(NaturalHealth365) Improving bone health and avoiding osteoporosis may be easier than we once thought. In fact, better bone density could be as simple as eating more dried plums.
In the U.S. alone, around 8 million women experience osteoporosis and a deterioration in bone health during menopause due to the sudden cessation of ovarian hormone production. However, it is estimated that around 2 million American men experience osteoporosis as well.
Dried plums superior for bone health than dates, figs, raisins, strawberries and apples
Dried plums for bone health and osteoporosis were studied by researchers from Florida State University and Oklahoma State University. For the study, the researchers tested postmenopausal women in two groups over one year.
One group of 55 women consumed the equivalent of 10 plums in dried form (100 grams) per day, while the second group of 45 women consumed an equivalent amount of dried apples. All participants also received 500 mg of calcium per day and 400 mg of vitamin D each day. At the end of the study, the dried plum group was found to have much higher bone density in both the spine and forearm.
Florida State professor and researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi has tested numerous other fruits including dates, figs, raisins and strawberries for their veracity in improving bone health. However, none have come close to the effectiveness of dried plums.
Both men and women at risk for osteoporosis as they age
It is believed that dried plums work by suppressing bone breakdown (resorption). Older persons, especially women, are prone to resorption exceeding the rate of new growth and regeneration within their bones. The effects of dried plums offer tremendous promise to women who face this issue as they age; however, anyone can improve their bone health with this natural solution. The research results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Women lose an average of 3 to 5 percent of bone density per year during the initial 5 to 7 years of menopause. However, men also face deterioration of bone health and bone density beginning around age 65.
Researcher Bahram Arjmandi encourages individuals not to wait to address bone health until you get a fracture or an osteoporosis diagnosis. Adults might consider starting to work dried plums into their diets in their 40s and gradually increase to 100 mg per day.
Additional benefits of dried plums
In addition to improving bone health and fighting osteoporosis, plums can bring a number of other health benefits. They are packed with antioxidants to support cellular health and the immune system. Dried plums help to regulate cholesterol levels, prevent obesity, improve cardiovascular health and boost the immune system.
They are also effective in regulating electrolyte balance, cognitive health, nervous system functioning, skin health and blood clotting. Additionally, dried plums can provide relief and protection from influenza, indigestion, anxiety, macular degeneration, diabetes, and even cancer.