PRUNES WITH CARDAMOM & LEMON ZEST

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PRUNES WITH CARDAMOM & LEMON ZEST2020-01-17T22:03:45+00:00

Ingredients:

  • 12 organic prunes
  • 4 dried cranberries
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1 organic lemon
  • ½ cup filtered water

Directions:

Soak prunes and cranberries overnight in the filtered water, keep refrigerated.

Next day, place the prunes in a small pan, and add the lemon zest and cardamom. Simmer the prunes gently on low heat for 10 minutes. Store in refrigerator, and enjoy as side dish with fruit salad or as snack.

Racy Lentil Paté

Health Benefits of Ingredients

Bladder Infections, Cystitis are helped by Cranberries:

For BLADDER INFECTIONS, CYSTITIS, cranberry appears to work by increasing the amount of hippuric acid in the urine and acidifying urine help decrease bacterial growth. Eating whole foods is always preferable to drinking cranberry juice which can be counteractive as it is often loaded with sugar. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most commonly acquired bacterial infections affecting more than 3 million Americans annually and cranberries have long been used as a folk remedy to prevent UTIs. In a 2012 meta-analysis, cranberry juice and tablets reduced the occurrence of UTIs compared to placebo in women with recurrent UTIs.1

Although the beneficial mechanism was historically thought to be due to the cranberry fruit acids causing a bacteriostatic effect in the urine, recent research is taking a harder look at the berry’s antioxidant proanthocyanidins content, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder.2

Recent studies have thrown shade on the brilliance of this berry’s curative powers, although simply staying hydrated and the juice’s diuretic nature in flushing your bladder may have protective effects against infection. The World Health Organization reports that E. coli, the leading cause of UTIs, is becoming increasingly antibiotic-resistant so if you are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) it is helpful to make this fruit a frequent part of your diet.

Recommendations: 4 cranberries daily.

References:

  1. Wang, Chih-Hung, et al. “Cranberry-containing products for prevention of urinary tract infections in susceptible populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Archives of internal medicine 172.13 (2012): 988-996.
  2. Howell, Amy B. “Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their role in prevention of urinary tract infections.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 51.6 (2007): 732-737.

Bladder Infections, Cystitis are helped by Prunes:

For BLADDER INFECTIONS, CYSTITIS, prunes appears to work by acidifying urine because bacteria that cause a urinary tract infection do not thrive in an acidic environment. Although dependent upon the type of bacteria causing the infection, using this food may have some benefits in eliminating bacteria or decreasing bacterial growth. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most commonly acquired bacterial infections affecting more than 3 million Americans annually and certainly keeping hydrated and flushing the kidneys and the urinary tract is helpful. Fruits like prunes are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidant phenols so they help promote detox and cleanse the bladder by being rich in fiber.

Although the beneficial mechanism was historically thought to be due to the prune fruit acids causing a bacteriostatic effect in the urine, recent research is taking a harder look at the fruit’s antioxidant proanthocyanidins content, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder.1  In the Western diet, fruit is the most important source of proanthocyanidins. The major sources are some berries (blueberries, cranberries, and black currant) and plums (prunes), with a content of about 200 mg/100 g Fresh Weight (FW). In vitro assays have shown that prunes had the highest antioxidative capacity among dried fruits.2

The World Health Organization reports that E. coli, the leading cause of UTIs, is becoming increasingly antibiotic-resistant so if you are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) it is helpful to make this fruit a frequent part of your diet.

Recommendations: 3 medium-sized prunes twice daily during infection; 1 to 2 daily for prevention.

References:

  1. Wang, Chih-Hung, et al. “Cranberry-containing products for prevention of urinary tract infections in susceptible populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Archives of internal medicine 172.13 (2012): 988-996.
  2. Pellegrini, N., Serafini, M., Salvatore, S., Del Rio,D., Bianchi, M., and Brighenti, F., “Total antioxidant capacity of spices, dried fruits, nuts, pulses, cereals and sweets consumed in Italy assessed by three different in vitro assays.” Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 50, 1030–1038 (2006). 

