Chew on This: Prunes Could Be a Secret Friend for Your Bones!

Most people are well aware of the importance of getting enough calcium in their diets for maintaining strong bones. However, a study conducted at Florida State University offers some promising news in the fight against osteoporosis — the potential benefits of prunes.

In the study, researchers instructed 55 women to eat 100 grams of dried plums (prunes) each day, while 45 other volunteers were advised to consume the same amount of dried apples. All participants also took 500-milligram calcium supplements and 400 international units of vitamin D. At the end of the year-long trial, the scientists found that those women who ate prunes daily had significantly higher bone mineral density than their counterparts who ate apples.

So, what makes prunes so effective in maintaining bone health?

Prunes and bone health

One explanation for prunes’ potential to improve bone health is their ability to prevent bone resorption, or bone loss. Prunes are rich in phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties that can neutralize the free radicals responsible for bone resorption. By preventing bone resorption, it’s possible that prunes could help promote higher bone density.

In addition to their antioxidant properties, prunes are also a good source of essential nutrients that play a key role in bone health, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K. These nutrients are vital for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

Potassium helps regulate the acidity level in the body, which is necessary for bone health, while magnesium supports the formation of bone structure. Vitamin K, on the other hand, has been found to enhance bone mineral density and reduce fracture risk in both men and women.

Osteoporosis and its impact

Osteoporosis affects millions of people around the world, particularly older women and men. It’s a disease that gradually weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and breaks. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately one in three women and one in five men aged 50 and above will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

Lead author of the Florida State University study, Bahram Arjmandi, explains that postmenopausal women are particularly at risk: “In the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of 3 percent to 5 percent per year.” He adds, “However, osteoporosis is not exclusive to women and, indeed, around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women.”

As a result, it’s crucial to take preventive measures and maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Incorporating prunes into your diet

The study findings suggest that incorporating prunes into your daily diet could be a simple and effective way to improve bone health and potentially reduce the risk of osteoporosis. There are numerous ways to enjoy prunes, whether it’s snacking on a handful of dried prunes, incorporating them into your morning cereal or oatmeal, adding them to salads, or using them in baked goods and desserts.

While the study specifically recommended 100 grams of prunes per day, it’s essential to pay attention to your own body’s needs and nutritional requirements. As with any dietary changes, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate intake for your individual needs.

Other ways to maintain healthy bones

While prunes may offer potential benefits for bone health, it’s essential also to focus on overall bone maintenance through a well-rounded approach. Incorporating calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods, and ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin D through sunlight exposure, fortified foods, or supplements are also crucial for strong bones.

Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises can also help maintain bone density and overall bone health. These exercises put stress on the bones, stimulating them to grow stronger and denser. Examples of such exercises include walking, jogging, dancing, weightlifting, and yoga.

In conclusion, prunes may be a useful addition to your daily diet for maintaining bone health and potentially reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Coupled with other essential nutrients and regular exercise, prunes could be an essential component of a bone-healthy lifestyle.