How to keep your bones strong, ladies this is one is for you!
As they age, many women grow concerned about bone health. And with good reason. Progressive loss of bone mineralization accelerates among women, especially after menopause, and osteoporosis becomes a genuine concern. As bones lose their mineral content, they become more brittle, less resilient, and more likely to fracture. In fact, hip fractures are common among elderly women, and often lead to prolonged illness.
Many women are prescribed drugs that help prevent bone density changes. Others are encouraged to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D, to shore up natural bone “remodeling” activity in the body. Experts tend to agree that calcium from foods is best, but note that some women fail to get enough calcium through the diet, and so they may recommend supplements.
But according to a Florida State University researcher, simply eating dried plums may be the best solution for combatting osteoporosis.
"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," said Bahram H. Arjmandi, of Florida State's Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences. "All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”
In research reported in the British Journal of Nutrition, investigators showed that eating about 10 prunes per day was associated with significantly higher bone mineral density, compared to women who ate a similar amount of dried apples per day. In part, prunes work to preserve bone by preventing bone resorption, or breakdown. Bone tissue ordinarily undergoes a balanced cycle of resorption and rebuilding to maintain optimal mineral density. But in osteoporosis, the breakdown phase outstrips the rebuilding phase. Plums counteract this effect. That’s important, because osteoporosis is a serious threat to the health of aging women. And men, too.
"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.”
If you’re over 50, it may make sense to befriend the humble dried plum. "Don't wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine," Arjmandi said. "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.”
Interestingly, a new report concludes that prunes are also useful for preserving bone in cases of radiation exposure. Prunes are being suggested as an important therapy that could prevent undue bone loss in cases of occupational or medical ionizing (X-ray) radiation exposure. They may even be adopted to minimize bone loss among astronauts traveling in outer space.
A.-S. Schreurs, Y. Shirazi-Fard, M. Shahnazari, J. S. Alwood, T. A. Truong, C. G. T. Tahimic, C. L. Limoli, N. D. Turner, B. Halloran, R. K. Globus. Dried plum diet protects from bone loss caused by ionizing radiation. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 21343 DOI: 10.1038/srep21343
Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai, Raz L. Saadat, Mark E. Payton, Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Bahram H. Arjmandi. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S000711451100119X