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Prunes Prevent Postmenopausal Bone Loss

Prunes Prevent Postmenopausal Bone Loss

A woman's risk for accelerated bone loss increases significantly during and for the first three to five years after menopause. Now, a new study suggests that prunes, one of the World's Healthiest Foods, can help women maintain strong, healthy bones throughout her life. Prunes are packed with bone-building phenolic compounds, boron and potassium'all of which play important roles in bone health.

Practical Tips

Here are a few of the World's Healthiest Foods' quick serving ideas to help you protect your bones by enjoying prunes oil more often:

  • Serve stewed prunes with rosemary-scented braised lamb and enjoy this Middle Eastern inspired meal.
  • Pur'e stewed prunes, season with cinnamon, coriander and honey, and serve with plain yogurt.
  • Prunes make a delicious addition to poultry stuffings.

To learn more about this delicious dried fruit, click prunes.

For some easy but exceptional World's Healthiest Foods' recipes that will help you enjoy prunes more frequently as part of your healthy way of eating, click on the the Recipe Assistant, select 'prunes' from the healthy foods list, and click on the Submit button. A list containing links to all our recipes containing prunes will appear immediately below.

Research Summary

When 58 postmenopausal women ate about 12 prunes each day for 3 months, not only did none of the women suffer any adverse gastrointestinal side effects, but they were found to have higher blood levels of enzymes and growth factors that indicate bone formation than women who did not consume prunes. Researcher Baharm H. Arjmandi, PhD., RD, Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Gerontology at Oklahoma State University thinks that the beneficial effects on bone formation revealed by this study may be due to prunes' high concentration of phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants to curb bone loss.

Not only do prunes contain large amounts of phenolic compounds (184 mg/100 g), they are also an important source of boron, a trace mineral which is thought to play an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Just one serving of prunes (100 g) fulfills the daily requirement for boron (2 to 3 mg).

In addition to their beneficial effects on bone health, prunes' phenolic compounds have been found to inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro, and thus may serve as protective agents against not only bone loss, but atherosclerosis-another chronic degenerative disease for which a woman's risk greatly increases after menopause. In addition to their rich supply of phenols, prunes' high potassium content (745 mg/100 g) also is protective of cardiovascular health.

Although this study only included women, researchers believe men can gain the same beneficial effects on bone and heart health from eating prunes.

References: Arjmandi B. Eat more prunes to prevent bone loss. Bottom Line Health Vol. 16, No. 5, May, 2002. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE, Hussain EA, Damayanti-Wood BI, Farnsworth NR. Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2001 May;41(4):251-86.

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