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This dried fruit could save your bones.

If you're concerned about keeping up an appearance of youth as you age, you may not like what I'm about to tell you. But stick with me. The benefits of this "aging" food can actually help you avoid a much more aging accessory --like a cast, cane, walker, or wheelchair.

Why would I tell you about an "aging" food? Well, the food itself won't age you. In fact, it can help you avoid one of the major pitfalls of growing older. And while you could call the food itself aged, the reason I described it as "aging" is that it does have a certain stigma attached to it.

Yes, it's prunes. Or--if you prefer--dried plums. I know prunes tend to be associated with "old people." You can hide them in the back of your pantry if you want. That is, as long as you still remember to eat them. That's because eating prunes can help decrease your risk of suffering an osteoporosis-related bone fracture, according to a study published in Osteoporosis International.

For this study, researchers wanted to determine if eating various amounts of dried plums could help improve bone biomarkers in women with osteopenia. Because prunes are known to have a laxative effect, they wanted to determine if eating a small amount could still benefit the bones so you can reduce your chances of experiencing a potentially unwanted side effect.

The researchers divided 48 postmenopausal women with osteopenia into three groups, one of which consumed 50 grams of dried plum a day, one of which consumed 100 grams, and one of which did not consume any dried plums. None of the women had osteoporosis, had taken prescription medications that could affect bone or calcium metabolism in the previous three months, had any systemic or chronic disease, regularly consumed dried plums or prune juice already, or were heavy smokers. All of the women (regardless of whether they consumed the dried plums or not) also received 500 mg of calcium carbonate and 400 IU of vitamin D3 a day.

Throughout the six-month study, the researchers regularly checked the participants' food records and biomarkers. By the end of the study, the participants in the control group had lost some bone mineral density (BMD), but the BMD of the participants in both dried plum groups had held steady. The dried plum groups also saw significant decreases in their levels of an enzyme that promotes bone resorption, while the control group didn't experience any changes in this area. Plus, the control group saw decreases in levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, but the dried plum groups didn't.

This study indicates that as little as 50 grams a day of prunes can have significant benefits when it comes to protecting your bone health. You might endure some teasing, but you'll have the last laugh when your bones stay strong and healthy. Of course, if you can't stand the idea of (or the taste) of prunes--or you just want to give your bones even more help--you can try Ultimate Bone Support (800-791-3395) to encourage healthy bone and collagen growth as well.

Hooshmand S, Kern M, Metti D, et al. The effect of two doses of dried plum on bone density and bone biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial. Osteoporos Int. 2016;27(7):2271-2279.

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Title Annotation:NUTRITION DETECTIVE; prunes
Publication:Women's Health Letter
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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