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

  • You’ve got a friend in me!

    Posted Mon, Jun 21, 21 by Sunsweet

    30th July is the International Day of Friendship. And true friendship is, of course, a cause for celebration. But the pressures of busy, modern lives are leaving many of us feeling disconnected and out-of-touch with our friends or even socially isolated and downright lonely.


    A report by the charities Relate and Relationships Scotland claims that loneliness is on the rise. The report, entitled “You're Not Alone - The Quality of the UK's Social Relationships”, found that almost seven million people did not have a close friend. And it is perhaps not surprising then that 45% of UK adults reported feeling lonely at least some of the time.

    Relate’s chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: "It's very concerning that so many people feel they don't have a single friend they can rely on. Making friends and keeping them isn't always easy: it can take time and effort that we don't always have to spare. Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like? Social relationships are essential to our health and wellbeing. We mustn't take them for granted."

    With research suggesting that loneliness and social isolation are potentially as much of a health threat as obesity, it’s an important issue to address. In fact, Richard Lang - chair of preventative medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio - reckons that people need to attend to loneliness in “the same way they would their diet, exercise, or how much sleep they get.”

    But what can be done?

    Families that play together stay together. And, on the International Day of Friendship which is this Sunday, July 30th, the same can be said of friends.

    If you enjoy the company of somebody that you already know and there’s an activity that you like doing together on a fairly regular basis – whether it’s walking or visiting garden centres or participating in ParkRuns– then lucky you. You’re already on to a winner. Commit to getting active together out-of-doors, get lots of dates into your respective diaries and make sure that you honour your commitment to each other, whatever the weather. At the end of the day, if we waited for the weather conditions to be just right, we would never do anything. Bundle up, get out there and have fun!

    But if likeminded people seem a little thin on the ground, in your existing network, then cast your net wider. Whatever your interest, there’s bound to be a club or an association nearby. Be brave, step outside your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Think Zumba classes, the Ramblers’ Association, your local golf club. You’ll expand your social circle in no time, we promise!

    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.

  • Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are a snazzy dish, just perfect for parties!

    Posted Wed, Jun 16, 21 by Sunsweet

    When it comes to summer BBQ dishes, it can be nice to ring the changes. Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are really easy to make but will add a touch of sophistication to your table. The skewers are perfect as an appetiser but – with a selection of salads – they’re substantial enough to serve as a main, too!

    Ingredients

    1 sweet potato (approx. 250 g)

    Salt

    175 g cream cheese

    1 tbsp. Tahini

    2-3 tbsp. lemon juice

    ¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

    8 big prawns (for example tiger prawns, approx. 200 g)

    2 tbsp. olive oil

    100 g soft chorizo (Spanish sausage with peppers)

    12 g Sunsweet prunes

    Additional:

    4 wooden skewers

    Instructions

    1. Peel and cube the sweet potato for the dip. Boil in 100 ml water and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes until soft. Puree the sweet potato pieces in the water it is boiled in. Let puree cool.
    2. lix sweet potato puree with cream cheese, tahini and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Season the dip with salt, cayenne and lemon juice if needed. Refrigerate.
    3. Put the wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill. Peel prawns except for the tail. Cut lengthways and remove the intestines. Wash prawns, blot dry and coat in olive oil. Cut chorizo into 8 pieces. Thread 2 prawns, chorizo pieces and 3 prunes alternately onto each skewer. Grill on a hot BBQ for 4-6 minutes. Serve with sweet potato dip.

  • Tackling Tummy Troubles while Travelling

    Posted Wed, Jun 16, 21 by Sunsweet

    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.

  • Bean Salad

    Posted Tue, Jun 15, 21 by Sunsweet

    Summer-time. The living should be easy. For people with IBS Constipation, that may not be the case. Produced with IBS Network UK, our booklet, ‘Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation’ has lots of dietary tips and recipes. Like our super-flexible Bean Salad recipe. Use your favourite salad leaves, as a base. Top with a can of mixed beans. And then add chopped veggies for a multi-coloured, multi-textured meal. Easy!

