What can prunes do for your bones?

More news about prunes

I’m still receiving questions about my blog report about 6 prunes a day decreasing bone breakdown.  Many readers wondered how to eat prunes, and if they did, would they gain weight or get too much sugar.

Here are the answers to your most commonly asked questions about prunes:

What are some more easy ways to eat more prunes?

One of the simplest ways to eat more prunes is to puree them and use as a spread or sweetener in fruit-based smoothies.  To do this, make prune puree by putting one cup of pitted prunes and 6 Tablespoons of hot water in a food processor and mixing until smooth.  My favorite way to use the prune puree is as like jam on toast, and another good breakfast option is to include warm prunes with oatmeal.  Many tagines or stews also use prunes.  Maybe you even discovered some of your favorite holiday recipes included prunes.  Let me know your prune ideas in the comments section below.

Will I gain weight eating so many prunes?

No.  Studies have shown that adding 12 prunes a day to the diet did not cause weight gain even though it added 380 calories a day. In fact, neither weight or body mass index, nor waist to hip ratio, nor percent body fat was significantly affected. Several researchers have reported this phenomenon suggesting that foods with stool softening properties in higher fiber content do not seem to cause weight gain.

Does eating so many prunes cause digestive issues?

In the vast majority of women studied, even the use of an unusually high daily amount of prunes didn’t cause digestive distress. If you do experience digestive issues, cooking the prunes and serving them warm helps make them more digestible for many and spreading them out through the day is also helpful.

Do prunes need to be cooked to get the benefits?

No, you don’t need to cook prunes to get the benefits, but prunes may be more difficult to digest uncooked.

Aren’t dried prunes high in sugar?

Look for unsweetened prunes. According to prune researcher Dr. Bahram Arjmandi, “Because prunes are low on the glycemic scale, they should not be a problem for people with diabetes.”

Also, I’ve found that prunes are a natural craving corrector, so eating a few prunes may actually keep you from craving other sugary treats.

Finally, here’s news about more benefits of prunes… In addition to reducing bone breakdown as reported in my previous blog, eating prunes has been shown to increase the markers of bone formation.  Prunes also appear to down regulate the inflammatory, bone breakdown factor known as RANKL. This is the same mechanism of action of the popular osteoporosis drug, Denosumab (trade name Prolia®).



Arjmandi, B. H., D. A. Khalil, E. A. Lucas, A. