Better bone density achieved by simply eating more dried plums

There are many natural ways to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis later in life. One of these is eating more dried plums, according to researchers from Florida State University and Oklahoma State University.

In the study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers evaluated two groups of postmenopausal women over a year. Older women are more likely to develop osteoporosis in men. They lose an average of three to five percent of bone density each year during the first five to seven years of menopause.

For the study, one group, which was composed of 55 women, consumed the equivalent of 100 g or 10 pieces of dried plums per day; while, the second group, which was composed of 45 women, consumed the same amount of dried apples each day. In addition to the dried plums and apples, all the participants received 500 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 400 mg of vitamin D every day.

After a year, results revealed that those who ate dried plums experienced greater increases in bone density, particularly in the spine and forearm compared to those who consumed dried apples. (Related: Dried plums shown to be effective against fractures and osteoporosis.)

Bahram H. Arjmandi, one of the researchers and professor at Florida State University, revealed that he has examined other fruits, such as dates, figs, raisins, and strawberries, for their effect on bone health. However, none of the fruits he tested were as effective as dried plums in improving bone health.

The researchers believed that dried plums can improve bone health by inhibiting the break down of bones. Arjmandi suggested that people should take care of their bones as soon as possible, and not when one gets a fracture or an osteoporosis diagnosis. In addition, adults may want to start incorporating dried plums in their diets in their 40s and slowly increase to 100 mg per day.

Other ways to increase bone density

In addition to eating dried plums and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, there are many other natural ways to build bones and prevent osteoporosis. Here are some of them:

  • Try weight-bearing exercises: Weight-bearing and resistance training exercises promote the formation of bones and hamper age-related bone loss. For weight-bearing exercises, you can try walking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs, and skiing. For resistance training exercises, you can try to use free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, and even your own body by doing push-ups and chin-ups. If you are not a fan of weight-lifting, you can try yoga. A 10-year study published in the journal Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation discovered that practicing yoga for 12 minutes each day increases bone mineral density in the spine, femur, and the hips.
  • Have enough sleep: Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed in the morning. However, not everyone gets enough sleep, which can be harmful to the body. In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers found that both men and women, aged 50 and above, who habitually slept less than six hours each night had a greater risk of osteoporosis than those who get enough sleep.

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