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

The benefits of a well-stocked store cupboard

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 06, 2018

When you’re trying to make healthy choices around food, a little advance planning can go a long way. With a well-stocked fridge and store-cupboard and a repertoire of tasty, healthy and simple-to-prepare dishes up your sleeve, you won’t go too far wrong!


Temptation can be so hard to resist – especially when you’re feeling both tired and hungry. And that’s where healthy snacking comes into its own. Factoring in small snacks between meals can help to keep your appetite in check, your hunger satisfied, and help you to make healthier mealtime choices. Try to have a few healthy, grab-and-go options close to hand. Dried fruit – like SUNSWEET prunes - can be stashed in your desk drawer, your bag or your car’s glovebox so that you’re never too far away from a tasty treat.

Meals that Matter

Breakfast

It’s often described as the most important meal of the day. But it’s a meal that – when you’re up against it, time-wise – can all too often get skipped. Smoothies are the perfect solution for a speedy and nutrition-packed breakfast. Check out our recipe ideas for flavour combos that will suit the faddiest of eaters. And – if you’re really pushed for time – decant your smoothie into a travel cup and sip it on the run.

Lunch

Soup really is the ultimate lunch. Choose your recipe wisely and it’ll go a long way towards your 5-a-day. And, if you’ve a fussy eater in the family, soup can be buzzed super-smooth to surreptitiously deliver those nutrient-packed veggies. Why not take a look at our recipe pages? Most of our soups can be kept in the fridge for a few days or can even be frozen, for another time. Making friends with batch-cooking can be a great way to ensure that a healthy family meal is only ever a matter of minutes away.

Dinner

For mid-week meals, one-pot recipes really come into their own. You could prep the meal together, as a family, to boost that sense of connectedness. The tiniest of tots can wash veg, at the kitchen sink. And then - once your meal is prepped and popped into the oven – you’ll have a nice big chunk of quality time to enjoy together while the enticing aroma of dinner surrounds you.

Bon appetit!

Why not give prunes a go?

Did you know that prunes are surprisingly versatile? They can be used to add a nutritious boost to a variety of family meals - sweet and savoury – and their flavour adds both depth and richness. Try some of our delicious recipes!

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.

Is five-a-day still enough? When it comes to fruit and veg, more is definitely more.

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 15, 2018

With scientific studies now suggesting that five-a-day may no longer be enough, how can we ensure that our family are getting the fruit and veg that they need, for optimum health, while keeping things interesting – and tasty – at mealtimes?

Summer is a great opportunity to finally step into the sunny season with confidence, positivity and gratitude. Phew! And the perfect fuel for all of that? Delicious fruit and veg and plenty of it!

So, is five-a-day still enough?

Based on the World Health Organisation's recommendations, the five-a-day fruit and veg guidelines were introduced in 1990 with the aim of lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Almost a third of us struggle to regularly get our five-a-day. But a 12-year study, 2001 – 2013, by University College London has found that we may benefit from actually doubling-up on the official guidelines and aiming for ten portions of fruit and veg a day instead, to significantly lower the risk of premature death. The study’s lead author, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, went on record to say: “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”

Variety – the spice of a healthy life

Whether your fruit and veg is tinned, fresh, frozen or dried – like scrummy Sunsweet prunes – it all counts towards your five-a-day. Great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. And a really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose.

Did you know that just three prunes count for one of your daily portions? This is great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. A really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose. Our recipes pages have lots of inspirational breakfast, mains, salads, desert & sweet treats, salads etc ideas to help you on your way.

Seasonable Treats

With the changing of the seasons, there's something lovely about taking advantage of the natural diversity – the flavours, the textures, the scents and the colours – of seasonable foods. And it's a great way for you and your family to ring the changes at meal-times and to try lots of different foodstuffs throughout the year. Wild garlic, morels and salad staples like spring onions, watercress and rocket are all excellent at this time of the year and make superb foundations for the lighter dishes of springtime as we naturally gravitate away from winter stodge. And if you're feeling inspired by all-things seasonable, why not try growing your own?

Grow your own!

Growing your own is easier than you might think. Vegetable gardening – with a raised bed or even just a handful of pots – is a great excuse to get the whole family out into the fresh air. And eating healthful foods - that you have watched grow from seed – can help to tempt even the fussiest of eaters into trying new things. There really is something magical – for kids of all ages – in the transformation from seeds to shoots to something scrummy. Salads are a super-simple starting point. A sunny spot. Plenty of water. And you really can't go wrong.

