The evidence has been mounting over the last few years to suggest that eating prunes every day could equate to great things for the health of your bones. Today we would like to take a look at this tasty fruit to determine how helpful they could be for you and your bones!
What Are Prunes?
Prunes are the dried form of plums, of which there are over 40 different varieties. California is one of the most well known producers of prunes, and they are shipped from here all around the world! The South-West of France is also a large producer of this healthy fruit.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Prunes are a rich source of nutrients, such as vitamin K, magnesium and potassium. They also contain beneficial amounts of boron.
Studies have shown that not only does vitamin K improve bone mineral density in those who are also suffering from osteoporosis, but it also plays an important role in reducing the risk of fractures for these people.
Magnesium is one of the key minerals for bone health. It works to improve the strength of bones and also helps to maintain the firmness of the teeth. If there is not an adequate amount of magnesium present in the body then calcium absorption will be impeded. A magnesium deficiency can also impact how effectively the body can utilise vitamin D.
The role that potassium plays in preserving bone health is certainly under-appreciated! Research is ongoing, but shows that potassium impacts levels of calcium excretion, thereby helping to maintain the strength of bones.
It was only in the last few years that boron was discovered to be of benefit to bone health. The body requires ample amounts of boron to be present for it to be able to properly metabolise certain compounds that are essential for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
The high fibre content of prunes has led them to earn a reputation as having a laxative effect. One serving of prunes (approximately four prunes) will provide an impressive 2.4g of fibre. It is recommended by experts that the average person should consume around 18g of fibre every day.
Boosting Bone Health
Reversing bone loss is one of the most exciting potential health benefits of prunes. This can be of particular benefit to post-menopausal women who need additional help to keep their bones strong. The compounds found within prunes are believed to help prevent the process through which bones are broken down as part of the inevitable ageing process.
Antioxidants and Bone Health
The high antioxidant count of prunes contributes greatly to how effective they are at helping to maintain bone health. Antioxidants are praised for their role in combatting the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, and this is something that your bones should celebrate.
A particularly helpful antioxidant is quercetin. This antioxidant helps to combat inflammation and is also thought to reduce the detrimental impact that cortisol can have on your bones. High levels of cortisol in your body can occur if you are experiencing chronic stress. Quercetin is present in prunes and when eaten daily the presence of this antioxidant can quickly add up to beneficial amounts.
How Many Prunes?
Research has suggested that eating just six prunes a day could be enough to provide serious protection against decreasing bone strength. If you love prunes then this should be no problem but they may not be to everyone's tastes! If this is the case, and you would rather not consume this handful each day, then you can try adding a few into your morning smoothie. This will have a minimal impact on the taste of your smoothie but will give it a nutritious boost!
A Quick Word About Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is quite a serious cause for concern among the elderly members of the population. It has been predicted that over 10% of Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. Additionally, statistics show that 43.9% of the same group have low bone mass.
Osteoporosis makes the consequences of experiencing a fall much more serious, and leads to an increased risk of injury - such as bone breaks and fractures. You can click here to read more about osteoporosis.
When we consider that it is possible to obtain vital nutrients from certain food sources that help to maintain the integrity of our bones, then we can determine that we have the potential to take control of our own health!
Making Healthy Choices
Choosing to include prunes oin your diet every day is a great healthy choice to make. However, there are many things that you can do to help to protect your overall health as you age. Check out our article on Getting Active in Your Old Age and also discover how Arthritis and Obesity can often go hand in hand!