Prune juice has quite a lot of iron, which helps the body maintain healthy blood. In fact, as little as half a cup of prune juice contains about 3 milligrams of iron, which is approximately 17 to 38 percent of the FDA's daily recommended value
According to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, men over age 19 require 8 mg of iron per day, and women ages 19 to 50 need 18 mg of iron daily.
Iron deficiency affects both men and women equally. However, the concern is significantly higher for women because they lose additional iron through blood loss during menstruation. Fortunately, including pure juices like prune juice in your diet, along with various iron-containing foods, can help boost your daily iron intake.
Why is Iron so Important?
Iron deficiency typically leads to anemia. The body requires iron for your blood cells to create hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a blood component that transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. The lack of sufficient daily iron consumption could cause a common type of anemia because the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
If diagnosed early, your healthcare advisor will likely advise you to take iron supplements. However, in many circumstances, you can simply increase your dietary iron consumption through the consumption of iron-rich foods.
That is where healthy beverages like prune juice come in to help you restore your body’s iron level, which is ideal, considering our hectic lifestyles in which snacking on ready-made meals has become common.
How to Increase Iron Absorption
It’s important to note that plant-based iron, such as that in prune juice, is non-heme iron, which is not as easily absorbed by the body as heme iron from animal sources.
Therefore, a balanced diet with a mix of plant- and animal-based iron sources is necessary for healthy iron levels. However, for vegetarians, non-heme iron sources are the only option. Fortunately, according to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Margarita Diaz wrote in 2003 that one way to increase the iron absorption of non-heme foods is to increase your consumption of foods high in ascorbic acid. This is a form of vitamin C.
Her study found that taking 25 mg of ascorbic acid with meals twice a day increased the rate of iron absorption by more than 300 percent. In the study, lime juice was used, but orange juice, grapefruit juice, red or green peppers, broccoli, and cabbage also contain ascorbic acid. Prune juice is a rich source of vitamin C, which helps the absorption of the non-heme iron it contains.
Health Benefits of Iron in Prune Juice
Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, and it can provide many health benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet. Despite the non-heme iron in prune juice, the high vitamin C content boosts absorption into the body for the production of hemoglobin.
Here are some of the ways the iron in prune juice can benefit your health:
1. Anemia Prevention: Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron consumption can help prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia, a condition characterized by low hemoglobin levels and symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and pallor.
2. Energy Production: Iron is involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary energy currency. Having an adequate supply of iron can help maintain energy levels and combat fatigue.
3. Immune System Support: Iron is essential for a healthy immune system. It helps in the proper functioning of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections and illnesses. Experimental evidence in the last few decades indicates that iron is a fundamental element for the normal development of the immune system. Its deficiency affects the capacity to have an adequate immune response.
4. Cognitive Function: Adequate iron intake is essential for proper brain function. Iron helps with the production and function of neurotransmitters, which are vital for cognitive processes, memory, and mood regulation.
5. Oxygen Transport: Iron helps transport oxygen to muscles and tissues, which is especially important during physical activity and exercise. It can improve endurance and overall physical performance.
6. Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails: Iron contributes to the health of your skin, hair, and nails, and its deficiency can lead to issues like brittle nails or hair loss. It also plays a significant role in wound healing.
7. Reducing Fatigue: Iron-deficiency anemia is often associated with fatigue and weakness. Consuming iron in cold-pressed prune juice may help alleviate these symptoms.
While prune juice is not the ultimate iron power house, its consumption can offer a range of health benefits. Iron is an essential mineral that supports the body in numerous ways, from preventing anemia and enhancing energy levels to promoting a healthy immune system and cognitive function. Incorporating prune juice into your diet can contribute to your overall iron intake. Prune juice, as part of a balanced diet, can certainly be a refreshing and nutritious addition that helps support your iron needs and overall well-being.
Note: 7 tasty and healthy juice recipes are yours when you get the free How to do a Juice Cleanse ebook! If you're interested in doing a juice cleanse, this book is a valuable resource for you. But even if you're not planning a cleanse anytime soon, the recipes alone make it worth grabbing.