Constipation is helped by Prunes:

For CONSTIPATION, prunes have been the go-to fruit for natural relief as far back as 479 BC when Confucius mentioned them in a proverb or when Alexander the Great kept his troops on the move and introduced them to Europe. Today, prunes, or dried plums, are the second most cultivated fruit behind apples. Because 90% of consumers indicated they would rather eat dried plums instead of prunes, the prune lobby launched a massive rebranding effort in 2000 to help with this maligned fruit’s public image. This natural remedy works wonderfully which is good news as this frustrating and painful condition affects more than 20% of the world’s population.

Researchers from the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research selected 40 subjects with chronic constipation and pitted the prune against Metamucil®, a popular psyllium supplement. The researchers concluded that while both treatments provided constipation relief, the average number of bowel movements per week was significantly higher during treatment with prunes than with psyllium.1

Although the laxative mechanism of prunes is not fully understood, researchers suspect it is the combination of their rich, water-soluble fiber; sorbitol which is known to act as an osmotic laxative, and their polyphenols.

One cup of pitted, uncooked prunes contains 12 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber is made up of the pectins, gums, and mucilage compounds located within plant cells which absorb water and slows digestion by decreasing the rate at which food leaves the stomach which also helps you absorb more nutrients from food. To a lesser degree, prunes also have insoluble fiber which adds bulk to the stool since it does not absorb water or break down as it passes through the digestive system. Made up of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose from plant cell walls, insoluble fiber can help regulate bowel movements. The skin of prunes also contains a chemical called dihydrophenylisatin that acts as a gentle stimulant laxative.

Prunes also contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that is incompletely digested and fermented by bacteria in the gut which draws water from the intestine and serves as a powerful natural laxative stimulant. The laxative action of both prunes and prune juice could be explained by their high sorbitol content (14.7 and 6.1 g/100 g, respectively).2 Prunes are good source of energy in the form of simple sugars, but do not create a blood sugar spike, possibly because of high fiber, fructose, and sorbitol content.

Although prunes contain higher levels of phenolic compounds than most other fruits, there is a lack of publications on the influence of drying parameters on the phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity3 so it would be difficult to summarize their role in helping constipation.

Recommendations: 7 medium-sized prunes twice daily.

References:

  1. Attaluri, A., et al. “Randomised clinical trial: dried plums (prunes) vs. psyllium for constipation.” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 33.7 (2011): 822-828.
  2. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, Maria, et al. “Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 41.4 (2001): 251-286.
  3. Piga, Antonio, Alessandra Del Caro, and Giampaola Corda. “From plums to prunes: influence of drying parameters on polyphenols and antioxidant activity.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51.12 (2003): 3675-3681.

Menstrual Cramps are helped by Cardamom:

For MENSTRUAL CRAMPS, cardamom has digestive, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Known as the ‘queen of spices’ in its ancient birthplace of India, this third most expensive spice in the world comes from the seeds of a perennial plant, Elettaria cardamomum, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans in medicines.

Menstrual Cramps (dysmenorrhea) are caused by the release of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins just before and during a menstrual periods. These normal uterine contractions taking place during the period tend to inhibit blood flow to the uterus lining and cause throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. For some women, the discomfort is annoying, but for others, the cramps can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the most common cause underlying menstrual pain is a combination of liver qi stagnation and liver blood stasis since the liver maintains a smooth flow in everything that works in cycles, such as the menstrual cycle. Herbs for menstrual cramps generally promote blood circulation and also warm the lower abdomen. Cardamom is considered warm and pungent, and is associated with the Lung and Stomach channels functioning to remove dampness and promote the flow of qi.1

Studies reveal that cardamom’s antispasmodic action is produced through muscarinic receptor blockage2 and it increases the level of glutathione which is a natural antioxidant.  Although there have not been many human studies, cardamom was one of the spices profiled in a study on herbal treatment of dysmenorrhea.3

Another theory is cardamom’s proven ability to safely suppress pro-inflammatory pathways. In vivo and/or in vitro studies4 indicate a reduction of pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-6 or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production, enhancement of anti-inflammatory IL-10 production, or reduction of cyclooxygenase-2 or nitric oxide (NO) synthase expression.

