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We regularly publish some great healthy living tips, new recipes and other Prune tidbits on our blog

Simple steps to boost your bone health

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, October 01, 2020

October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day. Incredibly, some one in three women and one in five men will be affected by the disease during their lifetimes. Osteoporosis has a weakening effect on the bones and it can lead to painful fractures and even to severe disability. Organised by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), World Osteoporosis Day launches a rolling, year-long programme of activity to raise awareness of the condition and effect positive change for sufferers.

Maintaining strong and healthy bones, throughout your lifetime, is an excellent foundation for enjoying an active lifestyle well into old age. And simple steps like combining a good diet with weight-bearing exercise can help to boost bone health – whatever your age – and reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis in later life.

According to the IOF, micronutrients are substances - with ongoing research into their benefits – that can be important in maintaining bone health. The IOF actually recommend snacking on prunes because they are high in micronutrients, Vitamin K. And, on our website, we have recipes for some truly scrumptious prune-related treats. By tucking into delicious goodies like Prune Cookies, Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicles and Prune Parfait, you'll be doing your tummy and your tastebuds a favour, as well as your bones!

Steps can be taken to prevent osteoporosis and the IOF, on the World Osteoporosis Day website, offer the following top tips for building strong bones:

  • Regular exercise
  • Bone healthy nutrients
  • Avoid negative lifestyle habits
  • Identify your risk factors
  • Take osteoporosis medicine if prescribed

On the Sunsweet website – where you'll find the recipes for those super-tempting treats that we mentioned earlier - we have a section dedicated entirely to prunes and bone health. There really is a wealth of information including hints and tips for boosting bone strength and some important pointers from the IOF. Did you know, for example, that a 10% increase in peak bone mineral density - an indicator of strength - could delay the development of osteoporosis by up to 13 years?

From the Prunes and Bone Health section of our website, you can download informative and yet simple-to-read whitepapers on the following topics:

And, on the 8th October, we are delighted to be featuring an exclusive blog about the topic – appropriately entitled “Love Your Bones!”. The blog is certain to be an informative and enjoyable read so do make sure that you check it out.

PS: Don't forget to grab a few extra packs of those delicious Sunsweet prunes on your next shop, too!

Vegetarian Tortillas

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Had your fill of soggy sandwiches and paltry pastries? In the market for something fresh and flavoursome and perfectly portable? Bid farewell to boring lunch-time fayre and give our yummy Vegetarian Tortillas a go. At your desk. As part of a springtime picnic. They'll liven up your lunch-time, wherever you choose to eat them!

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado 
3-4 tablespoons of hot chilli sauce
Zest of ½ organic lemon
Salt
¼ head iceberg lettuce (approx. 150 g green leaves)
1 celery stick
4 soft tortilla wraps (58 g each)
200 g low fat cottage cheese 
200 g Sunsweet prunes

Instructions

  1. Chop iceberg lettuce into thin slices, wash and shake dry. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and spoon out the avocado meat. Mash avocado with a fork. Add hot chilli sauce and lemon zest and mix well. Season with salt. Clean and wash celery and cut lengthwise into very thin slices.
  2. Spread first the avocado mixture, then the cottage cheese on the tortilla wraps. Coat half of the wrap with iceberg lettuce. Place the prunes and celery lengthwise on the wrap. Roll up the wrap very tightly and cut diagonally in half.

Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

It’s the perfect time of year to establish those healthy foundations that will help you to sail through the winter. But if you're concerned about your resolve and motivation for regular exercise slipping, why not get a group of friends and family together, with social distancing as is comfortable for all of you, and get moving?

Having the support of friends and family is a very strong motivator to lacing up those runners and to get going! Not only is being sociable written into our DNA but studies have found that exercising with a friend is more fun, helps you to stay in shape and gets you out of the house. A study of 1000 women found that 31 per cent consider their friends to be the motivation they need to stay in shape! And, what’s more, there can be a lot of truth in the cliché, “Friends and Families who play together, stay together”. So, when you consider the stats about how much more motivating it is to exercise with a buddy or two, it really does make sense to get a posse together. It’s all good - No excuse!

Four tips to getting a posse of friends together!

  1. Get sociable and start to recruit your motivator posse
  2. The school gates. The office. The gym. Your friends on Social media. These are all rich sources for members of your gang. In fact, anywhere is. Be inclusive. Ask people to invite a friend. And a friend of a friend. When it comes to your posse going, the more, the merrier!

