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

Boost your happiness and wellbeing by spreading some Gratitude. It’s scientifically proven!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 23, 2018

Super simple ways to significantly – and sustainably - boost your happiness levels and enhance your physical and emotional wellbeing, in the process. Read on for research-based evidence about accentuating the positive and getting grateful. Start small and – before you know it – you'll have a whole heap of happy!

Start loving the Gratitude!

The Spring can be a great time for an overhaul. A chance to rid ourselves – once and for all - of the old habits that no longer serve us and to embrace some healthy, new ones. Habits like acknowledging events - like Mother's Day and Easter - and commemorating them, in a way that feels meaningful to you. Habits like celebrating successes large and small. Habits like noticing the positives, however tiny they may be, and expressing gratitude for them. And there's research-based evidence about the value – from both an emotional and a physical point of view – for making these super-simple step changes to your everyday habits.

The Science of Celebration

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), at the University of Berkeley, offers up some compelling reasons for all of us to get into the gratitude habit. Because according to Juliana Breines, writing on the organisation's website, happiness research – spanning some 20 years – has one key message for us all: give thanks.

After analysing the results of countless scientific studies, the GGSC found that developing an attitude of gratitude can, amongst other things:

  • have a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing and on our relationships
  • reduce our likelihood of becoming depressed
  • increase our resilience when faced with life's many and inevitable challenges

Grumbling and thinking negatively can, all too easily, become a habit. If you look at the messages that we're bombarded with - from the myriad 24/7 news channels, for example - the vibe is predominantly downbeat. But there's no need to panic. The GGSC have come up with four simple tips that should help you to cultivate a healthy sense of gratitude, no matter what life throws at you!

Get Grateful: In 4 Simple Steps

  1. Count your blessings

    Remember that even on the very worst of days, something positive will have happened. Spend a few minutes jotting down these good things, however small or insignificant they may seem. According to a study by the Positive Psychology Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, “completing this exercise every day for one week led to increases in happiness that persisted for six months”. Impressive stuff!

  2. Mental subtraction

    Without stressing yourself out too much in the process … imagine that something you currently have is gone. Applied to possessions, to jobs and even to people, this simple trick alone might be just enough to make you appreciate those things and to stop taking them for granted!

  3. Savour

    In their book, “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience”, Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff extol the virtues of a regular “Savoring Walk”. Walking for just 20 minutes, on your own, every week and paying hyper-close attention to the sights, smells and so on of your surroundings can – the authors found - have a positive effect on your happiness levels, a full week later.

  4. Say “Thank You”

    Really, could it get much more simple than that? And just imagine the warm glow that the recipients of your gratitude will experience, too. Now, that's what we call a win-win.

Reasons to feel grateful – think prunes!

And while we're feeling celebratory and expressing gratitude for the small things, let's hear it for the prunes!

Prunes; A super-quick and fruity snack. A rich, indulgent note in an elaborate feast. And lots of things in-between. Convenient, natural and a wonderfully versatile addition to a range of dishes, both sweet and savoury - really do deserve a dollop of gratitude.

So, we've acknowledged that prunes are delicious but did you know that they're actually pretty good for you, too? Follow the link to discover even more reasons for you to be grateful for Sunsweet prunes!

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.

Summertime and the living is easy

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer weekends are a brilliant opportunity for catching up and chilling out. There’s one very simple trick that you can have up your sleeve, to ensure that you have as much fun during your get-togethers as your guests: advance planning!


Keep your menu simple

A showstopper dish – like a marinated whole chicken or a side of salmon with a herby crust - can be put in the oven and left to its own devices. And then around an hour before your meat or fish is ready, pop some baby new potatoes into the oven, too. Keep the potatoes whole and unpeeled and toss them in oil, herbs - rosemary works well – and a little sea-salt. Simple and delicious.

Enlist help

Guests often ask if they can bring something to gatherings so don’t be too shy to answer, “yes, please!”. Give each guest a theme, for a salad, and leave them to it. A green salad, maybe, or something tomato-based or involving mixed beans. You could even ask them to bring a fruit salad, for pudding. And – if they’re stuck - you can always signpost them to our recipe pages, for inspiration!

