Fifty grams of prunes, providing a daily fiber dose of 6 grams, outperformed an equal fiber dose from psyllium for constipation relief over three weeks, with the fruit’s laxative effects linked to its sorbitol, fiber, and polyphenol contents, according to findings of a study supported by the California Dried Plum Board.
“Given their palatability, tolerability and availability, dried plums should be considered in the initial approach to the management of mild to moderate constipation in the general population,” write the authors, led by Satish Rao, MD, PhD., from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), over four million Americans suffer from constipation every year. As a result, approximately $725 million is spent on laxatives in the US.
Constipation, considered a symptom and not a disease, is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week.
Dietary approaches to alleviate constipation are well known, with prunes ranking high on the list of foods to help maintain regularity. However, while traditional use is well known, the University of Iowa researchers state that efficacy of this approach is not currently known. (more…)