  3. Get creative and brainstorm ideas for trips out and activities
  4. Perhaps there's a park near you, with a walking trail. (Tea room a bonus!). Zumba class, swimming, Yoga, boot camp, lunchtime or evening brisk walk, hiking, cycling, dance classes, Pilates. Or what about staging an old fashioned sports day in the local park? Rounders. Egg and spoon races. Tag. All excellent fun, whatever your age.

  5. Get picnicking
  6. There's something so scrumptious about food eaten out of doors, when you've done a bit of exercise to work up a healthy appetite! Check out our recipes pages for yummy and portable, prune-related ideas.

  7. Get planning
  8. When are you going to meet? Every month? Every fortnight? Every week? Get some dates in the diary. Make sure that you're all committed to sticking to those dates. After all, a few spots of rain never hurt anybody!

Carpe Diem

Autumn is the perfect time of the year to establish some solid foundations – around diet and exercise and all-round healthy living – that will help to see you glide, effortlessly and healthily, through the long, winter months ahead. What’s more, there are often a few quieter weeks to be savoured, in the Autumn - a welcome little breathing space between the stresses and strains of our summer travels and the coming chaos of all-things Christmas.

So, with a little help and motivation from our friends, the perfect time is right now to, Seize the Moment!

Granola Muesli Bars

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, August 04, 2020

There are times – throughout a busy week - when only a sweet treat will do. Packed full of nutritious goodies, like dried fruit and nuts, our Granola Muesli Bars are no ordinary sweet treat. With a cuppa or glass of milk, the bars are a scrummy pick-me-up. And they're perfect for breakfast on-the-run. Ring the changes - with different fruit and nut combos - to create firm, family favourites.

Ingredients

100 g brown sugar 
50 g honey 
150 g soft butter
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
200 g California prunes
60 g dried apricots
200 g crunchy oat flakes
100 g granola  
100 g nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
Salt

Instructions

  1. Beat sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy. Gently stir egg, 1 pinch of salt and the cinnamon into the mixture. Chop prunes and apricots coarsely and fold together with oat flakes, granola, and nuts into the butter-egg mixture.
  2. Spread the mixture on a lined baking tray and bake in oven at 190° C (convection oven at 170° C) for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into bars. Wrap individually in parchment paper or in plastic foil. 

Prunes: Your Great Hack to Reducing Your Sugar Intake

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, March 11, 2020
As humans we’re programmed to crave high calorie foods – the survival of our ancestors depended on it. The human body evolved to make the most of high energy sweet foods when they were available, storing the excess energy for when we needed it most. These days we no longer have to hunt and gather like our ancestors (although we’ve got some great  paleo recipes for anyone who follows this diet!), and we’re lucky enough not to have to worry about lengthy periods of food scarcity.  But our bodies still love and crave those sugary foods which too often we don’t convert to energy and instead store in our bodies as fat. 
 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults limit their sugar intake to 25 grams per day – about 6 teaspoons. However, it’s easy to exceed that amount each day – depending on how you start your day you might reach your limit before you leave the breakfast table! In fact, the average consumption for adults in Western Europe is just over 100 grams of sugar, that’s about 25 teaspoons. And while you might think you limit your sugar to the teaspoon you add to your favourite cuppa, there is often sugar hidden in processed foods. 

Aside from the obvious effects of sugar such as tooth decay and weight gain, there are other ways it can impact your health. According to WHO being overweight can increase the risk of: 
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis) 
So how can you square those sugar cravings with the need for a healthy balanced diet? Enter your great hack – the humble but amazing prune! A prune is a dried plum, with no added sugar and contains vitamin B6, manganese and copper which all support normal release of energy from foods. Prunes can also help you achieve your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables. And studies have shown that because they help you to feel full (satiety) they’re a healthy choice to help control overeating.  They make a great addition to your kid’s lunch box – resist the urge to pack a biscuit as a treat and pop in a few prunes instead! A bag of prunes in the car or your gym bag can help you to avoid the temptation to buy sugary treats at the petrol station or after working out, and serve as a great energy source to keep you going throughout your day.