Keep everyone moving

A great way to break the ice at summer events – especially when there are little people involved – is to ask each family to share their favourite outdoor game idea. Tag. Hide and Seek. Pretty much anything involving bubbles or balloons. The fun factor will be boosted instantly. You’ll all work up an appetite for that yummy, healthy meal. And the kids will have bonded well enough to continue the fun, after the food, while the adults enjoy a well-deserved rest.

When it comes to summer celebrations, prunes are something of an unsung hero. And yet they can add a fruity scrumptiousness to a range of dishes and drinks. For sweet and savoury nibbles, think prunes baked with chorizo or – even simpler – flavoured mixed nuts (most supermarkets stock an interesting selection) combined with chopped prunes. As part of a fruity marinade or BBQ sauce, prunes add a rich flavour that complements a range of meat and fish and livens up grilled veggie kebabs. Prunes make a zingy addition to salads – both savoury and sweet. The fruit is the perfect partner for choc-themed puds – prune brownies, anyone? And prune juice makes a fabulously flavourful base for a range of drinks from smoothies to mocktails, from fruity cocktails that are strictly for the grown-ups to refreshing frozen treats that the whole family will love.

Our recipe pages are full of ideas for you to follow or be inspired by. And our comprehensive guide to entertaining is packed full of tips to help your summer celebrations sparkle!

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.

Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

Posted by Sunsweet - Friday, June 08, 2018

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?

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!

Make friends with technology

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 19, 2018

In the last decade, our use of the internet has skyrocketed. It’s been blamed for many things including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. And yet it remains a significant part of our everyday lives despite all of the negative and downright fear-mongering headlines. But can technology actually have a role to play, in helping us to create balanced, happy and healthy lives?

Despite being a huge part of modern lives, the online world often gets a bad rap. If you believe what you read in the press, we’ve replaced couch potato habits for mouse potato habits – equally sedentary and unhealthy - and spend every spare moment surfing the net. Social media – in all its iterations - has been blamed for poor body image and low self-esteem across the entire range of demographic groups. And there seems to be a grain of truth behind the fear.

In England alone, according to the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, people now spend twice as much time online compared with 10 years ago and it would be safe to assume that it is a similar story all across Europe. Much of that time, of course, is spent immobile. And stats from the medical journal, The Lancet, suggest that inadequate exercise is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year. Sobering stuff.

But is there a silver lining to the techno cloud?

At its very best, the internet offers a diverse resource of up-to-date, educational material that is both entertainingly written and accessible. Much of it is absolutely free. And our blog, of course, is an excellent example! Whether you choose apps or websites, social media or online newsletters, there’s lots of content out there to support you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Check out our top 3 techno tips, be selective and get informed.

  1. Newsletters – Choose reputable sources

    Sign up to a couple of lifestyle-related online newsletters. Choose ones from trusted sources, that cover topics that interest you – info overload is not our goal, here – and get inspired with everything from recipes for healthy and speedy mid-week dinners to tips on keeping active, whatever the time of year.

  2. Workout Videos Online

    Don't let good habits around physical activity slip. It’s far better to maintain an exercise programme throughout the year so that it becomes just another part of your daily routine, something that’s as automatic as brushing your teeth. And this is another area where technology can be your ally. Whatever form of exercise you enjoy – from boxercise to yogalates – you’ll be sure to find an online workout that floats your boat. Bung a one-pot-wonder into the oven – remember to keep things healthy! – and, while it cooks, pop on your workout video of choice and get moving.

  3. Monitoring Fitness Progress

    Whether it’s monitoring your daily calorie intake with sophisticated food diaries, tracking your levels of physical activity, learning relaxation techniques like mindfulness or even keeping an eye on your menstrual cycle, there’s an app for that! Speaking to Fox News, Scott Snyder – an innovator in the field – said, “The ultimate goal of most of these apps is to change behaviour. Small changes are a big overall win for health.” We couldn’t agree more!

As with most things, getting a good balance is crucially important. Everything in moderation – including technology – and you won’t go far wrong!

Looking for more inspiration? Why not check out our Healthy Living Guide?

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.

Keep it up – you’re doing great!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, September 07, 2017

As the Summer season draws - very firmly - to a close, there’s one crucially important task to undertake, to lay good foundations for the months ahead. And the nature of that task? To discover a way to keep motivated around healthy living and fitness regimes throughout the autumn and winter.


