Washington: Dried plums have been found to have a positive effect on bone health, and a Florida State University researcher has said that eating them could help prevent fractures and osteoporosis.
Bahram H. Arjmandi, Florida State`s Margaret A. Sitton Professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences, and a group of researchers from Florida State and Oklahoma State University conducted the research.
"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," Arjmandi, said.
"All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional," Arjmandi revealed.
The team tested two groups of postmenopausal women over a 12-month period.
The first group, consisting of 55 women, was instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums (about 10 prunes) each day, while the second - a comparative control group of 45 women - was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples.
All of the study`s participants also received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D (400 international units).
The group that consumed dried plums had significantly higher bone mineral density in the ulna (one of two long bones in the forearm) and spine, in comparison with the group that ate dried apples.
This, according to Arjmandi, was due in part to the ability of dried plums to suppress the rate of bone resorption, or the breakdown of bone, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth as people age.
Arjmandi encourages people who are interested in maintaining or improving their bone health to take note of the extraordinarily positive effect that dried plums have on bone density.
"Don`t wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine. Do something meaningful and practical beforehand," Arjmandi said.
"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," Arjmandi added.
The group`s research, ``Comparative Effects of Dried Plum and Dried Apple on Bone in Post Menopausal Women``, was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.