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

Don’t let your travels upset your tum!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

With holiday season well under way, we’ve all heard our fair share of anecdotes about travellers’ tummy troubles. Each of them more “TMI” than the last. But did you know that, by following just a few simple steps, it’s possible to dramatically improve the chances of you – and your family - maintaining good digestive health while travelling?

Concerns about food safety issues and the likelihood of subsequent, unpleasant illness. The digestive system getting out of synch. And a relaxed family holiday, memorable for all the right reasons. Are these three things something of a paradox, perhaps, a contradiction in terms? Because a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board, found that digestive health problems were far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers.

  • More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling
  • 42% suffered from constipation

What causes ‘travelers’ tummy’?

When travelling, it’s important to be sensible and aware about food safety and health. But you need to balance this caution; becoming paranoid about every morsel could just as easily spoil your holiday!

Simple precautions include:

  • Checking if the local tap water is safe to drink. If in doubt, opt for bottled water.
  • Holding-off on ice cubes (salads, deserts and drinks) if you think the local water could be an issue.
  • Sticking to cooked food that has been freshly cooked and served piping hot.
  • Choosing the more popular cafes and restaurants; locals are likely to avoid the duds!
  • Using wipes and antibacterial gels - they can be really useful for keeping the family’s hands clean, when you’re on the go.

If you’re unlucky, don’t panic. Take in plenty of fluids. Chamomile and raspberry leaf tea are natural remedies that you can try, to gently relieve diarrhea. And crystallized ginger is said to help alleviate nausea.

And what about the opposite side of the coin, Constipation?

Letting healthy eating habits slip, while on the road. Grabbing convenience food and snacks that are far from optimum, nutritionally. Not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough to drink. Struggling to get used to dramatic changes in temperature. Finding it stressful, the whole experience of being away from home. Getting used to unfamiliar ingredients and new flavours. There are a whole host of reasons why the fine-tuning of the digestive system may end up a little out-of-whack.

"The disruption of one's normal routine/schedule is inevitable when one travels. But eating poorly is controllable by the individual. People really need to look at their food choices either while traveling or at home. They don't realize that there are simple preventative solutions which may help alleviate bouts of digestive discomfort that can occur on the road," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Where possible, include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your holiday diet. But make sure that you pack some non-perishable dried fruit, too – like Sunsweet prunes. Prunes are known to help maintain good digestive health. And the whole family will love their super-sweet flavour.

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health and we’re more than delighted to share our expert insights. Check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And – for even more comprehensive info - why not 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.

There's lots to love about yoga!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Whether you're a man or a woman, a child or a pensioner, whether you're looking for a strenuous workout or a more relaxing - even spiritual - practice, there's a style of yoga to suit you. And don't worry, uber-bendiness and hippy-print harem pants are optional. But the health benefits that you'll experience aren't. From boosting digestion to alleviating chronic conditions, there's lots to love about yoga!

International Yoga Day

The first UN International Yoga Day took place in 2015, in recognition of:

  • The holistic benefits of the practice and its compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations
  • How crucial it is for us all to make healthy lifestyle choices and to develop habits that support our physical and emotional wellbeing

Will you be inspired by this year's event – on the 21st June – to give yoga a go?

History

The idea of an International Yoga Day was first mooted by the United Nations after a compelling proposal from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his proposal, Modi stated that, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The World Health Organization has implored member states to take steps to address the growing inactivity of individual citizens – an unhealthy trend that is a key risk factor in diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit committed to clinical practice, education and research - the potential health benefits of yoga include:

  • Stress reduction, a better night's sleep, improved mood and an enhanced sense of well-being
  • Improved fitness, balance, flexibility and strength
  • Management of chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure

Something for Everyone

Whatever your age or ability level, there's a yoga style and approach that is just right for you. From active kids who need an opportunity to wind down, after a hectic day juggling school, homework and after-school activities. To elderly people and those who are less mobile and would appreciate the mind, body and spirit benefits of a gentle armchair practice.

Here are a few of the more popular styles:

  • Hatha yoga is a foundation of all yoga styles and can be a good choice if you're looking to improve flexibility. It’s controlled breathing can help improve oxygenation of the body and alleviate stress.
  • Iyengar yoga: Using Props - belts, blocks and pillow-like bolsters – that assist with correct alignment, it is gentle and can work well for those with an injury or a chronic condition.
  • Ashtanga yoga can offer a new challenge for those who already have a decent level of fitness.
  • Bikram Toya: Bikram yoga is the favourite of anyone who loves to sweat! The poses are done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins and designed to provide a challenging, invigorating, rejuvenating yoga experience.

Whatever style you choose, an initial one-to-one session with an experienced teacher can be really worthwhile, to assess your unique needs and to get you off to the best possible start.

