Health Professional Edition • Volume 7 • June 2011
 
 

Join Sunsweet® for a free webinar and earn continuing education credits! On July 14, Sunsweet will be hosting the third webinar in its Healthy Living Series. The webinar will focus on the power of juice and will be led by Patricia Bannan, MS, RD. You'll learn about the functional benefits of juice including how it helps the body maintain a healthy digestive system, contributes to "shortfall" nutrients and enhances a diet's nutrient density. Please click here for more information and to register for the webinar.

Click here to check out our webinar archives, including The Benefits of Super Foods and Antioxidants led by Katherine Brooking, MS, RD and The Sweetness of Fiber in Promoting Digestive Health, led by Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

 

Pass along these tips to your clients to help them snack smart!

Morning Snack: Set yourself up for the week on Sunday and make a supply of granola bars featuring two antioxidant-rich ingredients, prunes and peanut butter. These grab-and-go bars will curb your appetite between breakfast and lunch, and provide you with key nutrients. Get the recipe here.

Afternoon Break: Keep it simple. Mix a handful of almonds with Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend (which includes blueberries, cherries, cranberries and prunes, all in one bag). Stash a few of these snack bags in your car, purse or desk drawer so you have a healthy snack when that three o'clock craving attacks.

Midnight Munchies: Have a sweet tooth? Try replacing your late night candy fix with a handful of PlumSweets™, dark chocolate covered prune bits. The whole fruit antioxidants in prunes together with decadent dark chocolate will satisfy any sweet tooth and provide your body with an ultimate antioxidant snack!

*Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Iserlon, Skinny Chef.

 

Mothers are often advised by pediatricians to use it, pregnant women turn to it to ease pregnancy symptoms, and the elderly faithfully consume it, but what makes prune juice so effective? Keeping digestive problems at bay can be a challenge; yet for more than 90 years, Sunsweet Prune Juice has been the all-natural and trusted remedy to alleviate irregularity.

Naturally Nutritious

Sunsweet Prune Juice is an all-natural digestive health remedy – no preservatives, no added sugar – just 100% juice made from sun-sweetened prunes. Ingredients found naturally in prunes, such as fiber and sorbitol, provide a mild laxative effect, which in addition to potassium and magnesium contribute to the maintenance of a healthy bowel. Let's take a closer look:

Fiber

Dietary fiber is a term used to describe the non-digestible carbohydrates found in food substances which are important for potential health effects. A diet high in fiber is well-recognized for its role in supporting a healthy digestive system.

Breaking Down Fiber

Both soluble and insoluble fibers contribute to the health benefits found in prune juice, so let's break it down:

Soluble Fiber: Instead of giving a coarse texture to food, soluble fibers, such as those in oat bran, dissolve and become gummy or viscous. Gums and pectin are types of soluble fiber.

Insoluble Fiber: This group is known as "roughage." They move waste through the colon, decrease transit time and reduce the time that potentially harmful substances in food waste linger in the intestines. Insoluble fibers hold onto water and move waste through the intestinal tract without being digested themselves. Examples include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.

As a whole food, prune juice is a natural source of fiber. One standard serving (8 oz) contains 3 grams, which provides 12% of the Daily Value (DV) of dietary fiber.

Sorbitol

Although fiber may be more commonly associated with digestive health, sorbitol, a much less familiar term, plays an integral role as well. Prune juice naturally contains high levels of sorbitol, a sugar-like substance similar to glucose. However, unlike glucose, sorbitol is absorbed slowly into the blood, allowing it to hold water and increase the moisture content of the stools, leading to easier passage from the body. Prunes and prune juice are unique in that the sorbitol content is much higher than that of other seemingly similar fruits and fruit juices. Differences in the fruit's physiology, as well as differences in processing technology, influence the final pattern of sugar distribution in dried fruits (Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, 2001).

Potassium and Magnesium

When coupled with fiber and sorbitol, these minerals are vital to maintaining good digestive health. Potassium and magnesium work together to help regulate muscle contraction and relaxation of the digestive tract. Prune juice contains 430 mg of potassium per 8 ounce serving, which provides 12% of the Daily Value of dietary fiber, a perfect way to keep things moving. In addition, studies suggest that potassium may play a role in helping support cell energy by regulating fluid balance, nerve impulses and muscle contraction to increase energy (Ehrlich, NM).

With the natural ingredients of fiber, sorbitol, potassium and magnesium- Sunsweet Prune Juice is a natural fit for a healthy lifestyle.

References

- Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber, J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1716-1731.
- Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen P, Hussain E, Damayanti-Wood B, and Fransworth N. Chemical Composition and Potential Health Effects of Prunes: A Functional Food?, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2001;41(4):251-286.
- Piirainen L, Peuhkuri K, Backstrom K, Korpela R, and Salminen S. Prune juice has a mild laxative effect in adults with certain gastrointestinal symptoms, Nutrition Research.2007; 27(8): 511-513.
- Ehrlich, NM.. D. SD, Private Practice Specializing in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Phoenix, AZ.