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

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 09, 2018

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation is surprisingly common. And with a range of distressing – and potentially life-limiting – symptoms, it's something that you're going to want to nip in the bud. Fast. But don't worry. Help is out there. And there are a number of simple, self-care solutions that might just do the trick.

The Surprising Prevalence of IBS

If you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you are not alone. According to the IFFGD (*), 10-15% of the World's population suffer from this common complaint. Women, interestingly, are twice as likely to be affected by the syndrome as men. 40% of people have mild IBS, 35% of people have moderate IBS and 25% of people have severe IBS. And yet many people don't recognise their symptoms

(*) International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder

What is IBS and what causes it?

IBS is a condition that relates to symptoms - otherwise unexplained – that affect the digestive system. Symptoms can vary dramatically in their severity and duration and they can also come and go. Although the specific causes of IBS are not clear, psychological factors like stress can be a trigger factor for bringing on symptoms. Diet, food and eating can also affect symptoms with many sufferers noticing that their symptoms appear worse after a meal leading them to speculate about potential food allergies or intolerances. IBS has been subcategorised based on the symptoms: IBS with diarrhoea; IBS with constipation: or mixed, which includes both diarrheal and constipation traits.

Sufferers from IBS with Constipation (IBS-C), suffer from constipation.

Prunes and Normal Bowel Function

Prunes are high in fibre and contribute to normal bowel function when 100g prunes are eaten daily and as part of a varied and balanced diet and active lifestyle. And unlike many juices, prune Juice is a source of fibre.

Managing the Symptoms of IBS-C

The symptoms of IBS-C can often be managed by making dietary and lifestyle changes. People with IBS-C can take steps to alleviate their symptoms by modifying the amount of fibre that they include in their diet. The two main types of fibre are soluble (that the body can digest) and insoluble (that the body can't). Soluble fibre foods include oats, fruit and vegetables. Insoluble fibre foods include wholegrain bread and cereals. If you suffer from IBS-C, it makes sense to try to boost the amount of fibre in your diet and also the amount of fluids that you take in. The IBS Network, in the UK. echo traditional dietary advice for treating constipation and advocate:

  • Boosting the amount of fibre in the diet, adding linseed to cereals and so on.
  • Eating oats with dried fruit – especially prunes and apricots – for breakfast each morning
  • Upping your fruit and veg intake, prunes and beetroot are particularly helpful.

Is there support available for people suffering from IBS-C?

You'll be relieved to hear that there is some excellent support out there. In fact, we've collaborated with The IBS Network UK – the country's national charity for sufferers of the syndrome - to produce a comprehensive, fact-based document packed full of up-to-date info and useful advice about managing IBS-C. The Network aims to facilitate a programme of self-care for sufferers by providing them with good quality information and support.

Why not download the 'Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation' booklet to find out about:

  • Dietary hints and tips
  • The importance of fibre in the management of IBS-C
  • Foods to include
  • Foods to avoid
  • An example of a daily food plan

PS: Looking for more info on digestion-related topics? Check out our Digestion 101.

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 Top 6 Questions We’re Asked About Prunes

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 22, 2018

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.

A warm and comforting brekkie with the feel-good factor, no fat-laden breakfast butties, here!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, November 16, 2017

Our warm poached prunes with yogurt make a wonderfully comforting and satisfying morning dish – just perfect as part of a relaxed, weekend brunch. The whole family will love this sweet and creamy dish. And it makes a lovely sweet-treat to complete a mid-week dinner, too – delicious!

Ingredients

8 ready-to-eat Prunes
100ml Prune juice
1 cup of strong tea (I love Redbush tea)
Zest of an orange
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
200g natural yoghurt

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients, except for the yoghurt, in a heavy-based pan, place over a high heat, and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Divide the yoghurt between two bowls. Scoop out the prunes with a slotted spoon and place half on top of each helping of yoghurt.
  4. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the fragrant liquid, and eat immediately.

Prunes are perfect for mums-to-be and for kids of all ages, too!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 03, 2017

When you’re having a baby – especially if you are becoming a mum for the first time – it can be tricky enough to sift through the advice from well-meaning friends and family. And that’s without factoring in the advice received from near-strangers! We think that the most important thing to remember, though, is that a happy mummy means a happy baby. And something that all new mums have in common is wanting to do the very best for their baby.


It’s important to find a couple of reliable information sources that you can really trust – and to treat all the other bits and pieces of unsolicited advice that are bound to come your way with a pinch of salt. We’ve compiled lots of expert tips for mums-to-be and for new mums on our dedicated pregnancy website. Why not check it out?