Find yourself a nearby class, get yourself signed up for a course and enjoy the sensations of lightness, ease and relaxation that will surely follow. Bliss!

PS If you're feeling inspired about getting your body moving, why not download our Healthy Living Guide? Good luck!

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.

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.

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.

Spring into a Healthier Lifestyle

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spring has well and truly sprung and the Easter holidays are very nearly upon us. This is a time of year when many of us - over the long, bank-holiday weekends - can take a well-earned break and enjoy the (hopefully!) improved weather. There really is no better season than the spring for laying new foundations for a healthier lifestyle for the months to come.

Outdoor Fun

The onset of brighter and warmer and longer days makes the great outdoors feel even more appealing than ever. Having the support of your friends and family is a very strong motivator for getting – and staying – active. But, let’s face it, getting active with a gaggle of buddies is just more fun! Exercise really doesn’t feel like exercise when it involves gathering together a fun-loving group – the more the merrier - and larking about outside. All you need to do is tailor your activities to suit the age and agility of your group and get stuck in. From horse-riding to hide and seek. From golf to geocaching. From tree-climbing to tennis. From surfing to sand-castle building. The only real rules? Have lots and lots of fun!

Our top three tips for alfresco exercise:

  1. Ring the Changes:

    Get together with your getting-active group – ahead of time - to brainstorm ideas for activities, to keep things fresh and fun.

  2. Get Scheduling:

    Synchronise calendars, set a date and a time and stick to it – no matter what the weather. A few spots of rain should definitely not stop play!

  3. Fuel the Fun:

    There’s nothing like exercising out-of-doors to work up an appetite! Why not check out our recipes pages for a whole host of yummy and portable, prune-related ideas?

Rainy Day Activities

And if the weather lets you down? Buzz on over to our Easter section where you’ll find a trio of Easter-themed projects to choose from. Kids of all ages will just love our colourful craft activities. There are printable templates and easy-to-follow instructions to create Baby Chick Easter Decorations, Bunny Rabbit Pen and Pencil Holders and Bunny Boxes. And if you find yourself with some spare time over the bank-holiday weekend? You could always rustle up a batch of sweeties – check out our recipe pages for inspiration – and present them, as gifts, in one of our Bunny Boxes.

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.

Exercise: the “miracle” cure. Tips on how to make it work for you!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 17, 2016

They call it the ‘miracle cure’...it’s free, has immediate effect, it’s sociable, fun, suitable for all ages, good weather, bad weather, and, there’s now scientific evidence to prove it can help not only reduce your risk of succumbing to major illness but also help you lead a healthier and ever happier life. It's...exercise! Did that come as something of a surprise?

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” so says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

The many benefits of regular exercise

And it's true that the positive arguments for regular exercise certainly cannot be overstated. People who exercise typically experience health benefits in the following areas, amongst many others, meaning that they can enjoy a healthier and even happier life:

  • Digestive health
  • Coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Osteoarthritis, hip fracture and falls (in older adults)
  • Depression
  • Dementia

*Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx

How much should we be getting?

Although daily activity is important, adults should generally be aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise over the course of a typical week. Over the winter though, when the days are short, the weather is lousy and – at Christmas, in particular – the demands on our time are dizzying, it can be all too easy to let healthy habits slide. But spring is the perfect time for a fresh start, to overhaul routines for healthy living, to shake off that sense of winter sluggishness – both mental and physical - and to step towards the summer with confidence, positivity and bags of energy. So what are you waiting for?

5 tips to get you moving!

  1. Choose something that you really enjoy whether that's running or cycling or bopping around the house like a teenager!
  2. Team up with similarly enthusiastic people, you'll up the fun quotient and be much more likely to stick to the arrangements that you've made.
  3. Multi-task. We're all busy, these days, so bundling activities together might help to boost your motivation. Spend time with the kids, exercise the dog and get yourself hot and sweaty by organising a high-intensity kick-about in the park. Roll up your sleeves, pump up the stereo and spring clean the house. You get the idea!
  4. Make moving your body an integral part of your day-to-day life. If you need to make an extra special effort, you might find that you start to make excuses or that exercise slips off your priority list.
  5. And finally... Try not to make excuses. Yes, our lives are generally more sedentary these days. Yes, we are increasingly tied to our technology. But if you're not going to take responsibility for your own health, then who is?

Fuel that workout!

For a nutrient-packed and perfectly portable pre-workout snack, why not consider the not-so-humble prune? Naturally sweet, prunes have a low GI meaning that they release their energy relatively slowly to satisfy your sweetie-cravings without giving you the short-term energy rush and sugar-crash of so many other snacks. Prunes are scientifically-proven to help with digestion, a great way to help overcome sensations of inner sluggishness. You might be interested in our Digestion 101, too, to discover more about the health boosting properties of prunes.

Have a 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.