When you think of prunes, you probably think of a food that aids in digestion and keeps you regular. Although this is true, prunes can also benefit another aspect of your health – your joints.
A U.S. study explored the benefits of prunes among those with osteoarthritis and found not only did patients experience less arthritis pain, but bone weakness too.
The researchers found that women who consumed 50 grams of prunes – about five or six – had a reduced risk of bone loss in osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis caused by overuse. Furthermore, consuming 50 grams was equally as beneficial as consuming 100 grams, meaning you don’t need to eat a lot to receive benefits.
Researcher Bahram Arjmandi explained, “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. All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”
The researchers looked at over 100 postmenopausal women over the course of a year. Just over half of the women consumed 10 prunes a day while the others consumed 100 grams of apples. Forearm and spine bone density were then measured at the end of the study.
“In the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of three to five percent per year. However, osteoporosis is not exclusive to women and, indeed, around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women. 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. 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,” continued Arjmandi.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the bones wears away, causing pain, swelling, and impacting mobility. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age but obesity, injury, and family history are contributing factors.