The great outdoors

With the onset of darker and colder and wetter nights, it’s hardly surprising that outdoor activities can all too quickly lose their appeal. There are a few ways around that, though, if you think creatively enough!

  • When the weather is changeable, flexibility is key. Rather than planning an outing for a specific day and time, if the weather’s dry, get yourself out there – even if it’s just for a brisk walk around the block while your one-pot dinner is cooking.
  • Instead of a midweek meal or a movie to catch up with friends, why not schedule a regular weekend walk-and-talk?
  • If you invest in some decent, weather-proof gear, a few showers won’t be able to derail your plans. And you could even flask up some hearty, homemade soup for a spot of autumnal alfresco dining!

Indoor activities that won’t break the bank

Gym membership – or even enlisting the services of a personal trainer – can prove to be money well-spent. But, with our increasingly busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to make a regular commitment to a class or a session. And there are lots more cost-effective ways to get the health benefits of physical activity.

From weights routines to rope skipping, from speedy sessions to month-long challenges, you’ll find a plethora of workouts – the vast majority of them being completely free of charge – on-line. YouTube and exercise apps are excellent starting points, for whatever floats your particular fitness boat. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the array of options but – equally - you’d certainly be hard-pushed to ever feel bored!

Reaping the benefits

All forms of exercise – especially if sessions are regular and of moderate intensity – have significant benefits for health. According to the NHS, exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Inside and out

Did you know that getting the outside of your body moving tends to get things moving on the inside, too?

A gentle walk after your main meal is a great habit to get into as it encourages the circulation of blood and oxygen around the body helping to keep things moving inside as you move gently outside. Even if you have no other exercise planned for the day, why not try to include at least a 30 minute walk after lunch or dinner?

Your digestion will thank you for it!

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.

Prunes – the surprising star of the kitchen!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 16, 2017

There’s nothing humble about prunes. In fact, when it comes to stocking up on convenient, long-life and yet completely natural foodstuffs, prunes deserve to take pride of place on your shopping list.

The fruits are surprisingly versatile. They can be enjoyed by the handful, straight from the pack. They can be whizzed – either on their own or with ingredients like cocoa powder and ground nuts – to make super-tasty toast-toppers. They can be used to lend sweetness and depth to the flavour of your family’s favourite fruit smoothies. And they can also make a delicious and nutritious addition to a range of more elaborate dishes, both sweet and savoury.

Healthier Treats

As we all know, a life without treats is a life that’s, well, a little bit miserable! So it’s good to know that prunes can make a sweet and tasty foundation for a range of healthier nibbles. Trail mix – combining nuts and seeds and dried fruit – couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Prunes can be added to baked family favourites, like flapjack, to boost their nutritional value. And did you know that prunes can even be used to replace the sugar and fats in recipes for bakes? Tests by the California Prune Board – that swapped refined sugar for prune puree in a range of recipes – reduced the overall sugar content by up to 35%. And prune puree can be used as a replacement for butter, too. The fruit – with its caramelized flavour and overtones of vanilla - lends itself particularly well to chocolate recipes. Just swap the butter for prune puree - weight for weight - and enjoy!

Super Savouries

Sunsweet prunes have a delicious fruitiness that enhances many other flavours. They are a classic complement to a range of meat dishes – delicious with pork and perfect with game, for example – and they can add texture, moistness and a depth and richness of flavour. Combined with teriyaki sauce in a marinade, prune juice helps to transform ribs into melt-in-the-mouth scrumminess. And prunes are a useful addition to that staple of every family’s meal-time repertoire: the mid-week one-pot supper. Think Spicy Squash Soup with Chorizo and Prunes. Think Beef Stew with seasonable root veg and flavourful prunes. Simply delicious!

Whether you’re looking for a super-quick snack, an elaborate feast, or something in-between, prunes are an excellent starting point. There are lots of ways to include delicious and nutritious Sunsweet prunes - and their juice - in your everyday diet. So why not keep a pack or two handy, in the store cupboard?

Feeling inspired? Why not get creative in the kitchen and try some of our delicious recipe ideas?

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.

It’s Spring – and there’s a sense of celebration in the air!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Don’t forget that the clocks change on the 26th March. What better excuse is there to burst out of hibernation, to shake off the very last dregs of winter sluggishness and to spring forward with confidence and positivity and gratitude?