    Ingredients

    Mixed salad leaves 

    Tin mixed beans, washed

    Tomato, chopped

    Cucumber, chopped

    Avocado, peeled pitted and diced

    Carrot, grated

    Feta cheese if desired

    Dressing: vinegars, herbs, spices

    Seeds: linseed (flax), sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, chia

    Optional side: Sweet potato jacket, wholegrain rice, quinoa, couscous, wholemeal bread

    Instructions

    1. Make up your own salad using any variety of what is listed and other preferred options. The beans and seeds add a great deal of fibre so go carefully at first with smaller portions to get used to your own tolerance levels.
    2. In a bowl, mix together the leaves, beans, tomato, cucumber, avocado, grated carrot and feta.
    3. Add the dressing of your choice and sprinkle seeds on top.
  • To Snack is Human- To Enjoy Healthy Snacks is Divine

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Snacking is here to stay and has become a fact of modern life. If snacking in between meals is part of your busy lifestyle, it’s good to know that dietitians today will give you their good nutrition stamp of approval. That is, of course, if the foods and beverages you pick are healthful choices! To find out what those healthy choices might be we enlisted the help of nutritionist Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD.  


    Healthy snacking on a budget


    The following tips should help us select guilt free snacks while keeping more of our hard earned cash in our pockets:

    Reach for Shelf-Stable Snacks
    Fresh fruits and vegetables play an important part in healthy snacking. It's best  to plan around what's currently in season because out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sometimes imported, expensive and often tasteless. Dried fruit provides a nutritious and more shelf-stable option year round, which could save money on spoiled food.

    Energy
    It's easy to grab a biscuit or a muffin when our energy wanes at the office. They may deliver a scrumptious quick fix, but as a habit, they take a big bite out of our budget and our energy reserves. Choosing complex carbohydrates containing fiber helps to keep our energy revved up so we can make it to the gym, the Boardroom, or wherever our energy needs us to go.

    Antioxidants
    Antioxidants are important vitamin-like compounds that help support our immune system, promote a healthy heart and slow the aging process. Some antioxidants (water –soluble antioxidants) are not stored by the body and remain in our system for only 4 to 6 hours. It's important to replenish our body with these nutrients throughout the day - including snack time.

    Curb Your Appetite
    Skipping meals causes us to lose touch with our body’s natural hunger cues. When meal time finally arrives we tend to eat too much and choose the wrong things (because we are so hungry). Factoring in small snacks between meals helps keep our appetite in check, our hunger satisfied, and helps us to make healthier choices at all of our meals.

    Stabilise and Energise
    Fueling our body with meals and snacks at regular intervals is necessary to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar not only helps us control hunger cravings, it reduces our risk for diabetes and even helps promote fat loss. The ultimate even blood sugar snack should include complex carbohydrates, along with a little protein and fat.

    Calcium
    Most  people simply aren't getting enough of this bone-building nutrient. Drinking milk with our meals is one option. Calcium-rich snacks are a valuable back-up plan.

    You can learn more about healthy eating by visiting the nutrition section of our website.

    5 ways to master the art of healthy snacking

    Over the years we have looked at lots of research on snacking behaviours.  We have come to the conclusion that rather than trying to avoid snacks we should just try and pick healthy choices when we feel the urge.  The following tips should help:

    Plan Mini-Meals
    Think of a snack as a mini-meal and an opportunity to add servings of healthy foods to your day. For instance, three or four whole wheat crackers topped with low fat cheddar cheese and sliced apple provides needed nutrients from the grain, dairy and fruit groups. Adding a protein source (such as cheese, yogurt, or nuts) will help tame hunger longer.

    Make it Convenient
    Since you are often grabbing a snack because you’re hungry and in a hurry, plan to have healthy grab and go options close at hand. Dried fruit such as Sunsweet prunes can be stashed in your desk drawer, your purse or your car so that you easily enjoy something sweet on the go.  Or how about an individually wrapped humzinger – Who says they are just for kids!

    Enjoy What You Crave
    But do it the smart way. If you’ve got to have something savoury and crunchy, choose options that meet that need without a lot of fat and calories. If your snack-tooth craves something sweet, reach for fruit instead of sweets or chocolate. Want something smooth and creamy? Choose lowfat or nonfat yogurts instead of ice cream. You’ll get more calcium per serving and save big time on fat and calories.

    Keep Size in Mind
    Portion control is just as important when planning snacks. So, remember this is just a few bites to tide you over until mealtime. Try to limit snacks to about 100 calories. That could be 1 cup of celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus dip or the sweet indulgence of savouring 4 Sunsweet prunes.

    Think About Drinks
    Drinks (non alcoholic of course!) can contribute to good nutrition, too. Nonfat milk and vegetable juices are a liquid source of vitamins, minerals and in the case of fruit juices, they can be a source of dietary fiber. So, when choosing a drink for a snack, think about its health benefits, too.

