What’s wrong with me?!
    I’ve never tried prunes before in my life and I wanted to try it out so my mom bought me these all natural prunes and I ate 1 and liked it and now I’m eating soooo much and I feel bad later because it has a lot of calories… my mom said they’re good calories but I feel like calories is calories…I don’t know what to do :(
    I don’t want to gain weight, I’m trying to lose some. I’m not overweight but I want to lose like 5 or 10 pounds :/
    I don’t even eat 2,00 calories! I eat like 700-1,000 a day. Not on purpose, I’m really short and I guess that’s why.

    • J

      This goes to the 16 year old girl, Rachel. I hope this gets to you. You DO NOT need 2,000 calories a day. Don’t worry if you’re only hitting 1400 calories a day, or maybe a little less if you’re inactive or trying to lose weight. Since you said you are small and I’m assuming a small frame as well, your maintenance is probably a lot lower than the average male/female.

      PS. i tried prunes for the first time because I had surgery and doctor put me on oxycodone. A side effect of the drug is constipation, so I wanted to prevent that so prunes came to mind. I am now addicted to them. I go to Trader Joe’s and buy bags of them at only $3 a bag.

  3. SMD

    I have my husband eat five prunes every morning. I think this is better than prune juice because it is easier to determine how much to take. Prunes have the added benefit of fiber as well as the laxative power of prune juice.

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