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  • Christina Iaboni

California Prunes and Immune Health: What you need to know

This post was developed in partnership with California Prunes, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.


There is a lot of interest right now on how nutrition can support our immune system. Ultimately, there is no one single food, nutrient or supplement that acts as a “magic bullet” for our immune system but adequate nutrition is important in ensuring that our immune system works at its best to help keep us healthy. Focusing on eating a varied diet rich in whole foods and fruits and vegetables and minimizing processed foods is a good first step in ensuring you are well nourished.


In recent years, there has been increasing research on how the health of our gut (GI tract) can support our immune system. In fact, a large portion of our immune system is in our gut. Our gut is full of bacteria (there are trillions of bacteria in our gut) and we all have some good and some bad bacteria in us; it is important to have a healthy balance of good bacteria to help keep us healthy and reduce our risk for getting sick.


There are a few ways to promote more good bacteria in our gut. Eating foods with probiotics is one way. Probiotics are live organisms, such as bacteria, that when consumed, can have a positive effect on us. Foods with probiotics include fermented foods like Kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut and some are found naturally in our digestive tract. Getting enough fibre is also important and can help promote a shift towards having more good bacteria in the gut and help keep the bad bacteria “in check”. Most Canadians are only getting about half the recommended amount of fibre they need (men need 38gday and women need 25g/day). Eating California Prunes is a great way to start increasing your fibre intake, just one serving (5-6 prunes) contain 3 grams of fibre. Studies have also shown that people who eat prunes had slightly more bifidobacterial in their gut, which is a known good bacteria, and one that we want more of. If you are just starting to add more fibre to your diet, be sure to do it slowly to ease digestive discomforts. When it comes to prunes, most people can tolerate 5-6 prunes a day but again, be sure to do it slowly.


A great way to start adding some California Prunes to your diet is by making my No Bake Oat, California Prune and Almond Granola Bars. They are the perfect snack for that 3pm hunger strike, when we all crave something sweet or to wrap up and take on a long walk or hike. They provide some fibre, protein and healthy fat to help keep you feeling satisfied.


No Bake Oat, California Prune and Almond Granola Bars

Makes about 16 bars (you can cut them to the size of your preference)


Ingredients


1 ½ cups rolled oats

¾ cup chopped California Prunes

2 tbsp honey

¼ cup almond butter

¼ cup chopped almonds

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds


Directions:


1. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.


2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.


3. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and press down to cover thepan. Freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm.


4. Cut into squares and enjoy!


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