Moreover, cardamom or Elaichi is a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. Eating foods rich in magnesium works to absorb calcium and ease cramps while foods rich in iron helps to replace the iron lost during menstruation.

Recommendations: 1 tsp. of cardamom per day.

References:

  1. Murray M. The Healing Power of Herbs. The Enlightened Person’s Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants. Prima Publishing, 1992, pp. 203-09.
  2. Sharma, Shveta, Jagmohan Sharma, and Gurpreet Kaur. “Therapeutic uses of Elettaria cardomum.” International Journal of Drug Formulation and Research 2.2 (2011): 102-8.
  3. Bahmani, Mahmoud, et al. “Effect of Iranian herbal medicines in dysmenorrhea phytotherapy.” Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research 2 (2015): 519-526.
  4. Mueller, M.; Hobiger, S.; Jungbauer, A. “Anti-inflammatory activity of extracts from fruits, herbs and spices.” Food Chem. 2010, 122, 987–996. 

Surgery Recovery is helped by Prunes:

For SURGERY RECOVERY prunes relieve constipation, one of the most common side-effects that often makes the healing process more uncomfortable. Even if you have regular bowel movements prior to surgery, all surgeries are stressful and can take a major toll on your body. Pain medications, anesthesia, inflammation caused by surgical trauma, poor hospital diet, dehydration, stress, and reduced physical activity can work against your normal elimination pattern.

Eating foods that contain fiber can help to keep your digestive system running optimally and nourish the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Eating several prunes a day is one of the easiest ways to increase fiber since a ½ cup of prunes provides 6 grams of fiber or almost 25% of your daily dietary fiber requirements.

A colorectal surgeon recently led research into the management of constipation we was described as a very common condition that is “frequently managed suboptimally.” Their single-blind, randomized, crossover study1 has reported the superior effects of dried plums or prunes over the stool-bulking fiber supplement psyllium and found nature’s way to be superior.

Researchers from the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research selected 40 subjects with chronic constipation and pitted the prune against Metamucil®, a popular psyllium supplement. The researchers concluded that while both treatments provided constipation relief, the average number of bowel movements per week was significantly higher during treatment with prunes than with psyllium.2

Although the laxative mechanism of prunes is not fully understood, researchers suspect it is the combination of their rich, water-soluble fiber; sorbitol which is known to act as an osmotic laxative, and their polyphenols.

One cup of pitted, uncooked prunes contains 12 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber is made up of pectins, gums, and mucilage compounds that are located within plant cells. These absorb water and slow digestion by decreasing the rate at which food leaves the stomach which also helps you absorb more nutrients from food. To a lesser degree, prunes also have insoluble fiber which adds bulk to the stool since it does not absorb water or break down as it passes through the digestive system. Made up of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose from plant cell walls, insoluble fiber can help regulate bowel movements. The skin of prunes also contains a chemical called dihydrophenylisatin that acts as a gentle stimulant laxative.

Prunes also contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that is incompletely digested and fermented by bacteria in the gut which draws water from the intestine and serves as a powerful natural laxative stimulant. The laxative action of both prunes and prune juice could be explained by their high sorbitol content (14.7 and 6.1 g/100 g, respectively).3 Prunes are good source of energy in the form of simple sugars, but do not create a blood sugar spike, possibly because of high fiber, fructose, and sorbitol content.

Recommendations: 3 medium-sized prunes per day beginning the day before surgery; continue for a week following surgery.

References:

  1. Scott, S. Mark, and Charles H. Knowles. “Constipation: Dried plums (prunes) for the treatment of constipation.” Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 8.6 (2011): 306.
  2. Attaluri, A., et al. “Randomised clinical trial: dried plums (prunes) vs. psyllium for constipation.” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 33.7 (2011): 822-828. 3Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, Maria, et al. “Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 41.4 (2001): 251-286.