- PRUNES, the age-old relief for constipation, were yesterday hailed a
superfruit with amazing powers to combat cancer and heart disease.
- Researchers reckon they could be more
than twice as effective as any other fruit or vegetable in fighting killer
- And last night top dietician Lucy Daniels
said: "It now seems wise to have four prunes with breakfast."
- US experts in Boston found that the famed
wrinklies, a favourite of supermodel Caprice and ex-Baywatch beauty Alexandra
Paul, have very high levels of antioxidants. The body needs these to mop
up free radicals which can cause cancer and heart disease.
- The researchers measured fruit and veg
for their oxygen radical absorbency capacity.
- This calculates the ability of foods
to soak up the radicals.
- Prunes scored 5770 units per 100 grams
on the ORAC scale.
- Raisins, their nearest rival, were way
back on 2830.
- And apples, the fruit that keeps the
doctor away, got a mere 210.
- Lucy, of the British Dietetic Association,
said: "We will watch this scoring technique with interest.
- "We recommend five portions of fruit
and veg a day, but we would certainly not advise five portions of prunes
- "Antioxidants are the good guys
and can combat the free radical baddies, produced by the body and enhanced
- "So if prunes score this highly,
then that's great."
- Tests on prune eaters showed that their
anti-oxidant powers rose by up to a quarter.
- Dr Ronald Prior, who led the study at
Tufts University's Human Research Centre on Ageing, said: "If you
ate prunes you would double or treble the levels in the blood compared
to eating fruits lower down the table.
- "People could be eating a lot of
fruit, but taking in relatively low levels of ORAC."
- Tests on rats also showed that such foods
may help beat memory loss.
- Dr Prior said: "If these findings
are borne out in further research, people may be able to reduce the risk
of ageing simply by adding high-ORAC fruits to their diets."
- Prunes are rich in fibre, Vitamin A,
iron, potassium and fat-free.
- They are also said to be one of the most
- Sales of prunes rose eight per cent last