  • Refresh and Rejuvenate Your Travel Days

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Is travelling a digestion nightmare? You’re not alone. Dehydration, changes in diet, uncomfortable postures and lack of movement have been known to upset bodily functions often resulting in a sluggish digestion. Lack of fibre has also been proven to be a significant cause. And just when your system gets back in gear, it’s time to take off again. So how do you beat the travel blues and stay healthy even while you’re on the go and away from home?

    Making healthy choices wherever possible (and walking about every couple of hours) can ease some of the imbalance, discomfort and anxiety. Sunsweet ® Prunes are a great solution. Prunes are proven to promote healthy digestion and the best part is, you can take the prunes with you wherever you go! Drinking naturally sweetened Sunsweet® Prune Juice is another easy healthy choice and it quenches your thirst and tastes great.

    Whether you are suffering from a sensitive digestive system or blessed with a very strong one, disruptive sleep patterns, changing time zones, unhealthy food or new foods, dehydration, and the stress associated with travelling can take its toll on you. Frequent travellers often find it hard to get their health on track. Take a look at our travel tips below to help maintain your good health and reduce digestion problems.

    Simple Health Tips for People on the Go

    • Take healthy on-the-go snacks whenever you leave home. prunes are easy to carry along.
    • Try to get the right amount of fluids; fruit and vegetable juices quench your thirst and contribute to good nutrition.
    • In a restaurant, ask the waiter questions about the menu to help you make healthy food choices.
    • For a long stay, find a local store to stock-up on some favourite healthy foods.
    • When travelling to a non-English speaking country, find a translation of your food preferences and intolerances, or search the Internet for this type of information prior to your departure.
    • Keep exercise in your day even if your routine changes.
      • Pack exercise bands or empty water bottles in your suitcase. You can fill the bottles with water when you reach your destination and use them for strength training exercises in your hotel room.
      • If possible, choose a hotel that caters to your wellness regimen. Today, many hotels have gyms, saunas and/or pools.
      • Download an exercise app onto your phone and do a quick workout in your hotel room.
    • Give yourself a chance to relax and digest your food before you exercise.
    • Reduce stress and digestive problems with lifestyle and stress management strategies. Remember it's not stress itself that causes health issues, but how you handle it. Find ways to unwind that work for you!

    A sluggish digestion can become a regular issue forcing you to keep away from many foods you enjoy as well as causing discomfort and anxiety on a daily basis. Sunsweet® Prunes and Prune Juice are a delicious and effective way to combat your travel woes.

  • We Are What (And How) We Eat

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Most of us have heard the phrase “you are what you eat”. However Dr. Nick Read, gives us a fresh perspective on this old saying including - “you are how you eat”.

    Professor Nick Read is a consultant gastroenterologist and analytical psychotherapist. He uses both of these disciplines in combination to investigate and treat patients with mind-body diseases, particularly those with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

    Dr. Read is currently the Chair of the IBS Network in the UK, an independent charity dedicated to support, inform and advise people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

    While encouraging us to make the 5-a-day an integral part of our daily nutrition plans, he also draws our attention to the environment and manner in which we consume food. Relaxation, company and liking what you eat, for instance, all contribute to digestive health and overall well-being.

    Maintaining the right fibre intake can also help many of our digestion and bowel problems. Dr. Read recommends natural prune juice (like Sunsweet®) as a nutritious and stimulating addition to the daily diet. It contributes to the veggie and fruit intake and also helps the digestive system.

    Watch our Eating and Drinking Well video and hear what Dr. Read has to say about the positive impact of a healthy diet on constipation and his recommendations on natural treatments and preventative measures.

  • Easy entertaining inspired by Sunsweet prunes

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    These days, life is busy! The weeks – and sometimes even the months – can slip by without us having had the opportunity to spend any quality time with our friends and family. However, the summer holidays – with their promise of longer, sunnier days - can be a wonderful chance for a catch up.

    Brunch is a contemporary and informal way to get together with loved ones. Brunch parties usually start in the late morning but often continue long into the afternoon. Plan ahead and let the aroma of freshly baked brownies and muffins – packed with Sunsweet prunes for a tasty and nutritious twist – tempt your guests, as they arrive. Dress your table with a stylish tablecloth and napkins – paper ones are perfect and the ultimate in convenience – before piling it high with nibbles and drinks and letting the day unfold. It really couldn't be simpler!