If you love cooking and baking you’ll find prunes could be your new favourite secret ingredient. You can use prunes to reduce the amount of free sugars in baking recipes. Or whip up a batch of prune puree – you can use it to reduce the total sugar content of your favourite recipe! You can even use prune purée as a substitute for butter – great for reducing the fat in your diet and for vegan recipes. Instead of serving up a bowl of cereal loaded with hidden sugars, why not start your day with a nourishing bowl of Fruity Porridge? For an afternoon treat, these Prune Muffins made with prune puree are low fat and full of fibre. Our website has lots of recipes, sweet and savoury, if you’re stuck for inspiration. 

Sunsweet® Prunes and Prune Juice are dried plums from California. Prunes have a low GI-score, meaning they slowly release energy so they shouldn’t dramatically affect blood sugar or insulin levels. In addition, both prunes and prune juice contain fibre. Prunes have 7.1grams per 100grams – about a quarter of your daily needs. 

Our farmers still do the gathering that our ancestors once did. They harvest the plumpest, juiciest Californian plums which are dried as prunes or made into prune juice. So next time you’re at the supermarket, hunt down a packet of delicious SUNSWEET Prunes and a carton of refreshing SUNSWEET Prune Juice! 

Prunes and prune juice can be enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. For detailed information on the nutrition content of prunes and prune juice please visit our products page.

The Top 6 Questions We’re Asked About Prunes

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Everything you ever wanted to know about prunes – and, quite possibly, a little bit more besides - all in one place! Check out our official, super-informative Q&A on all things Sunsweet prune-related. The Top 6 Questions We’re Asked About Prunes.

  1. Are prunes gluten-free?
  2. Reports suggest that – for a whole host of reasons - as many as one in four of us are now attempting to live gluten free. Gluten is the protein that is found in grains like wheat. And with things like bread, pasta and cereal being such a staple of everyday meal planning, going gluten free isn’t easy. But the good news? All fruit is naturally gluten free and so a serving of prunes or a glass of prune juice can be enjoyed whenever you like. You can even add them to your favourite coeliac-friendly recipes to give them a sweet and fruity twist.

  3. Are prunes suitable for people with diabetes?
  4. Experts recommend that to keep blood sugar levels steady, we aim for a diet with an overall GI of 50 or less. But, happily, that doesn’t mean that sweet and tasty snacks like Sunsweet prunes are a no-no. Harvard Medical School found that the GI of pitted prunes is around 29 making them a low-GI fruit that doesn't dramatically affect blood sugar and insulin levels.

  5. Do prunes contain sugar?
  6. Prunes contain no added sugar. They are simply dried plums: one plum becomes one prune, just with the water removed. During the plum-prune drying process, sucrose is hydrolysed to glucose and fructose so prunes contain minimal sucrose. And prunes are classed as whole fruit so they can contribute towards achieving your 5-a-day, as well as boosting your daily fibre intake.

  7. What effect do prunes have on the digestive system?
  8. For centuries, prunes – and prune juice - have been associated with good digestive health. But now there are scientific findings to support that association, too. Research has shown that - when 100g of prunes are eaten daily, as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle – they can assist with normal bowel function just as much as fibre supplements. In fact, prunes should be considered as a first line therapy when it comes to maintaining a healthy bowel.

  9. What is the connection between prunes and strong bones?
  10. Research suggests that prunes, due to the nutrients they provide, could be beneficial for bone health. Prunes contain vitamin K and manganese that - among other functions - have direct benefits for bone health. Prunes are also a source of vitamin B6 which helps make healthy blood cells in our bone marrow and maintain normal hormone levels including those involved in bone health.

  11. And, our favourite, just how exactly does a plum become a prune?
  12. It’s simple, really. Sunsweet prunes are a special variety of sun-ripened plums that have been dried to remove some of the water. A variety with an exceptionally high sugar content, these "Improved French" variety of plums give Sunsweet prunes their distinctively delicious taste; rich and fruity with notes of creamy vanilla. The dried fruit contains similar levels of nutrients – such as fibre - to fresh plums, while offering the added benefit of year-round availability and a long shelf life.

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Dietary Fibre 101

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 20, 2020

What exactly is fibre? Why does the body - every body - need it? What happens to our body if we don’t get enough of it? And how can we ensure that we keep getting plenty of it? Read on for everything you - and your family - need to know about dietary fibre.

Our Dietary Fibre 101

OK. We admit that as health topics go, dietary fibre - and the role that it can play in contributing towards a healthy and normally functioning body – is far from being a glamorous one. And yet, dietary fibre is an important health topic. With a seemingly endless increase of pressure on our time and the proliferation of quick, convenient and very nutrient-poor meals, many of us simply do not get enough fibre from the food we eat on a regular basis.