And finally...

You can check out Sunsweet's eco credentials, here:

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.

Can you boost your chances of avoiding winter bugs?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 01, 2018

This year, is it possible to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? Maybe by getting back to basics - with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and your family a fighting chance!

So what do you reckon? Do you think it’ll be possible this year for you and your family to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? We’re not going to make any promises but maybe by getting back to basics with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise - ideally out of doors – and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and yours a fighting chance!

At this time of year, it can be tempting to set your sights high when it comes to lifestyle changes. New Year’s Resolutions can be a bit of fun. But – even if you take them seriously - they can be notoriously tricky to stick to. And who wants to kick off the New Year feeling as though they have let themselves down? A broader set of intentions around diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing may prove to be more beneficial, in the long run.

Fuelling your body with nutritious home-cooking

Life is busy. After a long day, and despite the best of intentions, it can be hard to find the motivation to eat well. It’s all too easy to grab something that’s convenient - but low in nutrition - and wind up with even lower energy levels. But that’s where just a little bit of forward planning can really come into its own. Investing a couple of hours of your time to batch cook and then freeze a range of soups and stews, for example, is an excellent way to create “ready-meals” that pack a nutritious punch. And if you have a few temptingly tasty one-pot recipes up-your-sleeve, you can prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then wrap up warm and buzz out for a quick walk while it’s cooking!

Snack wisely

Snacking is a part of modern life but it’s worthwhile remembering that not all snacks are created equal! When you’re famished, there’s nothing quicker than grabbing a handful of prunes to munch on. And did you know that prunes are a source of vitamin B6, which helps to support a healthy immune system?

Getting out into the fresh air

The weather outside may, indeed, be frightful but exercising outside is so delightful. Trust us! There’s something about bundling up and heading off for a walk on a wintry day that really helps to lift the spirits. And there’s a scientific basis for that; a combination of fresh air and the increased oxygen levels that follow exercise helps to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical.

Learning how to relax

Stress can be as bad for your body as it is for your head. But in these super-busy times, stress can feel almost inevitable. And so it’s worthwhile having a few tried and trusted techniques to hand, for when the pressure starts to mount. The evidence may be anecdotal but a link between heightened stress levels and a depleted immune system seems logical. So practice mindfulness, walk with a friend, enjoy a soak in the bath, cook a delicious meal for you and a loved one – whatever helps you to relax!

So this year, resolve to have a healthy, happy and active winter. Enjoy!

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.

A hearty winter one-pot, just perfect for cooler days.

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

You can never have too many mid-week wonders, one-pot meals up your sleeve and our Spiced Braised Beef with Chickpeas, Prunes and Kale is one such wonder! This versatile dish is sure to become a firm family favourite but spruced up with a few sophisticated sides, it makes a tasty dinner party dish, too!

Ingredients

900g beef stew meat, 1 1/2" cubes
2 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
120ml red wine
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
240ml water
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp garam masala
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
100g SUNSWEET prunes, halved
1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly sliced, thick stems removed
1 tsp red wine vinegar
800g cooked Israeli couscous, for serving

Instructions

  1. Season meat with 1 tsp salt and pepper and place in large, deep sauce pan or Dutch oven. Scatter butter, carrots and garlic on top; drizzle with olive oil. Turn heat to medium-high, cook without stirring for 12–15 minutes to sear the meat.
  2. Pour in wine, raise heat to high; cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, water, bay leaves, cinnamon, garam masala and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Lower to gentle simmer, cover and let cook, stirring occasionally for 35 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, stir in chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 1 5 minutes. Uncover, remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir in prunes, kale and vinegar. Simmer until meat is tender when pierced with a fork, 10–15 minutes.
  5. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving, allowing flavors to meld. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with couscous.

Love your bones – with a little help from Sunsweet!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, October 05, 2017

World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) takes place in October, each year. And the campaign call this year is for people, of all ages, to “Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future”. Osteoporosis is a growing problem, globally, and sufferers can be affected by an array of life-limiting symptoms. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are lots of simple steps that can be taken to help protect our bones.


Beautiful bones!

Most of us pay very little attention to our bones. And yet they provide us with strength, protect our bodies and help us carry out everyday tasks. Did you know that bones are a living tissue, continually growing and changing? They become most dense in our early twenties but then the density starts to reduce making it important to be mindful about bone health, throughout our lives.