    Sunsweet prunes are the surprising inspiration behind a whole range of party dishes. They are perfect for every occasion, from a fun-filled family party to a more formal get-together. Whether the venue is the beach, the garden or the dining room - after a last minute, rain-drenched relocation - the pace for your summer party should be slow. It's your holiday, too, and - after the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year – it really is time to be taking things easy.

    • Keep your party menu simple with just a handful of show-stopping dishes. Check out our deceptively easy recipe ideas in the next section
    • Serve light and tasty food that is simple for you to make. Why not have a go at our refreshing sorbet and super-healthy sushi recipes?
    • Select finger foods so that you can cut down on the washing up. Our Thai chicken skewers are a scrumptious example!
    • Prepare as much as you possibly can, before your guests arrive
    • Delegate. Rope in the kids to help make the party table look pretty; tea-lights in little glass jars and fresh flowers from the garden are very effective. Take up your guests' offers, to contribute – a freshly baked loaf, a home-grown salad, an interesting artisan cheese will complement most menus
    • And finally…

    • Sit back, relax and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labour. Cheers!
  • 4 powerful tips to keep you motivated and meet your goals.

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    New regimes are often focused on exercise, weight and health. All good stuff. But how do you keep yourself motivated and ensure that you meet your very worthwhile goals?

    1. Be clear, be realistic and be good to yourself
    2. It’s important to be really clear about what you want to achieve. “Getting Healthy”, for example, is probably too vague to be meaningful. Think about what “healthy” actually means to you; is it about fitness, weight, energy, mood… Once you’ve decided on a long-term goal - a vision - it’s useful to set yourself a series of smaller milestones, too. These need to be actionable and achievable. And – when you’ve ticked them off – their accomplishment is a fabulous excuse for a mini celebration, along the way! If you haven’t exercised for years, for example, simply being active every day - for 30 days – is far more realistic than signing yourself up for a half-marathon. Check out this TED talk, for inspiration

    3. Get support
    4. When our resolve is flagging or when we face unforeseen hurdles in the meeting of our goals, it can be helpful to have somebody on our side, cheering us on from the side-lines. Identify other people who can help you to keep on track like a supportive friend or perhaps an online group.

    5. Use your technology
    6. Don’t forget that technology can be an ally, too. You could create a simple spread sheet that helps you to keep track of your training progress, for example. You could create some homemade posters – with inspirational quotations and images - that you can distribute throughout your home and office, to help to keep you motivated. And whether your aim is to have a change of career, to stop smoking (Cessation Nation) or to put an end to aimless net surfing (Self Control), as the saying goes, there’s an app for that!

    7. Boost your energy
    8. New regimes can be tiring, both emotionally and physically. Prunes are a source of vitamin B6, which can help you to feel less tired. And vitamin B6 – along with copper and manganese, of which prunes are also a source – supports the normal release of energy from foods. So grab yourself a handful of prunes. A sweet and tasty way to top up those energy levels!

  • The Low-Down on Low GI

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    It can be tricky, when you're trying to eat healthily, to keep up with all of the latest buzzwords and acronyms. But don't worry. At Sunsweet, we make it our business to stay ahead in the healthy-eating game.

    Ever wondered just what GI means, for example?

    Well, in a nutshell, GI – the glycaemic index - measures the effects of carbohydrates on the body's blood sugar. Carbs that are rapidly broken down, during digestion, rapidly release glucose into the bloodstream. And these carbs have a high GI. Carbs that are broken down more gradually, release glucose more gradually and these carbs have a low GI.

    Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet.

    What’s recommended?

    Experts recommend that - to maintain weight and keep blood sugar levels steady - we aim for a diet with an overall GI of 50 or less.

    And so sweet and tasty snacks are out, right? Not so, happily. In fact, Sunsweet prunes make an excellent choice. 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. Excellent news!

  • Love Your Bones

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    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.

  • Keeping the Family Healthy this Autumn

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    It may be autumn but it's important to make sure that you don't let the family's healthy habits slope off into hibernation just yet! Our fun tips - on diet and exercise - will make sure that you all stay on top form, well into the winter.

    Diet

    Avoid calorie-heavy and nutrition-light meals by planning ahead. Our website has loads of warming and yet healthy recipe ideas that are just perfect as the cooler weather and darker nights start to set in. Many of the recipes can be made in bulk and a few portions popped into the freezer for ready-meals with the x-factor.

