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It’s time to embrace the humble prune …

Whip up enough bliss balls recipes and you’ll know dates have been the go-to all natural sweetener in cooking. The sweetness of dates allows us health foodies to skip processed sugar, however, dates can be very high in natural sugar. If you’re wanting to reduce your sugar intake and get some bonus health benefits too, nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge says it might be time to consider the antioxidant-rich prune. Here’s why.

Prunes contain less sugar

Yes, even natural sugar is still sugar. Some of our uber-heathy recipes call for one cup of dates and that is approximately 28 teaspoons of sugar! Evidence based research is revealing that too much sugar is associated with energy loss, brain dysfunction and metabolic issues.

One cup of dates 

  • 112 g of sugar
  • approximately 28 tsp of sugar

One cup of prunes

  • 66g of sugar
  • approximately 16.5 tsp of sugar

High in fibre

Prunes are high in insoluble fibre. A high fibre diet can help prevent constipation which can help decrease the risk of colon cancer and haemorrhoids. The insoluble fibre provides food for the ‘friendly bacteria’ in the large intestine and this creates the crowding out of bad gut bacteria.

Rich in vitamins and antioxidants

Prunes are a great source of beta carotene, Vitamin K and antioxidants. Beta carotene and antioxidants protects and fixes the damage of free radicals on the body which can in turn help reverse the signs of ageing while Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting, along with helping to strengthen bones. Research has also found that prunes have more than twice the antioxidant capacity of other high ranking antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries and raisins.

A great source of iron

With 1 out of 5 Australian women under 50 years old suffering from some form of iron deficiency, it is important to be finding natural ways to boost our iron intake. Brain fog, low energy, anxiety and depression are all associated with low iron. Whilst the iron content of a prune is not as high as a steak, when coupled with the natural vitamin C in this fruit you can enhance your body’s absorption of iron.

Recipe – Bliss Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1  cups pitted soft prunes for sweetness and fibre
  • 1 cup raw pecans for protein
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder for antioxidants and yum
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon for blood sugar stabilising
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper for taste buds dancing
  • 1/8  sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut to roll them in

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Roll into balls.  Then roll again onto the coconut.
  • Store for up to one week in fridge.
  • Indulge daily with a lovely cup of tea.

By Michele Chevalley Hedge for Body & Soul

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