According to researchers, plums and prunes have been touted as the most powerful of all foods for helping with osteoporosis.
By Dawn Flemming
Over 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis worldwide. The largest segment of people who suffer from it are menopausal women over the age of 50. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle and susceptible to fracture.
It is thought that the modern diet is responsible for osteoporosis. One of the main factors is high salt-intake. We previously wrote that
In one study, it was shown that for every 100 mmol increase in salt consumption, 1.4 mmol of urinary Ca was increased. In parallel to this, decrease in salt consumption led to a reduction of calcium excretion. In fact, a reduction of salt consumption from 10 to 5g per day would result in the same effect to hip bone density as an increase in consumption of calcium of 1000 mg per day which is very difficult to attain without consuming supplements.
But good diets can also have positive effects and fight osteoporosis. Out of all the foods we know of, plums and dates seem to stand out for their benefits.
According to Bahram 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,
"Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have,"
According his study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, menopausal women were asked to eat various foods and calcium supplements for a 12 month period. The results on plums stood out. According to Science Daily, it was concluded that
The group that consumed dried plums had significantly higher bone mineral density in the ulna (one of two long bones in the forearm) and spine, in comparison with the group that ate dried apples. This, according to Arjmandi, was due in part to the ability of dried plums to suppress the rate of bone resorption, or the breakdown of bone, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth as people age.
Prunes seemed to have had a great effect on the loss of bone mass.
Reversal may also be a possibility. We previously wrote how exercise, particularly weight lifting, could actually increase bone density:
The best kinds of exercise for building bone mass are weight lifting and resistance exercises. Resistance exercises include resistance bands. Weight lifting includes anything from leg presses to dumbbell exercises. The weight you put is not only on your muscles, but on your bones as well. The resistance and pressure that is put on your bones signals to your body that it must increase the mass of your bones in order to better protect them from injury. This is how wonderful and amazing the body is.
Good diet coupled with good exercise is an effective method in helping with osteoporosis related symptoms. Talk to your doctor to see what is right for you.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.