For stronger bones, eat prunes (now marketed as “dried plums”), suggests a new study in Osteoporosis International, which included 48 older women, ages 65 to 79, with low bone density. For six months, the women ate prunes (either 1.75 ounces or 3.5 ounces a day) or no prunes, while also taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Those in both prune groups had no bone loss (while the control group had small losses), and they had decreases in a blood marker for bone resorption, indicating a slowing of bone breakdown. (Osteoporosis occurs when there is a net loss of bone through either too much bone breakdown, not enough bone formation, or a combination of the two.) Earlier research has shown bone-protective effects from daily consumption of 3.5 ounces of dried plums (which provide 240 calories and can have too much laxative effect), but according to this study, half the amount is as effective (and more manageable).
Prunes are rich in nutrients vital for bone health, including vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and boron, along with chlorogenic acid and other antioxidants that may help shield bones from oxidative damage. The research was partly funded by the California Dried Plum Board. Other fruits may also be beneficial to bones but were not tested in the new study.
Also see: New Tricks for Old Bones.