New article re: prunes reversing bone loss

Check out this article:

This is very interesting and it sounds like it's worth trying. Has anyone else heard about this?

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Hi Judy, Yes I read this, a friend sent it to me and I think this recommendation has been around for quite some time. My problem is what I remember about prunes, and the idea of eating them again isn't something I would really want to do. However, I just found a SunSweet product that is sooo much better than the prunes I remember as a child with the thick heavy syrup. These come in a dried version, even though they don't seem like dried fruit to me. They also are individually wrapped, and come in a cardboard can that reseals. The thing that is nice about these is you can throw them in your purse or pocket since they come wrapped. The other thing is they don't dry out like the ones that aren't wrapped.

These prunes are much better than the ones my mom used to force on me that I really didn't like at all. So you might like to try them. I don't know if it will help my bones, there's so many things now that claim that, but regardless, they don't taste bad and help you in other ways--you know what I mean ;-)

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In the article, she said that soaked or stewed prunes are easier to digest. I wonder if you can soak the dried ones that you are talking about. How many are you eating per day? I like the idea of the dried ones because they are easier to take with you but I want to make sure they digest properly. Have you had any problems?

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JudySD: Yes, you can soak the dried prunes in water; that's what I do, and it does make them much easier to digest. They just need to soak for a couple hours.

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PikaB: Are you eating 9-10 per day? How many at a time? Are you also eating the SunSweet ones?

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Hi Judy: My husband just found these prunes a couple of days ago, so I haven't eaten that many yet, but I can keep them in the car or where ever. I don't have any trouble digesting them so it never occurred to me to soak them. I would try them first and then if you want to soak them go ahead, but the convenience factor would be gone after soaking.

These really don't taste liked they are dried at all. If I hadn't read the word "dried" on the can I never would have been able to tell that. They're real soft and chewy, but not the type of chewy you'd noticed with most dried fruits, which are much closer to being hard.

So test it out and see what you think, and soak if you like. These are the SunSweet Ones you mentioned.

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windblown: Thanks. I'll buy some of the SunSweet ones and give them a try.

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JudySD: Well my eating pattern is very eccentric. I usually eat about 25 prunes every other day, all at one time, nearly my last food of the day. (It doesn't bother me at all now, but during the two years that I was taking Forteo, I had to cut way back on the prunes or things would get loose.) I buy the house brand at Trader Joe's.

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And this is a recent research abstract on the topic:

However, as I recall, I was also eating a substantial amount of prunes during 2005 when my bone density worsened from osteopenia to osteoporosis.

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PikaB: I doubt that the prunes can hurt so I think I'll try them. I'm doing everything I can to improve my bone scan so maybe this, in combination with everything else I'm doing, will contribute to a better score. Thanks for the info.

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good read but 10 prunes a day. MAn talk about loose stools LOL

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Dear JudySD:

Prunes are known more for their outstanding ability to fight constipation than for their outstanding ability to slow down bone loss. Although all fruits and vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, only prunes and plums contain the specific chemical, dihydrophenylisatin, which acts as an effective laxative against constipation. Although many articles on prunes choose to caution us that prunes are high in oxalates, the only real defect of prunes, in my opinion, is that prunes are high in calories like all other dried fruits. Like osteoporosis, chronic constipation is a disease that gets worse as people grow older. One good strategy is to use prunes against both constipation and osteoporosis. The other good strategy is to use low-calorie psyllium husk capsules against both constipation and colorectal cancer and to eat high quantities of low-calorie vegetables against osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. Psyllium husk is grown and imported from India and is very rapidly increasing in popularity in the U.S. It's a good idea to keep your leftover prunes in the warmest part of your freezer or the coldest part of your refrigerator to discourage any possibility of mycotoxins or spoilage. Here are some of my many bookmarks on prunes and plums:

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Psyllium husk capsules are an excellent was to avoid constipation. They contain the same thing as Metamucil, but there's no messy, grainy liquid to contend with. I wish I'd discovered them sooner!

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Hi Everyone,

I recently received an enewsletter touting prunes for healthy bones.

I hate to pour cold water on something that sounds so good and so easy, but . . .

I "Googled" the topic and read a couple of articles. One of them had a concern that whatever it is that makes bones happy and promotes bone growth, also makes cancer cells happy and promotes their growth. They cautioned people at risk of cancer and with cancer that this may not be the best option for them.

Here is the link to the news about cancer:

"Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), while associated with greater rates of bone formation, is associated with both increased risk of cancer and faster rates of cancer growth. Growth factors after all stimulate cell growth. Maybe eating dried plums is not a good idea for someone with osteoporosis but who also has cancer. Or someone at risk of developing cancer?"

This is by Jacob Schor ND FABNO, July 18, 2008.

I was excited when I read the initial enewsletter. I think I will still try it, though.


