When it comes to improving bone health, a Florida State University researcher has found a simple proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis – eating dried plums. The study, titled “Comparative effects of dried plum and apple on bone in postmenopausal women,” was published in the August 2011 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.
“Over my career I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins and not one of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes have,” said 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. “All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, that particular food is exceptional.”
Arjmandi and a group of researchers from Florida State and Oklahoma State University treated 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 2nd group, a comparative control group of 45 women, was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples. All the participants also received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D.
The researchers found that the group that consumed dried plums had higher bone density in the ulna and spine, in comparison to the control 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.