Signs of osteoporosis

A first fracture - most commonly affecting the hips, spine or wrists – can often be one of the first signs of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in five men aged 50 years and over. The condition causes bones to weaken and thus break more easily and can lead to serious pain and even long-term disability. Following a hip fracture, for example, only 40% of survivors return to their pre-fracture walking ability and because walking is an important weight-bearing exercise – crucial for bone health – this can exacerbate the condition. In severe cases, even sudden movements – like sneezing – can start to cause problems.

Hints and tips

The WOD’s official website offers the following five tips for healthy bones and a fracture-free future:

  1. Get regular exercise: Strengthening and weight-bearing exercises – like good old walking – are excellent options.
  2. Eat well: Ensure your diet includes plenty of bone-healthy nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Snacking on nuts or dried fruit can help. And did you know that prunes contain vitamin K and manganese that - among other functions - have direct benefits for bone health?
  3. Cut out unhealthy habits: If you’re still overeating, smoking or drinking excessively, get the help you need and stop.
  4. Assess your osteoporosis risk: If it’s high, you might need prescription medication to protect you.
  5. And if you suspect that you’re high risk? Ask your doctor to run some tests so that you can get the treatment you need.

The role of prunes

Prunes provide a number of nutrients that contribute – in different ways - to bone health:

  • Vitamin K supports the maintenance of normal bones and helps with blood clotting.
  • Manganese also supports the maintenance of normal bones and helps form normal connective tissue (a structural part of bones).
  • Vitamin B6 helps make healthy blood cells and maintain normal hormone levels.
  • Copper helps support normal iron transport in the body and also helps maintain normal connective tissues.

If you’d like to know more, why not check out our Serve Up Bone Strength fact sheet?

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.

Do your bit on World Cancer Day: Because the fight against cancer isn’t over

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 16, 2017

The experts reckon that up to a third of the most common types of cancer could be prevented by taking two very simple steps. Can you really afford not to find out more? Get informed and do your bit to improve your lifestyle and reduce the risk for you and your family.

World Cancer Day

Established at the World Summit Against Cancer, in Paris, on 4 February 2000, World Cancer Day has become a truly global movement. And the main aims of the day are simple:

  • To unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer.
  • To save millions of preventable deaths, annually.
  • To raise awareness about cancer both in the media and in people’s minds.
  • To share up-to-date information about the disease, its causes and the steps that can be taken to help to prevent it.
  • To inspire individuals, health organisations and governments around the world to take action.

Cancer: The Stats

The stats on cancer make for pretty sobering reading. Worldwide, more than 8 million people die of the disease each year. Half of those – some 4 million people - are the premature deaths of people aged between 30 and 69. The number of cases of cancer is only expected to rise in the years to come.

Doing our bit

And yet despite all the stats, there are still plenty of reasons for us all to feel positive and hopeful. Research published by the organisers of World Cancer Day suggests that up to a third of the most common types of cancer could be prevented by taking two very simple steps:

  1. By having a balanced and nutritious diet thus maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. By taking regular exercise.

The role of 5-a-day

The five-a-day fruit and veg guidelines were based on World Health Organisation recommendations and introduced in 1990 with the aim of improving the health of the global population. Many of us already struggle to achieve five-a-day. And yet a study by University College London found that there could be health benefits from doubling that target. Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, the study’s author, says, “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”

The good news is that whether your fruit and veg intake is tinned, fresh, frozen or dried – like scrummy Sunsweet prunes – it all counts towards your five-a-day. And our recipe pages are chock-full of fruit and veggie-based inspiration!

Keeping active

An active lifestyle – with lots of movement throughout the day - is really important and adults should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise during an average week. But with busy lifestyles – where every moment of our week is accounted for - this can sometimes be easier said than done. With a little bit of planning, though, it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Rather than “a coffee and cake catch-up” with a friend, arrange to have a weekly “walk and talk” instead.

Make friends with one-pot meals: while they’re cooking, the entire family can get outside for a walk around the block, a spot of gardening or a high-energy kick-around. Or better still, all three!

Get-together with family and friends and book some activities that will drag you out of your comfort zone. Climbing walls, indoor skiing, jiving classes… There’s so much out there, for you to try!

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.

A step closer to healthier Snacking.

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 07, 2016

Snacking. It really is an everyday part of modern life. But, watch-out, not all snacks are created equal! So, how can you make healthy choices around the whole snacking issue and yet avoid being caught out by the convenient but calorific-loaded and nutrient-light options when the munchies strike?