Prunes during pregnancy

Constipation is a common complaint during pregnancy with at least half of all expectant mothers affected, at some point. Fortunately, there are some simple diet-based solutions that could help:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water, milk, natural fruit juices and herbal teas are all excellent choices. Sunsweet prune juice is also a great choice with its naturally occurring sorbitol and source of fibre. Why not start with the recommended daily serving of 120ml and see how that works for you?
  • Make a concerted effort to include plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet to ensure that you have sufficient fibre. Sunsweet prunes are a high source of fibre and make a tasty and nutritious addition to recipes – both sweet and savoury. They are also a super-convenient snack food.

Prunes for new mums

  • When you have a new arrival in tow, a good night’s sleep can quickly start to feel like a distant memory. It’s not surprising then that energy levels for new mums can hit an all-time low. Enjoyed straight from the pack, prunes are the ultimate grab-and-go snack.
    • Prunes have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) of 29, which means that sugar (energy) is released relatively slowly on digestion.
    • Are a source of vitamin B6, which helps you feel less tired, supports the normal release of energy from foods, & helps make normal blood cells.
    • Are a source of copper & manganese, which support the normal release of energy from foods.

Prunes for children large and small

  • Prunes that have been stewed with other fruits before pureeing – apples can work really well – make a lovely first food for babies. Follow the advice from your healthcare professional, about when to start weaning, and enjoy exploring new tastes with your baby.

And for older children, prunes can be enjoyed straight from the pack, included in the family’s favourite bakes or whizzed into a smoothie. Let your budding chefs be inspired by our recipe pages to create their own smoothies with prunes, prune juice and a repertoire of other healthy yummies!

Enjoy!

PS: Did you know that World Breastfeeding Week starts on the 1st August? Check out the website for lots of hints and tips on feeding your baby. Breast is best, after all. But it’s important to remember that a happy mum means a happy baby!

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.

Tackling Tummy Troubles while Travelling

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 06, 2017

Tummy troubles are no joke, especially when you’re travelling and especially when you have small kids in tow. But are digestive complaints - like constipation – just “one of those things” when the family is on the move or are there some simple steps that you can take to nip any potential problems in the bud?


For many of us, holidays can mean:

  1. Taking our eye off the healthy eating ball with far more treats in our diet than we’re used to (and with far less fibre).
  2. Getting dehydrated. As the sun comes up, temperatures rise making everyone a little hotter – and a little thirstier - than they’re used to. And as the sun goes down, exotic cocktails can be a temptation for the grown-ups in the group. It’s really important to keep fluid levels topped up but – sorry! – alcoholic drinks don’t count.
  3. Relaxing by the pool rather than swimming the length and breadth of it. All that sunshine can make physical exercise feel like way too much effort.

And that little trio can combine to upset the bodily functions that most of us are usually lucky enough to be able to take for granted, resulting in a sluggish digestion.

Digestion is a complex physical process and when the digestive system gets out of synch, the whole body can feel its effects. Digestive troubles are far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers. That’s according to a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board. More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling and 42% suffered from constipation.

A sluggish digestion can quickly start to cause physical discomfort and even anxiety. So what can be done? We’ve pulled together our top tips for keeping things moving while you’re on the move.

Choose Well

Make healthy food choices - wherever possible – and make sure you drink lots. Water and diluted fruit juices are both excellent choices as they can quench your thirst and contribute towards good nutrition.

Keep Moving

Make sure that you factor in some daily exercise when your routine changes. Even while you’re travelling, it’s usually possible to move around from time to time. And something as simple as a brief stroll or a quick stretch really can work wonders.

Plan Ahead

Stock up on a selection of healthy, on-the-go snacks to take with you. Prunes, for example, are proven to promote healthy digestion. You can take the fruit with you, wherever you go. And the best news? Prunes are absolutely delicious!

Chill Out

Although it's not usually stress itself that causes health problems – like digestive issues - but how you handle that stress, it’s still important to find ways to unwind that work for you. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health. Why not check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And if you’re looking for more comprehensive info, you can download our Healthy Living Guide!

Bon Voyage!

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 Focus on Digestion for World Digestive Health Day

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 18, 2017

The low down on digestion

Digestion is the body’s way of breaking down food. Although it’s a sensitive physical process, a healthy digestive system is something that many of us are lucky enough to be able to take for granted. If it gets out of synch, the entire body can feel its effects. Modern lifestyles with sedentary jobs, not enough exercise, the consumption of processed foods and stress can all take their toll on the gut. Over time, sluggish digestion can become a chronic problem. It can cause emotional issues, like anxiety, and physical issues, like bloating, reflux, constipation and diarrhoea.


Keeping tummy troubles at bay

When it comes to any health complaint, prevention is better than cure. And, fortunately, there are some simple and effective steps that can be taken to help to keep tummy troubles at bay. Having a good grasp of the digestive basics, choosing gut-friendly foods and adopting better eating habits can go a long way towards boosting digestive health.

Hints and tips

Read on for our Top 4 tips for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

  1. Eat more fibre rich foods

    Prunes are a source of dietary fibre. According to the European Food Safety Authority, consuming around 100g of prunes – on a daily basis - helps to maintain normal bowel function. And the EU Commission has now authorised this health claim for use in the general population.

