Prunes Save Menopausal Women From Fractures And Osteoporosis…

No Bones About It: Eating Dried Plums Helps Prevent Fractures and Osteoporosis, Study Suggests

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A new study by a group of researchers at Florida State and Oklahoma State Universities on the benefits of eating dried plums, or prunes, had results that surprised even the nutrition experts.

Bahram H. Arjmandi, Florida State’s Margaret A. Sitton Professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences, said, “Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have. All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”

Arjmandi and a group of researchers tested 100 postmenopausal women, divided into two groups, over one year. The first group ate 100 grams of prunes (approximately 10) each day, and the control group consumed 100 grams of dried apples. In addition, the study’s participants all received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D (400 international units).

When tested at the end of the study, the prune-eating group had higher bone mineral density in the ulna (one of two long bones in the forearm) and spine, compared to the group that ate dried apples. This, according to Dr. Arjmandi says that this is partly because prunes, or dried plums, apparently help lower the rate of bone resorption, or breakdown, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth in older people.

Weak or brittle bones, or osteoporosis, can be a serious problem for postmenopausal women; about eight million women suffer from it in the U.S. Two million men are also affected.

Dr. Arjmandi encourages anyone who wants to improve their bone health to take note of the extraordinarily positive effect that dried plums have on bone density.

“In the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per year,” Arjmandi said. “However, osteoporosis is not exclusive to women and, indeed, around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women.”

“Don’t wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine,” Arjmandi added. “Do something meaningful and practical beforehand. People could start eating two to three dried plums per day and increase gradually to perhaps six to 10 per day. Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded Arjmandi’s research. The California Dried Plum Board provided the dried plums for the study, as well as some funding to measure markers of oxidative stress. Arjmandi conducted the research with his graduate students Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai and Raz L. Saadat of the College of Human Sciences; Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Florida State’s Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor and chairman of the Department of Geriatrics in the College of Medicine; and Oklahoma State University statistics Professor Mark E. Payton. The group’s research was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Source:  ScienceDaily (Aug. 17, 2011) —

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