By now, we all should know that foods can actually be used as medicine. In fact, many of the most powerful and effective natural remedies for osteoporosis and osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) are found in nutritious superfoods rather than “magic” pills.
Berries, apples, pomegranates, broccoli… We’ve all heard that these superfoods have exceptional nutritional value. But, there is one unique food that rarely gets attention. Despite research that shows it can help normalize blood sugar levels, aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol naturally, and offer intestinal protection, this snack now adds to its repertoire – studies show nibbling this food daily can prevent osteoporosis symptoms including fractures. So what is this truly unique “super” food? It’s none other than the Prunus domestica plant i.e. prunes or dried plums.
According to Florida State University researchers, postmenopausal women who regularly eat prunes have a considerably lower risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures compared to other women of the same age. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, noted prunes are phenomenal for bone health.
In this study, ninety postmenopausal women were divided into two groups. The first group consumed 100 grams of dried plums (about 10 prunes per day) and took 500 milligrams of calcium and 400 international units of vitamin D daily. The control group consumed 100 grams of dried apples per day and also took the same dosage of vitamins – 500 milligrams of calcium and 400 international units of vitamin D daily. Both groups had DEXA scans (a test for bone density) at the beginning and end of the study. At the end of the year, the prune group had considerably greater bone mineral density in the ulna (the bone in the forearm) and spine compared to those in the control group. The blood markers of bone breakdown were also significantly lower in the prune group.
“But I Do Not Like Prunes!”
Because prunes are loaded with fiber and polyphenolic compounds that reduce bone turnover, they should ideally be consumed daily.[3,4] However, in spite of the fact that they are a wonder food for preventing or treating osteoporosis, they do have a sticky texture and a strong taste so many people simply do not like eating them. Here are a few suggestions to make prunes easier to swallow:
If you are a peri-menopausal or menopausal woman, I would recommend that you follow one of the above approaches to get prunes into your daily diet – your osteoporosis symptoms will likely stay at bay and your overall health will be rewarded by your efforts.
Other important nutrients for bone health include: Calcium (not calcium carbonate), Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vit D3, Vit K2, Boron, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Strontium, and Silica.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2001 May;41(4):251-86.
 Britrish J Nutr 2011 Sep;106(6):923-30.
 J Agric Food Chem 2000 Nov;48(11):5512-6.
 J Clin Endo Metab 2002;87(5):2008-12.
Original Article written by Jami Cooley, RN, CNWC