(NaturalNews) A study recently conducted by a team of researchers at Florida State and Oklahoma University, and featured in the esteemed British Journal of Nutrition, reveals that consuming a handful of natural, dried plums every day will help prevent fractures and osteoporosis in the elderly.
This is great news especially for postmenopausal women, who commonly struggle with the loss of bone density and an increased risk of fracture. While bone frailty and osteoporosis can affect older individuals of both genders, a clear correlation exists between the decrease of estrogen production and the onset of osteoporosis in females. According to recent statistics, in the United States alone, over 8 million women and 2 million men are affected by osteoporosis.
The science team, led by Bahram H. Arjmandi – Florida State's Margaret A. Sitton Professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences, conducted tests over a 12 month period on two groups of postmenopausal women. The test group comprised of 55 women who were instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums per day, while the control group consisted of 45 women who were advised to eat 100 grams of dried apples each day. To complement their diets, all participants in the study received daily supplements of calcium (500 mg) and vitamin D (400 units).
Professor Arjmandi's team tested samples of bone tissue from the ulna (one of the long forearm bones) and the spine, and they concluded that the test group who consumed dried plums showed a significantly higher mineral bone density when compared to the control group that consumed dried apples. Arjmandi explained that this was partly a result of the plums' ability to decrease the rate of bone resorption – a biological process by which minerals contained in bone tissue are released and transferred to the bloodstream. In younger adults, this process is countered by the body's ability to swiftly regenerate bone tissue; however, as people age, the rate of new bone growth falls behind the resorption rate.
During the course of his career, Arjmandi has studied and compared numerous fruits, including figs, dates, raisins, and strawberries, pointing out that "none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have." He added that "in the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per year", while "around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women." This makes dried plums an amazingly useful natural resource for middle aged individuals who are interested in maintaining long term bone health and durability.
Professor Arjmandi concluded by warning potential patients against waiting to be diagnosed with osteoporosis before seeking ways to improve their bone health. He said: "Don't wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis… Do something meaningful and practical beforehand. People could start eating two to three dried plums per day and increase gradually to perhaps 6 to 10 per day. Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes."
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Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.