Plums may protect older women from osteoporosis, the Penn State study says

By Megan, CC license

A handful of prunes a day protects older women from osteoporosis, according to new research.

Levels of estrogen, the bone-stimulating hormone, decrease after menopause, causing increased inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to bone loss.

Dried plums contain vital chemicals that mimic it.

They are rich in antioxidants that lessen inflammation and destroy harmful free radicals.

Those over 50 who regularly snacked on it were less prone to the disease that leaves people with brittle bones that increase the risk of fractures.

The condition affects three million British adults, mostly women. Each year 300,000 people suffer a “fragility fracture” from falling to their feet or not.

They cause significant pain, disability and loss of independence. More than 1,000 people die from them every month.

Previous research has shown that plums contain extracts of polyphenols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation.

They promote lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation in a type of bone cell called osteoclasts.

Researchers from the Integrative and Biomedical Physiology Program and the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University explored the effects of prunes on bone health after menopause.

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The study of 235 women with a low defined bone mineral density score is the first to demonstrate the benefit of simple dietary change.

The postmenopausal women were divided into three groups: one who ate 50g of plums (about six) a day for 12 months, one who ate 100g of plums (about 12) a day for 12 months, and a group of check that he has not eaten plums.

The research team looked at blood samples taken from all volunteers before and after the study and found significant reductions in inflammatory markers in both the plum-eating groups compared to the control group.

The study’s first author, PhD student Janhavi Damani, said, “Our findings suggest that consuming six to 12 prunes per day may reduce pro-inflammatory mediators that can contribute to bone loss in postmenopausal women.

“Hence, prunes could be a promising nutritional intervention to prevent the increase in inflammation mediators often seen as part of the aging process.”

Lead author, Professor Mary Jane De Souza, of Pennsylvania State University, said, “It is exciting that data from our large randomized controlled trial of postmenopausal women showed that consumption of five to six prunes a day has shown the benefit of protecting against hip bone loss.

“Our data supports the use of prunes to protect the hip from bone loss after menopause.

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“Indeed, these data may be particularly valuable for postmenopausal women who cannot take drug therapy to combat bone loss and need an alternative strategy.”

At less than 100 calories per serving, prunes are a nutrient-dense fruit that packs a powerful punch of vitamins and nutrients.

They also contain boron, potassium, copper and a cocktail of healthy plant compounds that are good for your bones.

They are considered a “superfood” to improve intestinal bacteria, slow aging, fight iron deficiency, diabetes and heart disease.

This study was published in Advances in Nutrition.

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