I found this to be an excellent article from a free health newsletter to which I subscribe, and it's something many of us can do! Eat prunes!
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
November 17, 2008
Prunes Prime Bones for Growth and Repair
Prunes for fiber... for regularity... and sometimes just
because they taste good. But prunes for strong bones?
That's not what comes to mind for most people, but perhaps
that will change. In a number of studies prunes have shown
themselves to be great for your bones, helping to prevent
bone loss and repair bone density as well.
The man behind much of this research is Bahram Arjmandi,
PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, department
of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at Florida State
University in Tallahassee. He started this research back in
the 1990s, when he was approached by the California Dried
Plum Board. "I was skeptical," he says, "but I figured if
they wanted to fund a study I would take a look."Â To
his astonishment, he discovered that prune consumption
prevented bone loss in female rats. Still, he says he knew
a number of substances did that. The bigger question on his
mind was if prunes could rebuild lost bone... and they
actually did. In earlier research, Dr. Arjmandi had
searched for "bone builders" in growth hormone, growth
factors, raisins, dates, blueberries and more. Prunes
out-performed all of them, he says.
PROOF THAT PRUNES BUILD BONES
Dr. Arjmandi is currently conducting a clinical study
funded by the US Department of Agriculture and the
California Dried Plum Board comparing the effects of dried
apples versus prunes on bone mineral density in
post-menopausal women. He says that thus far 30 women in
the prune group have had at least a 6% increase in hip bone
(a critical area for maintaining strong bones) and that one
woman had aÂ notable 11% increase over her baseline
measurement. In earlier preliminary data, all prune-eaters
showed at least some improvement in bone mass by six months
into the trial, he says. Final results of the present study
will be available in March 2009.
Research to determine what substance in prunes creates
improved bone mineral density has been done in conjunction
with a team from Oklahoma State University. It revealed
that particular polyphenols in the dried fruitÂ achieve
two effects -- they up-regulate growth factors linked to
bone formation and they counter the activity of tumor
necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), an inhibitor of bone
formation. Prunes also contain potassium and boron (a trace
mineral), both believed to contribute to bone mineral
Interestingly, consumption of fresh plums has not been
shown to substitute for prunes in matters of bone benefits,
says Dr. Arjmandi. The reason: Only certain kinds of plums
become prunes. Dr. Arjmandi's team used an offshoot of La
petite d'Agen, a native of Southwest France, which at
maturity has a royal purple outer skin and amber colored
flesh. This is the commercially available dried plum/prune.
So, while all prunes are dried plums (the preferred name
these days), most fresh plums cannot become prunes.
If you want to boost prune consumption, go slow. Dr. Arjmandi advises starting with just three prunes, and increasing to nine or 10 per day as you adjust to the fiber levels. Because prunes are so low on the glycemic scale, they shouldn't be a problem for people with diabetes, he adds.
Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor
and Chair, department of nutrition, food and exercise
sciences at Florida State University, Tallahassee.
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
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