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I bought the Sunsweet prunes a few days ago after I got the enewsletter. FYI: 5 prunes = 200 calories. So if you eat the 9-10 recommended, that's 400 extra calories a day.

I didn't think they'd taste very good, but they were ok.

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Dear creakylady:

Thanks for your excellent article on how prunes cause cancer but so many other foods prevent cancer. I wish I had the time to read every word in it (I only had time to read the most important parts). This downgrades my impression of prunes from "outstandingly healthy food choice" to "moderately healthy food choice." We now have 3 reasons why people should eat prunes only in moderation and not in excess: calories, oxalic acid, and cancer. I've always instinctively felt that choosing to eat fruits and vegetables because they had the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scores was not the best way to select fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention. We now can suspect with more confidence that prunes and green tea both have high ORAC scores and many health benefits but are close to useless for cancer prevention: Strangely enough, for reasons nobody understands, coffee drinking helps prevent liver cancer but has no effect on any other cancers: Caution: Caffeine has been shown to damage bone density and increase fracture risk in girls and women but not in boys and men: cientific-study-links-coca-cola-and-pepsi-to-long-term-bone-loss-in-women/ Anyhow, if we cannot rely on ORAC scores to choose our fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention, then we must rely on epidemiological (large population) studies to indicate to us which fruits or vegetables protect best against cancer. To make a long story short, here are the combined-by-me results from large population studies in China, Poland, Greenland, and elsewhere. The foods that reduced our risk of developing cancer most dramatically were: onions, green onions, red radishes, white radishes(daikon/turnip), radish sprouts(?), and fish fat. Tied for the silver medal (second strongest against cancer) were broccoli, broccoli sprouts(?), cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, garlic, leeks, chives, flaxseeds, soybeans and soybean products, and tomatoes and tomato products. Despite their low ORAC scores relative to many other "superfruits," citrus fruits came in third place (better reduction in cancer risk than with any other fruits tested).

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I forgot to add turnip greens to the list of strongest anti-cancer foods. Also, I forgot to add collard greens and mustard greens to the list of second strongest anti-cancer foods. Finally, I forgot to add all legumes to the list of third strongest anti-cancer foods. Many "superfruits," including acai, pomegranates, blueberries, etc., were not tested in these large population studies so we don't really know how well they would have performed. However, I do know that most foods with high ORAC scores are also high in tannin, a chemical classified as a weak carcinogen.

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I'm certain that plums contain many cancer-preventing chemicals in addition to the 2 cancer-causing chemicals that we've mentioned (IGF-I and tannin). Green tea also contains both cancer-preventing polyphenols and cancer-causing tannin. Cocoa powder contains both cancer-preventing flavanol antioxidants in addition to cancer-causing acrylamide. The thing we need to remember is that most fruits and vegetables contain a complex mixture of both cancer-preventing and cancer-causing chemicals. Frequently, the net effect of all these chemicals is to cancel each other out (as in the case of green tea and its inability to prevent cancer). That's why it's so important to select fruits and vegetables based on what actually worked in the real world and not what should work in theory (based on ORAC scores). Here are some web addresses:

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I correctly typed the first web address above but for some bizarre reason, it only works when I go to it from my bookmark of it. It doesn't come out properly when I click the address above, even on my own computer. The title of that article is "Dietary risk factors in intestinal and diffuse types of stomach cancer: a multi-center case control study in Poland." It was dated April, 1991. It was authored by H. Boeing, T. Popiela, A. Kulig, and 3 others with very long names. In discussing what foods eaten by Polish people affected stomach cancer risk in Poland, they concluded, "Increased consumption of sausages was related significantly to gastric cancer risk....A particularly strong decrease in risk was associated with consumption of radishes and onions."

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I would think the Sausages's that cause cancer , would be the high Fatty ones, and the ones with "Nitrate" & Msg in them!

We know that "Nitrate" in Bacon, sausage, Ham, hotdogs, Blogna, processed deli meats, and foods like that , do cause Cancer.

Read Labels.
Take Care,

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Dear April995:

You are correct. All the "processed meats" you mentioned above strongly cause cancer because they either contain or lead to the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are very potent carcinogens that, in quantity, will overpower any antioxidant defender. Even onions, radishes, turnips, and fish fat are no match for nitrosamines! For example, pickled cabbage contains both cancer-preventing antioxidants called thiocyanates and cancer-causing nitrosamines. Question: Would you expect people who eat pickled cabbage to have a very high rate of stomach and esophageal cancer or a very low rate of stomach and esophageal cancer? Let's find out:[A_comp arison_of_N_nitrosodimethylamine_contents_in_selected_meat_products] The good news is that prunes and other dried fruits generally do not contain any nitrosamines. However, substantial amounts of nitrosamines are commonly found in many dried meats and dried fish.

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