Researchers at Florida State and Oklahoma State University have recently conducted a study to test the efficiency of raw, dried plums in countering the breakdown of bone material in postmenopausal women. The team led by Bahram H. 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 – has concluded that dried plums, often included in raw vegan recipes, are by far more effective than other similar fruits (such as raisins, strawberries, figs and dates) in elevating bone mineral density and promoting overall bone health.
The study in question spanned 12 months and included a test group of 55 postmenopausal women that were asked to consume 100 grams of dried plums each day, and a second, control group of 45 postmenopausal women who were instructed to eat 100 grams of dried apples per day. To assist their diet, the participants in the study were also given a calcium and vitamin D supplementation. At the end of the 12 month period, professor Arjmandi’s team collected bone samples from both groups, and ran a comparative analysis of the recovered data, concluding that the test group had significantly higher bone mineral density than the control group.
Arjmandi revealed that dried plums have the ability to suppress the accelerated bone resorption process in older individuals, which ends up exceeding the body’s capacity to produce new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is more commonly encountered in postmenopausal women, as it is directly linked to the cessation of ovarian function. However, as Arjmandi explained, around the age of 65, men will also start experiencing bone tissue loss, as testosterone production decreases dramatically. “In the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per year,” he said. According to current figures, around 8 million women and 2 million men suffer from osteoporosis in the United States alone.
Stressing on the importance of seeking preventive measures rather than treating an existing condition, Professor Arjmandi advises middle aged women and men to start consuming a few dried plums per day, every day, for healthy and strong bones. He added that “all fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”
This study was included in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition and it was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The California Dried Plum Board supplied the dried prunes required for the research. Several notable scientists participated in this study, including Arjmandi’s own graduate students Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai and Raz L. Saadat of the College of Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University statistics Professor Mark E. Payton, as well as Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Florida State’s Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor and chairman of the Department of Geriatrics in the College of Medicine.