Eat this for stronger bones

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Bone Health | Saturday, March 05, 2016 - 09:30 AM

Eat this for stronger bonesTime and time again, we are told that for strong bones we need calcium, but with a growing number of individuals who are lactose intolerant, achieving recommended calcium through dietary means can be difficult.

Although calcium is the primary mineral for strong bones, there are many other vitamins and minerals that your bones need as well. If calcium alone hasn’t improved your bones, you may need to find an alternative.

Well, there is some good news in the research for strong bones that reveals you don’t necessarily need to drink milk for strong bones. In fact, you can enjoy a healthy snack of the fruit variety, while still boosting your bone health.

Dried plums shown to improve bone mineral density

Sunsweet, the producer of dried fruit, has worked alongside the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) to uncover that consuming a low dose of dried plums (50g) can help improve bone mineral density. But how can that be when one cup of dried plums only had seven percent calcium? Well, it’s the other nutrients found in dried plums that give them their bone-strengthening qualities.

For the study, postmenopausal women consumed 50g of dried plums, 100g of dried plums, or none at all. The researchers observed tartrate resistant acid phosphatase-5b (TRAP-5b) over the course of three and six months, as it is a marker of bone resorption. They found over the three- and six-month time periods that TRAP-5b decreased in women who consumed the dried plums.

The researchers said, “These results confirm the ability of dried plum in improving [bone mineral density] in older postmenopausal women and suggest that lower doses of dried plums (i.e., 50g) may be as effective as 100g of dried plums in reversing bone loss in older, osteopenic postmenopausal women.”

Dr. Shirin Hooshmand who was part of the study said in a news release, “Our research suggests that the consumption of nutrients found in prunes, like potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, are important for bone health. The new Peak Bone Mass Study is an exciting addition to the growing body of evidence of the role of nutrition can play in developing optimal bone health.”

Older, postmenopausal women are at highest risk for osteoporosis – a bone disease – which increases the risk of fractures, negatively impacting a person’s way of life. Finding effective dietary means to help improve bone strength in this population is essential as it may not always be easy to exercise or to consume dairy products. Furthermore, prunes offer other health benefits as well. Being a high source of fiber, they promote regularity and fight off constipation, which is another common problem among seniors. So, why not improve many aspects of your health, bones included, by consuming a low dose of prunes daily?

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