There really is something so special about the beginning of the spring. It just seems to feel like the perfect season to take a fresh look at our daily routines, to make the small adjustments that are needed to get our health and our wellbeing goals back on track and to take the time out to really celebrate the results.

Life is for living, after all. It’s certainly way too short and too precious to get hung up on counting every calorie or to beat yourself up for skipping a session at the gym. At the end of the day, if our diets are generally healthy with just the occasional well-earned treat and our lifestyles are generally active with just the occasional couch-potato day, we’re actually not doing too badly. And being able to enjoy a busy and vibrant life – fuelled by a varied and nutritious diet – is something to celebrate!

In California – the home of Sunsweet’s extensive prune plum orchards – the spring is a particularly beautiful time of the year. In early March, the orchards become covered in a fragrant blanket of pretty, white blossoms. It’s a truly magical sight! But the beauty is as short-lived as it is spectacular. After just a week or so, the blossoms gently drift to the ground and the orchards’ palette shifts to a deep chartreuse as new fruit forms and tender leaf buds burst.

And that leads us neatly on to new beginnings… It’s hard to believe that it’s one hundred years since the Sunsweet Growers Association was founded making this year a really special one for us, as we’ll be celebrating our centenary! The original Sunsweet farmers were passionate about delivering delicious and nourishing prunes of the very highest quality. And we think that they would be very proud of the fact that the Sunsweet brand is now enjoyed in more than 45 countries and that their legacy - of delivering the best possible prunes to customers – continues. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can watch the fascinating Sunsweet story.  Let the festivities begin!

And last – but by no means least - March offers us two opportunities to celebrate the special women in our lives. The 8th March is International Women’s Day followed by Mother’s Day on the 26th March. Our recipe pages are packed with yummy ideas for starters and mains, puddings and treats. We hope that they’ll prove inspirational for you, as you plan all those special, celebratory meals. Bon appetit!

And Happy Spring!

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 Benefits of Exercise and Bone Strength

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, October 06, 2016

Osteoporosis is a global issue, affecting up to one in three women and one in five men. Genetic factors have a role to play in determining an individual’s likelihood of developing osteoporosis but lifestyle factors also have an influence. Simple steps can be taken – like a routine of weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise - to help improve bone-health.


But how prevalent is osteoporosis?

The condition causes bones to weaken so that they break more easily. According to the IOF, up to one in three women and one in five men (aged 50+) will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. These fractures can prove painful, cause long-term disability or even be life-threatening.

Can anything be done, to help prevent osteoporosis?

Although genetic factors do have a role to play in determining an individual’s likelihood of developing osteoporosis, lifestyle factors can also have an influence. And fortunately there are some simple steps that can be taken, to improve bone-health no matter what your gender, life-stage or bone-health status. These steps include:

  • A routine of weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercise
  • A balanced diet, rich in nutrients like calcium, protein and vitamin D
  • Cutting out the cigarettes and limiting alcohol consumption

The role of exercise

Building and maintaining bone health is essential for both genders and at all life-stages. And exercise really is an excellent starting point, to build and maintain bone and muscle strength. Adults who get insufficient exercise lose bone density more quickly than their fit-as-a-fiddle counterparts. And sedentary older people are far more likely to suffer fractures. According to the IOF, this is because bones respond and strengthen when they are 'stressed' and the best way to achieve this? By getting plenty of weight bearing exercise.

What is weight-bearing exercise?

Weight-bearing exercise – the kind that’s good for your bones – is any form of exercise that requires you to work against gravity. Swimming and cycling, for example, would not be weight-bearing but good examples of weight-bearing activities include:

  • Weight training
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Dancing

So, what are you waiting for? Your bones - not to mention the rest of your body - will thank you for a good-old workout.

And why are Sunsweet involved with the campaign?

Plenty of fruit and veg, as part of a nutritious diet, simple things that are bound to have a positive impact on overall health. And bone health is no exception. Did you know that prunes can be an ally when it comes to bone health management? Research suggests that the nutrients in them – things like vitamin K and manganese – can help to maintain normal bones. Yet more reasons to stock up on these tiny – and scrummy – nutritional power-houses!

More info:

If you’d like to find out more about bone health, please do take a look at the Prunes and Bone Health section of our website. Or visit our dedicated Bone Health library where you can download informative and yet simple-to-read whitepapers including the following:

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, September 15, 2016

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.