LivingDaily consumption of prunes could contribute to bone health

Daily consumption of prunes could contribute to bone health

Bone mineral density declines rapidly after menopause. We also know that women over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer hip fractures, which often lead to decreased quality of life, loss of independence, hospitalizations, and reduced life expectancy.

Now, new research concludes that daily consumption of prunes (dried plums; Prunus domestica) preserves bone mineral density in the hip and protects against an increased risk of fractures in postmenopausal women.

A serving of prunes

The study, which has been published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, reviewed research on 235 postmenopausal women , finding that prunes may help prevent or slow bone loss in these women (postmenopause typically begins around 50 years ) possibly due to its ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which contribute to bone loss.

“In postmenopausal women, lower estrogen levels can trigger increased oxidative stress and inflammation, which increases the risk of weakening bones that can lead to fractures,” said Connie Rogers, associate professor of nutritional sciences and physiology. and co-author of the work. “Incorporating prunes into the diet may help protect bones by slowing or reversing this process.”

Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million women worldwide and causes nearly nine million fractures each year. The prevalence of osteoporosis among women aged 50 years and older is expected to reach 13.6 million by 2030.

Although medications exist to treat osteoporosis, there is a growing interest in ways to treat the condition through the field of nutrition.

“Our data supports the use of prunes to protect the hip from postmenopausal bone loss . Indeed, these data may be especially valuable for postmenopausal women who cannot take drug therapy to combat bone loss and need an alternative strategy.”

The experiment

Postmenopausal women with a defined low bone mineral density score (a marker of osteoporosis) were divided into three groups: One group ate 50 grams of prunes (about six prunes) daily for 12 months. A second group ate 100 grams of prunes (about 12 prunes) daily for 12 months. And a third control group ate none.

The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from all the volunteers before and after the trial and found significant reductions in inflammatory markers in both groups that ate prunes compared to the control group.

“Our findings suggest that consuming 6 to 12 prunes per day may reduce pro-inflammatory mediators that may contribute to bone loss in postmenopausal women. Therefore, prunes could be a promising nutritional intervention to prevent the increase in inflammatory mediators that are often seen as part of the aging process,” says Janhavi Damani.

Prunes, on the other hand, have many nutritional benefits, including minerals, vitamin K, phenolic compounds, and dietary fiber.

“Prunes go with so many flavors and textures and work well for individualized nutrition plans. Toss them into salads, trail mixes, smoothies, savory dishes, you name it,” experts argue.

Referencia: Janhavi J. Damani et al. The Role of Prunes in Modulating Inflammatory Pathways to Improve Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women. Advances in Nutrition, published online January 3, 2022; doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab162

De Souza, M.J. (2022, March 24-26). Prunes preserve hip bone mineral density and FRAX risk in a 12-month randomized controlled trial in postmenopausal women: The prune study [Abstract presentation]. World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, online.


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