But what is dietary fibre?

In a nutshell, dietary fibre is the tiny parts of things like cereal, vegetables and fruit that cannot be digested in the small intestine. Instead, this dietary fibre passes further along in the digestive system before most of it gets broken down by bacterial action in the colon. Increasing dietary fibre – as part of a healthy and balanced diet - can help to soften stools, making them easier to pass and helping to keep the complex cogs of the digestive system moving!

If you would like a more detailed understanding of how the digestive system works then our 'whistle stop tour of the digestive system' will be of interest to you.

And it seems that fibre has an even more crucial role to play, too. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) reckon that dietary fibre is protective against bowel cancer. Around 12% of bowel cancers in the UK are linked to eating insufficient fibre, less than 23 grams a day.

Types of dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is typically divided into two groups:

  1. Insoluble Fibre:

    This is made up of the skins of fruits, the stalks and leaves of vegetables and the husks and hard coats of seeds. Insoluble fibre is more slowly broken down and its bulk helps with the evacuation of stools.

  2. Soluble Fibre:

    This is more completely fermented in the colon, it retains fluid, softening the stools and making them easier to pass.

Many plant components contain both soluble and insoluble components of dietary fibre. For example, the skins of prunes are composed of insoluble fibre and the pulp and juice are composed of soluble fibre

Dealing with constipation

If you do become constipated, it is even more important than ever to aim for at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Fibre-packed dried fruits and natural, unsweetened juices can both count towards this target. Just three prunes a day count for one of your ‘5-a-day’ portions!

Highly processed foods are best avoided as these tend to be higher in fat, salt and sugar and are often lower in fibre. Get into the home-cooking habit. Our recipe pages are a great place to look, for healthy inspiration.

The role of fluids

To help to keep things moving, digestively-speaking, it’s important to make sure that you drink plenty of fluid. If you’re actively taking steps to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, be sure to increase the amount of fluid that you drink, too. The body is super-efficient at extracting fluid from the colon when it is needed for bodily functions. And even slight dehydration can lead to harder stools that are more difficult to pass. Six to eight glasses of fluid a day - water or diluted fruit juices are good choices – is a useful rule of thumb.

If you’d like to find out more about the role of dietary fibre – especially if you suffer from IBS with constipation – please do take a look at our booklet. It’s packed with expert hints and tips:

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Prune Juice: the Tasty, Versatile Juice

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 13, 2020
Prune juice is great as a sweet, velvety drink anytime of day, no matter what age you are. Naturally fat and salt-free,* prune juice is great as a drink on its own, but can be used as an ingredient in smoothies, savoury sauces and desserts. Apart from its sweet and slightly tart taste, it has nutritional benefits that can contribute to you and your family’s balanced diet. 

 

Naturally Sweet Tasting with no Additives

Prune juice is made from high quality, sun-dried California prunes, which undergo a unique harvesting process that helps make the prunes juicier and sweeter. Sunsweet prune juice has no added sugar or other additives. Its distinctive dark colour is entirely natural and it has no nasty additives like acidity regulators or flavourings. 

It is naturally fat-free - great if you’re trying to reduce your intake of saturated fat. Reducing saturated fat consumption helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels. 

And because it’s naturally salt-free – this helps reduce sodium consumption which can help maintain normal blood pressure. And while all fruit juices are naturally free from salt and fat, unlike most other fruit juices, prune juice also contains fibre. Few other fruit juices contain meaningful amounts of fibre as it is often lost during the juicing process. So although insoluble fibre is removed after juicing, soluble fibre remains in the juice. 

In addition, prune juice contains sorbitol. Sorbitol is a polyol, or complex carbohydrate, which acts like a sponge – it attracts and holds water in the bowel. Not all of the sorbitol consumed is digested, which is what makes it useful. All of this and it tastes great too! Which means that everyone in the family can enjoy a glass with breakfast, or as a sweet treat during the day.

Drinking Tip #1: Prune juice is great as a smoothie ingredient. If you have a blender or smoothie maker, download our free smoothie recipe booklet. Or get creative and come up with your own combinations. If you’re social savvy, why not share the love and post it on our Facebook or Instagram page? We love seeing new creations our followers concoct with our prune juice goodness!


