TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Dried plums, or prunes, improve bone health in people of all ages, but may be most helpful for post-menopausal women, U.S. researchers say.
Bahram H. Arjmandi of Florida State University and colleagues at Oklahoma State University tested two groups of post-menopausal women over a 12-month period. The first group, consisting of 55 women, was instructed to consume about 10 prunes each day, while the second group -- a comparative control group of 45 women -- was told to consume a similar amount of dried apples.
All of the study's participants received daily doses of calcium of 500 milligrams and vitamin D of 400 international units, Arjmandi says.
"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," Arjmandi says in a statement. "All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional."
The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found 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 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, Arjmandi says.