Healthy Hollywood: Natalie Coughlin's Nutritional Splash!

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Natalie Coughlin - California Dried Plums -- The California Dried Plum Board
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Natalie Coughlin - California Dried Plums -- The California Dried Plum Board

12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin knows a thing or two about staying physically fit. Even when she's not competing, the swimming champ loves to work out hard and is passionate about healthy eating. The California-native sticks to a mostly plant-based diet and even grows her own vegetables.

"My diet has been so important for me as a swimmer because I'm constantly tearing down my body-whether it's training five to six hours a day, competing or just running around and being busy," reveals Natalie to Healthy Hollywood.

Natalie tells Healthy Hollywood that dried plums are one of her favorite go-to powerhouse foods. "They contain fiber and potassium, a mineral that is important for everyone but especially me as an athlete. I'm always recommending dried plums to my family, friends, teammates and coaches."

Natalie, along with nutritionist Leslie Bonci, teamed up with The California Dried Plum Board to get these fruits on people's wellness radar. "You can keep them stashed in your desk drawer, gym bag, purse or car so that you can easily enjoy something delicious on-the-go," reveals Bonci to Healthy Hollywood, and exclaims, "Dried plums are also a fabulous culinary ingredient and can make everything from appetizer and salads to entrees and desserts irresistible - and good for you, too!"

Yup! This is the same dried fruit that grandmas everywhere used to feed their grandkids to keep things moving. Now, dried plums are making a major food comeback. "The revival of retro foods are a popular trend right now and we're seeing dried plumb (aka prunes) - an American favorite all-along - take the spotlight for their various culinary and nutritional benefits," adds Bonci. At 100 calories per serving (4 to 5 dried plums), California Dried Plums are a great snack that'll keep folks satisfied and also help to promote bone health, heart health, digestive health and healthy aging.

"I've been snacking on dried plums right out the bag since I was a kid. Now, I love to cook with dried plums because they add a rich, fruity flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. I also use them as a substitute for fats and sugar when cooking - I have a brownie recipe that is out of this world," exclaims Natalie!

Check out Natalie's numerous recipes at www.californiadriedplums.org/recipes

-- Terri MacLeod

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