This post was written in sponsored partnership with our friends over at California Prune Board, helping me to help YOU energize YOUR nutrition. All opinions written here are my own.
Typically, in January, people are cued to set new goals for the year ahead. While many people in midlife are thinking about their weight, most are not thinking about their bones. I am, and you should too. Here’s why.
According to calcium expert Dr. Connie Weaver, bone health is a lifelong concern where calcium intake must be balanced by calcium losses. Calcium needs to be consumed each day to replace calcium losses in our bones, where our calcium is stored. As we get older, over time, if more calcium is withdrawn from our bones, there is an increased risk for bone fracture.
Calcium is important to get from our diet. Excellent sources include milk, yogurt and cheese. Other plant-based sources to consider include broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, tofu set in calcium, dried beans, almonds, blackstrap molasses and calcium-fortified orange juice.
However, there is more to bone health than just calcium intake. A recent study examined the effect of consuming 50 grams of California prunes/day during calcium and vitamin D supplementation, compared to calcium and vitamin D supplementation alone, among a small sample (48) of post-menopausal women (65 – 79 years). These women had osteopenia – meaning that their bone mineral density was not as strong, putting them at risk for osteoporosis – but otherwise, they were pretty healthy.
Among the 42 women who actually completed the study, they found that daily consumption of 5-6 California prunes for 6 months may help prevent bone loss in osteopenic postmenopausal women. This daily dose of 5-6 prunes was able to prevent the loss of total body bone mineral density compared to that of the control group (who only received calcium 500 mg/d and vitamin D supplementation 400 IU/day).
The study authors speculate that prunes may inhibit the natural process of bone resorption (or the breaking down of bone tissue) because prunes are rich in vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants, suggesting that, in addition to calcium and vitamin D taken by supplements, these additional nutrients may also be important for bone health.
While more research is definitely needed to further understand the relationship between prunes and bone health, we do know that what we eat and how we live, has an impact on our health. And that by adding a small dose of prunes (5-6) as part of our daily routine might be another tool to add to our arsenal of maintaining our bone’s health.
Nutritional profile of 5-6 dried plums:
6 ways you can add in prunes to your diet:
Recipe: Warmly spiced dried plum jam spread
Every December, my mom makes Vinaterta, a holiday recipe of a sweetened prune filling in between layers of thin sugar cookie. I especially love the prune filling and decided to adapt the recipe to make a lower in sugar, tasty prune spread to use throughout the year. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Click here for the recipe for Warmly Spiced Dried Plum Jam Spread.