California Prunes Benefit Digestive Health Says European Food Standards Agency

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Eating prunes is officially beneficial for digestive health confirms the EU Commission in a final authorization ruling today. Prunes are now the only natural, whole, and dried fruit to achieve an authorized health claim in the EU following a six-year application process by the California Prune Board.

With eight out of ten adults in the UK not eating enough fiber, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the new EFSA ruling is welcome news for health professionals, and provides final scientific proof of what generations of people have known: prunes contribute to normal bowel function.

“Discussing bowel function in the UK is a very difficult topic, so public health messaging around this subject can be hard to communicate,” says nutritionist and registered dietitian Jennette Higgs. “For normal function the recommendation is that we eat 25 grams of fiber in our diet every day, and yet 80% of the UK does not eat enough. Fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, salad, whole grains, nuts, and seeds—so it is important to include a plentiful range of these foods in your daily diet."

Recent studies have shown that the average fiber intake of UK adults is currently 18.4g/day, which is 26% below the recommended dietary fiber intake of 25g/day. Eating 100 grams (8-12) of prunes every day as part of a balanced diet will provide the beneficial digestive health effect and contributes 7.1 grams (or a quarter) of the recommended fiber intake.  

Three prunes provides one of the five-a-day fruit and vegetable requirements necessary for a healthy and balanced diet. Prunes are also a good source of potassium, which helps maintain normal blood pressure; a source of vitamin B6 and copper, which support normal functioning of both your immune and nervous systems; and a source of vitamin K and manganese, which support the maintenance of normal bones.

The aim of the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations is to protect consumers from false health claims in labeling, advertising, marketing, or promotional activity. All health claims are judged using rigorous scientific scrutiny and require top quality human research based on internationally agreed-upon good scientific practice.

The EFSA ruling comes as a result of six years of comprehensive study to demonstrate the beneficial effect of prunes on digestive health and brings together the total weight of evidence brought from a series of studies concerning gut function, as a result of incorporating prunes in the diet.

California is the largest producer of prunes in the world and they are known to be the best quality due to the region's rigorous harvesting techniques and quality control assessments. The premium produce is supplied to 70 countries worldwide and the region contributes 60% of the world’s prune supplies.

Mark Dorman, International Marketing Director of the Californian Prune Board adds, “This EFSA ruling has confirmed what people have known for centuries and should help people make a more informed choice about what they are eating and feeding their families. We have been working in the UK and Europe for the past 25 years, raising the profile of California Prunes as the healthy and nutritious commodity they are—we finally now have the EU health ruling which confirms that prunes offer a convenient way to maintain normal bowel function.”

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