The important role of healthy snacks in the diet

Overeating of any kind is likely to lead to weight gain, in the long term. And unhealthy snacks – like crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks – should certainly be limited to being just a very occasional treat. But there is compelling scientific evidence that nutritious snacks can – and indeed should – form part of a healthy balanced diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, choosing healthy snacks can help to both manage hunger, in the short-term, and reduce the likelihood of bingeing when it comes to mealtimes. But the trick is to choose snacks that can kick hunger into touch while, at the same time, be nutritionally beneficial and keep calorie counts low.

Kids' stuff

The evidence to support the positive role of snacking is even more compelling when it comes to kids. Childhood is a time when young bodies are growing rapidly, and any parent will confirm, kids shoot up fast. But children have smaller stomachs than adults meaning that they usually feel fuller quicker. According to a 2009 study by the WHO, snacking can be a good way for children to meet their extra nutritional needs and to support normal development. Why not give our Prune Energy Balls recipe a go? They're tasty,  healthy, easily-made and can last up to a week!

Trends in snacking

In today’s on-the-run society the temptation of the quick-fix convenient snack, often in the form of the nutritional bar, may appear to be just what a hungry tummy ordered. Clever advertising may suggest health values, however, nutritionists agree that not all nutritional bars are created equal! Many are high in refined sugar and can have as much saturated fat as a regular confectionary bar.

A recent Mintel report on snacking suggests that there is a growing preference for healthy food choices. And young people - the Millennial generation of 21 to 38 year olds, for example – were likely to snack for function and focus, with 39% snacking to get an energy boost. And California prunes tick lots of these boxes.

  • Sweet (Prunes contain only naturally occurring sugars, with no added sugar.)
  • Super-tasty
  • Packed with nutrients 
  • Low Glycaemic Index (GI) of 29, which means that their sugar is released relatively slowly on digestion, helping to avoid the “rush-and-slump” that can be associated with other snacks.

It makes dietary sense to have a repertoire of easily prepared snacks up your sleeve, ideally ones that can be made advance, are suitable for the whole family and can be enjoyed whenever you're on the run. Think school lunch boxes, pre or post-exercise pick-me-ups, an office 'deskfast'. Check out our Prune Energy Balls - tasty, satisfying and nutritious.

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.

The not-so-skinny on sugar

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sugar. It's something that we should all be attempting to cut back on. But does that mean that we have to cut back on fruit, too – like prunes – that make a sweet and tasty contribution towards our 5-a-day? What does the science say, are all sugars created equal?

The introduction of a sugar tax

World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommend that we eat around 25 grams of sugar each day - about 6 teaspoons. But consumption in most countries exceeds this. Currently, Western European adults consume an average of 101 grams of sugar per day ….. that’s about 25 teaspoons!

In a Euromonitor study, Germany was ranked the second-most sugar-loving nation in the world with people eating 103 grams on average. In Ireland, which ranks fourth on the list, sugar intake falls just short of 97 grams, the UK comes in seventh at 93 grams and the Italians consume 57 grams per day.

With rising obesity levels on a European and global level being blamed on an over-reliance on energy-dense foods, several countries have called for the introduction of measures to help curb the intake of sugary foods; health warnings, sales taxes, banning junk foods in schools, restrictions on advertising to children and reduced portion sizes among others.

Variations on a sugar tax have already been introduced in Denmark, France, Finland, Hungary, Mexico and India. As recently as March 2016, the British Chancellor, George Osborne, made the decision to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Moves like these have been welcomed by those with a keen professional interest in the topic. Chris Askew, for example, chief executive of Diabetes UK said: “We have been campaigning for this... as we are all consuming too much sugar."

But what's so bad about sugar?

Sugary foods and drink products that are high in refined sugars may be calorie-rich, nutrient-poor and contribute towards health issues like tooth decay and weight gain. According to advice from WHO, being overweight can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis)

So what about the naturally-occurring sugars in fruit, like prunes?

Well, prunes are simply dried plums. One plum becomes one prune, just with the water removed, so that the calorie content remains the same. They contain the same natural fructose, glucose and minimal sucrose sugar content as their fresh counterparts. Having only low levels of sucrose is a bonus because sucrose is the fruit sugar that bacteria utilise to produce harmful acids and dental plaque. Additionally, you often see sorbitol as an active anti-plaque ingredient in chewing gum. But, of course, the sorbitol that prunes contain occurs naturally!

