Digestive health is the cornerstone of wellness and longevity. California dried plums, also familiarly known as prunes, are particularly helpful in maintaining healthy digestion. Here are some surprising and illuminating facts about California dried plums.
Strong Antioxidant Power
The California dried plums, or prunes as your grandmother might call them, have one of the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score on the scale, as reported by the USDA. The ORAC scale was developed to assess the antioxidant activity/capacity of food: the higher the score, the better the food’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that lead to cancer.
Additionally, a single serving, about 4 dried plums, has 3 grams of fiber; the insoluble fiber of dried plum helps with regularity. It also contains soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Dried plums are hands down one of the best foods for maintaining digestive health and helping to lower the risk of colon cancer.
I find that dried plums are delicious right out of the package. Often, I have them as a snack and the good news is that they require no refrigeration, so you can bring them with you wherever you go as a sweet treat.
Here is a delicious recipe that I like to make. It combines the natural sweetness of dried plums with the pungent leek for a wonderful fusion of unique flavors and healthy benefits.
Dr. Mao’s Chicken Leek Soup with Dried Plums and Quinoa
1 4-lb chicken
10 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 lb leeks, thinly sliced
3 stalks lemon grass
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lb California dried plums (prunes), sliced
1 scallion, chopped, for garnish
1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken, stock, leeks, lemon grass, celery and carrot in a stockpot. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Skim off any fat. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from carcass (discard carcass and skin).
2. Rinse quinoa in a strainer, drain and add to stockpot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is soft and fluffy, about 15 minutes, skimming off any fat. Discard lemongrass. Stir in salt and pepper.
3. Cut chicken breast into thin strips and add to stockpot along with dried plums (reserve remaining chicken for another use). Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
4. To serve: Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallion, if desired
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 499 calories; 13g fat; 484 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 37 g protein; 72 mg cholesterol; 5 g fiber
Lemongrass: An herb with long, thin, grayish-green leaves and a small bulb base. It contains citral, an oil found in lemon peel, which gives lemon grass its tart-lemon flavor and aroma. Lemon grass can be found fresh and dried in Asian markets. Lemon grass is also called citronella and sereh.
Quinoa: A grain, similar in appearance to couscous, has been called the “supergrain of the future,” containing more protein than any other grain. Quinoa can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores.
I hope your digestive system benefits from these healthy and delicious California dried plum tips and recipe. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
This material was prepared by Dr. Mao in conjunction with the California Dried Plum Board.