Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Healthy Food Item of the Week

I am obsessed with eating healthy and finding new ways to incorporate fresh and natural foods into my (and the BF's) daily diet. So I thought that every week I could shine the spotlight on one healthy food item that I have recently been crazy about.

A few months ago, I read an article about a supremely healthy dried fruit that often gets a really bad rap:
Dried Plums AKA PRUNES

Yep, you heard it first right here, I eat and LOVE prunes. When I first read the article in Women's Health (my all time favorite magazine), I was thinking, "Hmm, I have never tried a prune. I thought only old people ate those/they were really gross??" But then I got over it and bought some Sunsweet Individuallly Wrapped Prunes (the ones they have been advertising on TV a lot lately) and fell in love!!
Not only are these babies sweet and tender, they are a perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Four prunes contains a measly 100 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 290 mg of potassium. Of course, their fiber amount is what really has made their reputation (whether good or bad) because they do wonders for....regulating your system. :) Which we all know makes everyone happy!

Women's Health named them as a Superfood for your gut, and this is what they had to say:

These high-fiber fruits help keep your gastric system working like a finely tuned machine. They may shrink your stomach, too. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that among 74,000 women surveyed, those who got more fiber were 49 percent less likely to suffer weight gain. Make your own trail mix with a handful of chopped pitted prunes plus walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, and hemp seeds.

I have been buying one package a week and just keeping them in my desk at work, they're perfect for snacking on. I haven't tried any other brands, but I do like that these are indiviudally wrapped because I think it helps to keep the fruits moist, which is the best part!

A little bit more about the prune:

  • Prunes have a high content of antioxidants as well as beta-carotene
  • Prunes are a good source of potassium, providing 9.0% of the daily value for this mineral in a quarter-cup
  • Prunes' soluble fiber helps normalize blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and by delaying the absorption of glucose (the form in which sugar is transported in the blood) following a meal
  • Prunes are well known for their ability to prevent constipation. In addition to providing bulk and decreasing the transit time of fecal matter, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, prunes' insoluble fiber also provides food for the "friendly" bacteria in the large intestine.
  • In addition, prunes' soluble fibers help to lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body via the feces.
  • The insoluble fiber provided by prunes feed friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, which helps to maintain larger populations of friendly bacteria. In addition to producing the helpful short-chain fatty acids described above, friendly bacteria play an important protective role by crowding out pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria and preventing them from surviving in the intestinal tract.
  • Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least. In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;122(2):403-12. Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes.
  • The ability of plum and prune to increase absorption of iron into the body has also been documented in published research.
Whew! That was a lot of facts about prunes. To read more about why YOU should be eating prunes, check out this article.

**Lastly, don't forget to enter to win some WIN from Bobbi, at NHerShoes.


  1. I love prunes!!! Thanks for the link love your blog

  2. I don't hate prunes... I guess I'll try to work them into the diet, mom.


  3. Didn't realize prunes were that great. Same thing - thought it was an older person preference :)

    I might try incorporating some into my protein bar recipe. Clearly shouldn't run after consumption though. THAT would be a disaster.

  4. Prunes definitely seem more appetizing when they're called dried plums! I'm not a big fan, although I've had great success using prune babyfood as an oil sub in brownies.

  5. Bobbi-NP! I love your blog as well.

    LiLu-They're better than you might think, you know I know what's best for you little one!

    Joy-Yeah I think they could work well instead of the dates? Although I honestly don't know too much about dates...

    TFH-Prune babyfood? Never ever heard of that as an oil sub! Great idea tho. Do you have a specific brownie recipe you could share?? :)