    Try adding extra portions of fruit and veg into every meal. Prunes, bananas and milled seeds, for example, can be buzzed into milk for a satisfying breakfast or for a snack that packs a nutritious punch. And the nutritional value of your family's favourite bakes can be boosted with dried fruit. Chopped Sunsweet prunes, for example, will transform a flapjack.

    Use the hedgerows as your larder! A handful of blackberries whizzed up with prunes makes a deliciously fruity compote. Use the compote to add a fruity twist to a bowl of creamy, natural yogurt or enjoy it spread on warm, wholemeal toast. Delicious!

    Exercise

    Use the garden as your gym! Autumn is the perfect time to get things ship-shape, outside. Clear those weeds, sweep those leaves, dig over those beds. The whole family will have a healthy glow in no time and you'll have the satisfaction of an impressively tidy garden, to boot.

    Make a date for an activity – a walk with friends in the country-side, perhaps – put it on the calendar and make sure that you stick to it. There really is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing. Invest in some waterproofs, get the whole family wrapped up warm and get out there. Enjoy!

    Never let yourself reach the point of being ravenous, no matter how busy your day turns out to be. It is far better to keep yourself topped up by enjoying small and healthy snacks throughout the day than it is to deprive yourself and, ultimately, end up bingeing on more unhealthy options when you are running on empty. A handful of Sunsweet prunes makes for a quick and tasty snack. Prunes are perfectly portable, too, a good choice for those days when you simply don't have time to stop.

    Check out our recipe pages for healthy, and tasty, snacking inspiration!

    Happy Autumn!

  • Gluten Free Living

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Following a gluten free diet has become much more popular and widespread, over recent years. A report by USA Today, for example, found that as many as one in four people were now attempting to live gluten free. In this feature, we will explore the differences between gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease and take a look at hints and tips for living gluten free, with the minimum of fuss.

    What is Gluten?

    But, first, what exactly is this gluten that we hear so much about? Gluten is the protein that is found in the grains – like wheat and barley and rye – that feature heavily in the everyday diets of so many of us. Think of all the bread and pasta and breakfast cereals that our families consume on a daily basis.

    Many people report feeling bloated and sluggish after a particularly gluten rich meal, leading them to make a lifestyle choice of avoiding the protein wherever possible. Experts now believe that mild symptoms, like these, could be due to a sensitivity to gluten. The British Medical Journal does warn against self-diagnosis, though, because such symptoms could be down to something more serious, like coeliac disease.

    Coeliac Disease

    For people with coeliac disease - an autoimmune response to gluten – exclusion, for life, is the only treatment for the condition. It is estimated that around one percent of the population is affected by the condition. According to the NHS, “Reported cases of coeliac disease are two to three times higher in women than men and can develop at any age, although symptoms are most likely to develop during early childhood and in later adulthood.”

    Coeliac disease – because it irritates and then subsequently damages the lining of the gut - causes painful diarrhoea that, in turn, can lead to weight loss, anaemia, extreme tiredness and even osteoporosis. (Why not take a look at our features on bone health, to find out more about this?). A gluten free diet allows the gut to heal and for the symptoms to improve.

    Gluten Free Choices

    The good news is that a gluten free diet doesn't have to be too restrictive. Many foods – like meat and fish, rice and potatoes, vegetables and fruit – can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Cafes and restaurants are now much more geared up towards offering a gluten free choice. And the even better news is that prunes are a naturally gluten free food – a serving of prunes or a glass of prune juice can be included in a gluten free diet. You can also add them to your favourite coeliac-friendly recipes for a sweet and fruity twist.

    Need some inspiration?

    Check out our recipe pages where we’ve recently added new gluten free recipes like Light Prune Focaccia, Dense Chocolate Cake, Homemade Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake … no need to compromise on taste.

    We recommend you seek medical advice before making dietary changes.

  • Light Prune Focaccia

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Our Light Prune Focaccia combines the wonderfully aromatic flavours of rosemary sprigs, sea salt and cherry tomatoes with sweet, versatile and super- scrumptious prunes. Made with gluten-free flour, our Light Prune Focaccia is a great option for anybody who is avoiding gluten. But it's also a great option for anybody who simply loves fresh, home-made bread. Our Focaccia is the perfect, Italian-style accompaniment to a range of healthy soups and salads. Delicious!

