Can a handful of dried plums (prunes) save you from a long stay in hospital?
Osteoporosis makes the bones fragile so they fracture easily with very little force or stress. In the first 7 years after menopause, women can lose up to 5% of their bone mass every year. About 8 million women have osteoporosis after menopause in the United States and about 2 million men. After the age of 65, men begin to lose bone mass just as fast as women do.
So where do prunes come into the picture? A recent study has shown that eating dried prunes can increase bone density in postmenopausal women.
Over a 12 month period 2 groups of women were told to take 500mg of calcium and 400i.u. of vitamin D every day. In addition, one group was asked to take 100mg of dried plums and the other 100mg of dried apples every day. At the end of the study the bone mineral density in the ulna (one of the forearm bones) and the bones of the spine were noticeably higher in the women who had taken the dried plums.
Your bones are constantly changing. As bone is being produced in the body it is also being broken down and being reabsorbed. The density of the bone depends on the balance between production and resorption. The rate at which bone is reabsorbed increases with age. Dried prunes act by slowing down the rate at which bone is broken down in the body. This makes it easier to the bones to become stronger and less likely to fracture. About 6-10 dried plums should be eaten every day to achieve this effect.
As advised by the lead researcher, you don’t have to wait until you’re diagnosed with osteoporosis to start eating prunes. You can start out with 3 or 4 a day and gradually work up to 6-10 a day. Don’t forget your calcium and vitamin D which are also important in maintaining good bone health.