Prune Juice and Potassium

Prune juice’s other nutritional benefit might be less familiar to most people. Like all juices it is naturally salt and fat free, but when it comes to nutritional benefits it has an edge over other juices. 

For example, prune juice is a good source of potassium which helps support normal blood pressure and a healthy nervous system. It also helps your muscles to work normally. Its rich, velvety taste makes it a naturally sweet way to include more of this nutrient in your diet. It’s the perfect post-workout refreshment as potassium can be lost when we sweat!

Drinking tip #2: Some people like to add ice cubes to a glass of prune juice, but it’s delicious simply served chilled from the fridge. 

Make Prune Juice your Go-To Secret Ingredient for Delicious Dishes

We have lots of great recipes which include prune juice and will appeal to even to the pickiest of eaters. Kids of all ages will love our Prune and Orange Pancakes and fluffy cloud-like Baked Prune Whip

Prune juice can be used as an ingredient in smoothies which are great as a snack or for breakfast on the run. More organised breakfast-makers will love Roz Purcell’s overnight Prune Bircher recipe, just five minutes to prepare the night before and you’ll leap out of bed in the morning!

If you prefer savoury to sweet, you’ll find that prune juice is great as an addition to sauces and salad dressings. Chicken Lettuce Wrap with Asian Prune Sauce balances the tart-sweet prune juice flavour with soy sauce and rice vinegar. 

Or you can keep it simple and drink a glass of chilled prune juice straight from the fridge. However you decide to include prune juice in your day, it is one drink that just might keep you smiling on the inside too. 

*like all juices.


Prunes and prune juice can be enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. For detailed information on the nutrition content of prunes and prune juice please visit our products page.

Our Beetroot Carpaccio with Fried Bacon Prunes makes a pretty starter!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 13, 2020

When it comes to entertaining, it’s handy to have a trick or two up your sleeve. Our Beetroot Carpaccio with Fried Bacon Prunes is more of an assembly job than a recipe – but it couldn’t look prettier and more impressive on the plate! Make sure you slice the beetroot finely and cook the bacon till it has a bit of crunch. The contrasting textures will combine to create a super-tasty starter.

Ingredients


125 g kitchen-ready small-leaved lamb’s lettuce
500 g precooked skinned beetroot
Freshly ground black pepper
150 g Feta
7-8 slices of bacon (125 g) (alternative: Pancetta)
100 g Sunsweet prunes
50-60 ml lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Wash lamb’s lettuce, thoroughly drip dry. Cut beetroot into wafer-thin slices, place on 4 large plates and sprinkle with a little pepper. Put lamb’s lettuce around the edges of beetroot. Crumble Feta over this.
  2. Cut bacon into 2 cm wide pieces. Halve prunes. Fry bacon in a coated pan at medium heat without adding any fat until light brown and slightly crunchy. Remove pan from stove. Add prunes, briefly stir fry and heat. Immediately spread everything with the exuded fat and arrange widely on the beetroot and lamb’s lettuce. Sprinkle with lemon juice and immediately serve.

Tip: Ciabatta or wheat bread goes well with this.

Refining: additionally sprinkle salad with Crema di Balsamico balsamic vinegar, if necessary also instead of lemon juice.

Flavourful Quinoa Prune Tabbouleh

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 06, 2020

Our Flavourful Quinoa Prune Tabbouleh may have the humble spud running scared! Beautiful to look at. Extremely versatile. And full of flavour as its name suggests. It’s a super tasty light lunch or a side dish to liven up the very dullest of suppers; a wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire. What's not to love?!

Ingredients

300 g quinoa
2 red onions 
250 g cherry tomatoes 
1 cucumber 
100 g California prunes 
1 avocado
2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley 
1 bunch of mint 
10 tbsp. olive oil 
8 tbsp. lemon juice 
1 tsp. cumin 
Salt & pepper 

Instructions

  1. Wash quinoa thoroughly under running water for 2 minutes and then drain. Place in a saucepan with 600 ml of water, add salt and bring to the boil. Simmer over low heat for approximately 15 minutes until quinoa grains break open and swell. Quinoa is al dente even when cooked. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, then serve.
  2. Peel onions and cut into strips, dice tomatoes and halve cucumber, remove seeds and slice. Dice prunes and avocado. Wash and chop parsley and mint. Stir olive oil together with lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper until smooth. Add quinoa and other ingredients. Let rest for about 20 minutes and serve.