Prunes are whole fruit so can contribute towards achieving your 5-a-day, as well as boosting your daily fibre intake. They can make a really useful addition to a healthy, balanced diet. And recent research indicates that prunes do not negatively effect weight. Because, as with all fruit, prunes appear to help with satiety - feelings of fullness - which is an important factor in controlling overeating and making healthy choices.

Common Perceptions: True or False

  • Prunes are full of sugar: False 
  • Prunes contain no added sugar. During the plum-prune drying process, sucrose is hydrolysed to glucose and fructose so prunes contain minimal sucrose: True
  • Prunes are harmful to teeth because dried fruit sticks to the teeth and increases the risk of caries (tooth decay): False 
  • Prunes contain significant sorbitol which is non cariogenic: True

Sugar-Free Month

So, what do you think, could you take the challenge to limit your intake to just naturally occurring sugars for a month? We'd love to hear how you get on. Good luck!

And why not take a moment to discover more of the nutritional facts about Sunsweet prunes, here?

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.

Love Your Bones

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Prunes and Bone Health

Bone and teeth enamel are the hardest substances in the body, so what is available to keep them healthy and strong? Many people look after their teeth by brushing daily, but what about our bones? When thinking about improving your bone health your first thought probably isn’t to reach for prunes. However research is suggesting that prunes could in fact be beneficial for bone health, due to the nutrients they provide. 

As with most dried fruit, prunes do not contain significant amounts of calcium (43mg/100g), which is commonly and correctly associated with bone health.  However, prunes do contain vitamin K and manganese that among other functions have direct benefits for bone health. Prunes are high in vitamin K, which supports the maintenance of normal bones and helps with normal blood clotting. Prunes are also a source of manganese, which supports the maintenance of normal bones, and the formation of normal connective tissues (a structural part of bones).

If that isn’t enough to get you reaching for the prunes, they contain further beneficial nutrients. Prunes are 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. Additionally, prunes are high in potassium, which helps your muscles work normally, and without our muscles we would not be able to move our bones. Prunes are a source of copper, which helps support normal iron transport in the body, helps maintain normal connective tissues (a structural part of bones), and plays a role in protecting cells within the body from oxidative damage. The human body is very complex with cells working together and separately to perform all our vital body processes and help us go about our daily lives. Our contribution to this is consuming a balanced and varied diet with adequate amounts of all essential nutrients, necessary for optimal body functions.

Our bones provide strength, support and protection to our bodies and help us carry out everyday tasks. Bones are a living tissue, which is continually growing and changing. Bones, become most dense in our early twenties, from then on the density starts to reduce (IOF 2015) so it is important to look after our bone health throughout life; to help maximise the density in childhood and then minimise the loss in adulthood. Reduction in density and quality of bone in turn increases the risk of fractures. 

"Around the world, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are at risk of an osteoporotic fracture (IOF 2015)."

Often there are no signs or symptoms of osteoporosis until the first fracture which most commonly affects the hip, spine and wrist; and risk increases with age (IOF 2015).   Fractures can affect quality of life, for example, following a hip fracture, only 40% of survivors return to their pre fracture walking ability (Sipila 2011). As walking is an important weight bearing exercise required for bone health, this may increase the risk of further fractures. 

According to Hernlund (2013), 22 million women and 5.5 million men had low bone mineral density (BMD) or osteoporosis in the EU in 2010, with almost twice as many fractures occurring in women compared to men. Hormonal changes in postmenopausal women can increase bone loss and is a major health concern (Hooshmand 2014).

"The 2010 EU costs of osteoporosis, including 5% from pharmacological intervention, were estimated at €37 billion (IOF 2015)."

We know that following a bone friendly lifestyle can help maximise bone health- that means following a diet that is balanced and varied, alongside plenty of weight bearing activity such as walking, running, gardening, dancing and house work. Prunes can make a useful contribution to your diet, together with a variety of foods including sources of calcium such as milk and dairy products, and vitamin D, from oily fish (eg salmon and mackerel), eggs and sunlight*. 

Learn More about Our Collaboration with the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)

International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)

Sunsweet are partnering with the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) as a Nutrition Sponsor to promote World Osteoporosis day. In collaboration with the IOF, we have prepared a number of PDF fact sheets which you can download from the bone health section of our website - For example our Love Your Bones brochure is filled with easy and practical bone friendly information; exercises, recipes and bone building tips for all the family.

