Article written by ScienceDaily, posted
ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2011) — When it comes to improving bone health in postmenopausal women -- and people of all ages, actually -- a Florida State University researcher has found a simple, proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis: eating dried plums.
"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," said 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. "All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional."
Arjmandi and a group of researchers from Florida State and Oklahoma State University tested two groups of postmenopausal women. Over a 12-month period, the first group, consisting of 55 women, was instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums (about 10 prunes) each day, while the second -- a comparative control group of 45 women -- was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples. All of the study's participants also received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D (400 international units).
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.
The group's research, was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Arjmandi conducted the research with his graduate students Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai and Raz L. Saadat of the College of Human Sciences; Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Florida State's Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor and chairman of the Department of Geriatrics in the College of Medicine; and Oklahoma State University statistics Professor Mark E. Payton.
In the United States, about 8 million women have osteoporosis because of the sudden cessation of ovarian hormone production at the onset of menopause. What's more, about 2 million men also have osteoporosis.
"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," Arjmandi said. "However, osteoporosis is not exclusive to women and, indeed, around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women."
Arjmandi encourages people who are interested in maintaining or improving their bone health to take note of the extraordinarily positive effect that dried plums have on bone density.
"Don't wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine," Arjmandi said. "Do something meaningful and practical beforehand. People could start eating two to three dried plums per day and increase gradually to perhaps six to 10 per day. Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded Arjmandi's research. The California Dried Plum Board provided the dried plums for the study, as well as some funding to measure markers of oxidative stress.
Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai, Raz L. Saadat, Mark E. Payton, Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Bahram H. Arjmandi. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S000711451100119X
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Born in 1483, Thomas Parr is said to have lived to the incredible age of 152! If true, that means he saw 10 sovereigns on the throne of England, including the entire 50-year reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1635, King Charles I invited Parr to his palace and inquired as to how the old man managed to have such a long life. Parr answered that he had lived a simple life as a farmer eating mostly potatoes, fruit, and oatmeal.
Unfortunately, "Old Parr" was not accustomed to the rich foods served at the palace. That night after dining, he became very ill - and died. King Charles felt so terrible for having killed Britain's oldest citizen with royal delicacies that he commanded Parr be buried in Westminster Abbey, where his grave can still be seen today.
It appears that Parr was living proof of the connections between a stronger life and what you eat.
Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? One study found that participants in the Alameda County Health Study who exercised regularly had less incidence of hearing loss. The study also found that the overall rate of hearing loss had doubled between 1965 and 1994: even more reason to shout about the benefits of exercise!
Use it; don't eat it.
Read meat is red because it is primarily composed of type II muscle fibres, which require a large amount of oxygen-rich blood. Studies have shown that consuming red meat actually increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.
The digestion process starts before you eat. It begins when you smell something irresistible or when you see a favourite food. The entire process of digestion will continue for the next 29 hours or so.
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