Dried Plums for Your Bones? You Bet!
Science Daily is citing a recent study on plums as medicine for osteoporosis, giving new hope for aging men and women who fear becoming dried up, wrinkled prunes in their golden years – sorry, I just had to say it.
Researchers from Florida State University and Oklahoma State University conducted a study, funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, on a group of post-menopausal women to determine the effectiveness of dried plums (prunes) in increasing bone density and defending against osteoporosis.
The 12-month study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, was led by Florida State Professor Bahram H. Arjmandi, and included two groups of post-menopausal women over the age of 55. In one group, the women consumed 100 grams of dried plums daily – about 10 – while the second group consumed 100 grams of dried apples. Both groups took daily doses of 500 milligrams of calcium and 400 units of vitamin D.
According to Professor Arjmandi, the group which took the dried plums showed a significant increase in bone mineral density in the forearms and spine, compared to the group who ate the apples.
"All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition,” says Professor Arjmandi. “But in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional because dried plums have the ability to suppress the rate of bone resorption, the process where the body breaks down bone.”
The rate at which our body breaks down bone tends to exceed the rate at which new bone growth occurs when we age, and puts both women and men at risk for osteoporosis. However, for post-menopausal women, this risk is slightly higher due to the loss of estrogen in menopause.
In fact, “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. But, osteoporosis is not just a problem for post-menopausal women. Also according to Professor Arjmandi, men start losing bone as rapidly as women do around the age of 65 as well.
Eating prunes to help with osteoporosis should be a preventative measure according to Professor Arjmandi, who cautions that we should not wait until we have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have a fracture before trying them. The good professor recommends that we eat two to three dried plums daily, and gradually increase that amount to up to 6 to 10 per day.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of prunes (or dates, for that matter) as they tend to remind of the very large black water beetles that I grew up around in Louisiana. Yeah, strange imagery, I know. But if you’ve ever had the opportunity to see one, you would appreciate my reluctance. But, I digress.
Truthfully, I’m all for participating in activities that promote good health. If eating a few prunes increases bone mineral density in my aging bones? I say, eat up, ladies!