 

Research

There are now a number of studies that have investigated the role of prunes in bone health and further research is currently being carried out to explore the mechanisms.

Strong bones help protect against osteoporosis so is there a potential link with prune consumption? Metti (2015) studied older, osteopenic, postmenopausal women who consumed 50g (5-6 prunes) or 100g (10-12 prunes) daily for 6 months (in addition to daily calcium and vitamin D supplements). The results indicate that both doses (50g and 100g) may benefit bone health by helping to slow bone loss, so this suggests that prunes are playing a role, but more research is needed to identify how prunes have this effect.  

The increasing weight of evidence suggests prunes could be an effective fruit to help maintain bone health. Choosing to consume Sunsweet Californian prunes as part of a varied and balanced, and a healthy and active lifestyle could see further benefits than you first thought.

*for more information on how to protect your skin and eyes in the sun, visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx 

References:

Hernlund E, Svedbom A, Ivergard M, Compston J, Cooper C, Stenmark J, McClosky EV, Jonsson B, Kanis JA (2013) Osteoporosis in the European Union: medical management, epidemiology and economic burden. Arch Osteoporos. 8; 136.


Hooshmand S, Brisco JRY, Arjmandi BH (2014) The effect of dried plum on serum levels of receptor activator of NF-kB ligand, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 112; 55-60.


Hooshmand S, Metti D, Kern M, Arjmandi H (2015) Dose response of dried plum on bone density and bone turnover biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women. Presented at the International Symposium on the Nutrition Aspects of Osteoporosis, June 17-20, Montreal, Canada. 


International Osteoporosis Foundation (2015) http://www.iofbonehealth.org/ 


Metti D, Shamloufard P, Cravinho A, Cuenca PD, Kern M, Arjmandi B, Hooshmand S (2015) Effects of low dose dried plum (50 g) on bone mineral density and bone biomarkers in older postmenopausal women. FASEB. 29; 738.12. 


Sipila S, Salpakoski A, Edgren J, Heinonen A, Kauppinen M, Arkela-Kautiainen M, Sihvonen S, Pesola M, RantanenT, Kallinen M (2011) Promoting mobility after hip fracture (ProMo): study protocol and selected baseline results of a year-long randomized controlled trial among community-dwelling older people. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 12: 277.

No Time to work out?

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You might not have time to go to the gym or do a fitness class, but that doesn't mean you cannot get fit. The trick is to try and bring fitness into your everyday life and disguise your exercise by doing things you enjoy. Do you like to dance, cycle, walk the dog or does vigorous housework de-stress you?   All these things are exercise – they get your heart pumping and burn calories.

So no more excuses, everyone can increase their fitness by incorporating these small changes.

Here are our top ten tips:

  1. Don't use the "I've no time to go to the gym" as an excuse. Never has home exercise been so accessible or affordable. If you have a games console already, invest in a Wii Fit or chose from one of the multitude of fitness DVD's available. Just 30 minutes 3 times a week would make a big difference to your fitness levels.
  2. Take public transport and leave the car at home. While it may mean timing your event more carefully, it saves fuel, money and is better for the environment. Also, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  3. Remember exercise does not have to mean sport. Housework, shopping or gardening can also count towards your daily exercise intake.
  4. When you encounter a stairs and an escalator side by side, chose the stairs. Yes it's easier to stand than walk but walking up stairs is a great mini workout to incorporate into your daily routine.
  5. When going to the cinema, shopping centre or any other place with a large car park, make a habit of parking furthest from the door. In the time spent looking for the "optimum" spot near the door, you will have already walked across the car park and had a little fresh air and exercise.
  6. Walk! It's free, healthy, weight bearing and can be done anywhere. You don't need special equipment other than sensible walking shoes or runners and can take place from right outside your front door.
  7. Don't waste your precious time going to an expensive gym on the edge of town. Find a local class near you by looking at the list of events in your local community centre or church hall.   As well as getting fit, you may even get to know some of your neighbours as you salsa, step or zumba together.
  8. Find a fitness buddy. Instead of catching up with friends over a coffee, tie those laces, put on those jackets and walk and talk.
  9. Forget the car for short journeys - make a habit of walking to your local shop, school or friend's house.
  10. Create more time. If you truly feel that you have no extra time for exercise, then create some!  Get up a half an hour earlier, or turn off your television in the evening for a half an hour or make a decision to go to bed a little later after your evening walk.