    Ingredients

    7 g dry yeast
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    40 ml olive oil
    350 g gluten-free flour
    3 sprigs of rosemary, 2 of them chopped
    100 g California prunes
    12 cherry tomatoes
    Coarse sea salt

    Other:
    Ovenproof pan 26 cm

    Instructions

    1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 250 ml lukewarm water. Add 30 ml of olive oil. Mix flour with salt, chopped rosemary and prunes. Add the dissolved yeast and stir until smooth. Pour dough into a bowl and let rise for about 1 hour until it has doubled.
    2. Knead the dough again and form a shape that fits into the pan. Using your knuckle, make indentations in the dough, then prick with fork. Brush the pan with some of the olive oil and place the dough inside. Press cherry tomatoes into the dough. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.
    3. Place into the preheated oven at 180° C (convection oven 160° C) and bake for 35 minutes. Cut the focaccia into pieces and serve.

    Tip: Focaccia goes particularly well with rocket pesto.

  • Pumpkin Soup with Prunes

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Sweet and scrumptious with delicious accents of warming ginger and zingy lime, the whole family are sure to love our Pumpkin Soup with Prunes. Rustle up a pot before heading out for an afternoon stroll. You'll return to a home filled with the comforting aroma of Autumn. Hearty, tasty and full of healthy vegetables and fruit, serve this soup with our gluten free focaccia. It's what Autumn is all about. This soup keeps well, too, so make plenty!

    Ingredients

    300 g pumpkin 

    200 g carrots

    1 walnut-sized piece of ginger

    1 onion

    2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

    800 ml vegetable stock 

    Salt and pepper

    Cayenne pepper

    1 organic lime

    120 g Sunsweet prunes

    100 ml whipping cream

    4 small stems of celery with green leaves

    Instructions

    1. Rinse and dice pumpkin. Peel, clean and rinse the carrots cut them into small pieces. Peel and dice the ginger. Peel and dice the onion.
    2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. Briefly braise the onion, pumpkin, carrots and ginger in the hot oil. Pour in the vegetable stock and boil the vegetables with the lid on the pan for approx. 25-30 minutes until they are soft. Puree everything in a food processor. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
    3. Rinse the lime and strip its peel off with a zester. Squeeze out the lime juice. Add the lime juice, lime peel and prunes (halved if you want) to the soup and briefly heat it again. Whisk the cream until it is semi thick. 
    4. Serve the soup in cups or glasses with a celery stem and a spot of cream.
  • Have we forgotten the real meaning of Christmas?

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    This year, why not tune out of what the media – and everybody else - tells you about the perfect, family Christmas? You might just be able to conjure up a Christmas – with much less pressure, that suits your family down to the ground. Also, read our tips on keeping the whole family moving, even when the TV and choccies call!

    Have we forgotten the real meaning of Christmas?

    At Christmas, we can feel under more pressure than ever to be living the perfect life. Perfectly grateful children, patiently taking turns to open their perfectly chosen gifts. A perfect meal - home-cooked from scratch and festooned with everyone's favourite trimmings – being tucked into with gusto from a perfectly decorated table. A perfectly flambeed Christmas pudding... OK, you get the idea. And it's lovely, in theory. But the pressure – for the person who's expected to conjure up this vision of Christmas perfection, often single-handedly – can become too much.

    Real Meaning

    This Christmas, why not resolve to cut yourself some slack? Think about what Christmas means to you. Ask your family what Christmas means to them. Tailor-make a Christmas that's packed full of meaning for your family. And forget about everything else. There is no gold standard for the perfect Christmas. What's perfect for you, is perfect for you. (And there's a lot to be said for pre-peeled spuds!)

    Keeping Active

    We all know that physical activity – even if it's the last thing we feel like doing – can make us feel more energetic and generally improve our sense of wellbeing . So, even on the big day, make sure that you give your family plenty of opportunities to get moving.

    • For older kids, turn clearing the table and washing the dishes into a race-against-the-clock.
    • Younger kids can organise each person's present piles – into bags or boxes – so that you can at least see the living room floor or, better still, so that they can be transported to the respective rooms.
    • Even the tiniest of tots can be put in charge of sorting wrapping paper and packaging for recycling.
    • And if tempers and tears seem inevitable – and not just amongst the toddlers! - it's time for some fresh air and a change of scenery. Bundle everybody up. Set off for a brisk stroll around the block. You'll have rosy cheeks – and sweeter moods – in no time.
  • Linzer Prune Cookies

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Keep things simple this Christmas and make your entertaining fuss-free so that you can focus on the important things; like having fun and spending quality time with your family and friends! Our Linzer Prune Cookies are super-festive whether you decide to serve them with mulled wine, hot chocolate or a glass of milk. And the enticing aroma of freshly-baked cookies couldn't be more welcoming for guests!