  2. Keep the water flowing

    Dehydration can lead to headaches, lack of focus, fatigue, constipation and lacklustre skin so be sure your diet includes plenty of water and other fluids like prune juice.

  3. Keep moving

    Regular physical activity not only revs up your metabolism, it also helps promote digestive health by keeping you “regular”.

  4. Take 5

    Soothe away stress before it gets to you, by listening to calming music or simply phoning a friend to catch up.

And to find out even more? Download our expert guide on IBS.

The role prunes can play in maintaining good digestive health

There could be a number of reasons why your digestive system is working less than optimally. And, of course, there are a number of potential solutions to the problem. But the inclusion of Sunsweet prunes in your everyday diet can be a deliciously simple place to start. Our products are 100% natural and they can be enjoyed by the whole family including children, pregnant women and the elderly. And because we use only the best quality Californian prunes, the Sunsweet range really is the perfect complement to a healthy, balanced diet.

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.

Positive steps towards maintaining a healthy weight

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 18, 2016

If you believe the headlines, obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Our kids are fatter than ever. Adult health is being negatively affected by expanding waistlines with the results being a greater propensity for cancer, heart disease, diabetes. It’s enough to make you reach for a chocolate bar. But hold that thought! It’s never too late to do something positive about weight management.

Comfort Eating

The links between stress, comfort eating on high-fat, sugar-laden foodstuffs and subsequent weight gain cannot be ignored. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, a quarter of Americans rate their stress level – on a ten-point scale - as 8+. And stress certainly seems to have an adverse impact on our food preferences. When the going gets tough, we reach for the buns! And, when we’re stressed, we also sleep less, exercise less and drink more alcohol. None of which are great for the waistline.

Researchers at Harvard University offer a trio of common-sense tips for countering stress:

  • Meditation: The practice will help you to become more mindful of your moods and better able to make healthy food choices.
  • Exercise: Activities like yoga and tai chi combine exercise and meditation – a win-win!
  • Social support: A listening ear, when you need to offload, from a supportive member of your network of contacts – choose that ear wisely, it could be a friend, a family member or colleague – can also help to alleviate the symptoms of stress.

Removing Temptation

A sensible step when it comes to weight management is – wherever possible - removing temptation. Having your favourite comfort foods on tap is just asking for trouble. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg. Replace biscuits and crisps with dried fruit and nuts. Swap fizzy drinks for juices with no-added sugar. A few simple switches could make a world of difference.

How can Prunes Help with Weight Loss?

Prunes are sweet, really tasty and versatile – whether eaten straight from the pack or as a flavourful addition to a favourite recipe. But you might be surprised to read that, according to research by the University of Liverpool, eating prunes can actively help to boost weight loss.

The University’s study of 100 people (men and women) tested whether, over a 3-month period, eating the fruit - as part of a weight loss diet - helped or hindered weight control. The results were interesting, discovering that the prune eaters experienced greater weight loss than the control group during the last four weeks of the study and - after week eight – experienced greater satiety. They felt fuller. Dr Jo Harrold, who led the research, said: "Prunes may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss."

Be Prepared!

With a well-stocked fruit bowl, a selection of dried fruits and some natural juices to hand, a healthy snack is never too far away. Smoothies are sweet and satisfying and can be whizzed up in seconds. And a handful of prunes – enjoyed on their own – couldn’t be more convenient. You can check out our recipe pages too, for lots of healthy inspiration!

PS: Did you know that prunes can be included in a wide range of special diets? Whether you are gluten intolerant, diabetic, a vegan or a vegetarian, you can find out more about the health benefits of prunes, here on our FAQ pages

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 Energy Balls

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 07, 2016

Our modern lives are busy and our fridges aren't always stocked with nutritionally-optimal snacks. That's where store cupboard items like nuts, seeds and dried fruits come into play.  So it makes dietary sense to have a repertoire of easily prepared snacks up your sleeve like our Prune Energy Balls. They’re healthy, tasty, easily-made and can last up to a week. Think school lunch boxes, pre or post-exercise pick-me-ups, an office 'deskfast'. 

Ingredients

125g Sunsweet Prunes
80g almonds / walnuts / mix
60g Chia seeds
15g cocoa powder
15g cup smooth nut butter
Coconut oil, to blend
Desiccated coconut, for rolling (optional)
Makes about 20 balls

Instructions

  1. Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz for a moment. Add prunes and further blitz until a soft dough begins to form.  Add other ingredients, except the coconut oil and desiccated coconut, and blend until smooth. Add a small amount of coconut oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture is sticky, and holds its shape.
  2. Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball and continue until all the mixture is used. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut, to coat (optional).
*Sunsweet tip: place in the Prune Energy Balls in the freezer for about 45 minutes to set. Stored in an air-tight container in the fridge they will keep for up to a week.