A Prune—or Six—a Day May Keep Inflammation Away

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Scientists who study physiology and in other biomedical research fields—including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology and pharmacology—network, collaborate and communicate about the latest research at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB). This week’s post reveals how prunes may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis after menopause. 

Dried fruit is a staple in many pantries because it’s shelf-stable, high in many different nutrients and a sweet treat. Dried plums—otherwise known as prunes—can stay fresh in the cupboard for as long as six months and, due to a high fiber content, may be used as a natural tool to fight constipation.

New research presented at EB this month suggests that snacking on prunes daily may be able to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mass that can increase the likelihood of bone breaks. Weakened bones is a risk of growing older for some people, especially with hormonal changes that occur during menopause. These hormonal changes—mainly the lower levels of estrogen that take place with menopause—can also lead to inflammation in the body, which contributes to bone loss.

Credit: Janhavi J. Damani, MS; Nicole C.A. Strock, PhD; Mary Jane De Souza, PhD; Connie J. Rogers, PhD, MPH

The researchers looked at the inflammation levels of postmenopausal women who ate prunes every day for a year and compared them to people who didn’t eat prunes. They found that eating six to 12 prunes every day led to lower levels of inflammation.

Janhavi J. Damani, MS, talks about the effect of prunes on inflammation.

The research team thinks prunes could be a promising—and easy—way to combat inflammation as people grow older. Even if you’re not “of a certain age,” you might want to think about tossing a package of prunes into your basket during your next shopping trip!

Erica Roth

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