    Ingredients

    80 g Sunsweet prunes

    3 tablespoons water

    280-300 g flour

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    2 tablespoons ginger spice

    50 g brown sugar

    100 g butter, softened

    1 medium egg 

    For the filling:

    80 g quince or red currant jam

    2 tablespoons water

    100 g Sunsweet prunes



    To Serve:

    Some icing sugar for garnish

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 180 °C and puree prunes for the cookie dough with water.
    2. Mix baking powder with flour, ginger spice and sugar. Whisk in butter cubes, egg and plum puree with a hand mixer. Use kneader of hand mixer to knit the dough until smooth. Wrap the dough in foil and place for 30 min in the refrigerator.
    3. Boil water for 2 minutes with the jam. Add the prunes and puree and mix well.
    4. Roll out the dough on floured surface, until 2-3 mm thick. Cut out 36 round cookies (approx. 6cm diameter). Bake half of the cookies for 12 minutes. Cut out little stars (2,5-3cm diameter) from center of the uncooked cookies and bake. Also bake the little stars but take them out a few minutes earlier than the other cookies.
    5. Spread prune filling sparingly but evenly on the round cookies, then place a dab of the filling in the centre and place the cookies with star cut out on it. Press gently. Sift icing sugar over cookies. 
  • Prune Chutney

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Why not get back to basics, this Christmas, and make mouth-watering edible gifts that your foodie friends and family are certain to love? Our Prune Chutney - packed full of scrummy Christmassy spices - is a festive hug in a jar. You can rope in the kids, too, and make personalised labels for the Chutney to boost the cuteness factor and make a truly unique gift.

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon peanut and vegetable oil

    1 small onion, chopped finely

    250g SUNSWEET® prunes, chopped

    1 tablespoon freshly grated root ginger

    2 cloves of garlic, crushed

    1 small bay leaf

    75g soft brown sugar

    100ml cider (or rice wine vinegar)

    ½ teaspoons ground allspice

    salt and pepper

    Instructions

    1. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat
    2. Add the onion, a little salt and pepper, and all the allspice
    3. Cook for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally
    4. Add the prunes, ginger, garlic and bay leaf and cook gently for about 10-12 minutes.
    5. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook until the chutney is the consistency of a chunky applesauce.
    6. Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

    Serve warm or leave to cool. Will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

    Great with savoury foods and as an accompaniment to cheese.

  • Flavourful Quinoa Prune Tabbouleh

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

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

    Ingredients

    300 g quinoa

    2 red onions 

    250 g cherry tomatoes 

    1 cucumber 

    100 g California prunes 

    1 avocado

    2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley 

    1 bunch of mint 

    10 tbsp. olive oil 

    8 tbsp. lemon juice 

    1 tsp. cumin 

    Salt & pepper 


    Instructions

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

    Posted Fri, Jun 11, 21 by Sunsweet

    Ah, the food of love... Our Dense Chocolate Cake is as close to desert heaven as it gets. Wonderfully moist. Super chocolatey. Surprisingly simple to make. And do you know what's even more surprising? This is a gluten-free bake. And each slice of scrumptious yumminess contains less than 400 calories. 

    Ingredients

    200 g dark chocolate 

    100 g butter, cubed 

    1 vanilla pod 

    5 eggs 

    1 pinch of salt 

    100 g sugar 

    150 g California prunes 

    3 tbsp. cocoa powder 

    Confectioner's sugar for dusting 



    Other:

    Cake springform baking tin24 cm 


    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 160° C (convection oven 140° C). Line spring form with baking paper. Chop chocolate. Cut butter into cubes. Place both into a bowl and melt over hot water. Cut vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds.
    2. Separate eggs and beat the egg whites, salt and sugar until stiff. Remove chocolate from water, allow to slightly cool, and then stir in the egg yolks. Stir in prunes, vanilla seeds, and cocoa powder, carefully fold in egg white.
    3. Pour the cake mixture into the springform baking tin and bake for 40 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool and serve dusted with confectioner's sugar.

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