by Shubhra Krishan Follow Shubhra at @eskrishan
Think prunes and the first word that pops into the mind is probably something along the lines of “digestion.” For centuries, grandmas have encouraged us to eat prunes for keeping things smooth and regular. Besides, this dried and wrinkled avatar of plums is quite delicious, too.
But their ability to strengthen bones should make you reach out for prunes more often.
A research study conducted at the Florida State University in Tallahassee studied the effect of eating prunes on postmenopausal women. It found that women who ate prunes every day for a year did not suffer loss of bone mass in the spine and forearm. The key ingredients that make prunes so effective in preserving bone health are phenolic and flavonoid compounds, both known to improve bone mass. Prunes are also a rich source of boron, potassium and Vitamin K, each of which is beneficial for bones.
Fifty-eight postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were randomly assigned to consume either 100 g dried plums or 75 g dried apples daily for 3 months. Both dried fruit regimens provided similar amounts of calories, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber. Serum and urinary biochemical markers of bone status were assessed before and after treatment.
The result? Women who consumed dried plums significantly increased the bone mineral density of ulna and spine in comparison with dried apple.
The results of this study suggest that prunes could go beyond preventing bone loss–they could, in fact, reverse loss of bone mass as well. Arjmandi BH, who led the research, points out that “Loss of bone volume accompanied by loss of trabecular connectivity is generally believed to be an irreversible process, but our observations suggest that dried plum improves trabecular microstructure of tibia after losses have already occurred may exert positive effects on bone in postmenopausal women.”
Not looking to eat prunes every day? Other foods that are great for bone health include leafy greens, seeds, nuts and beans.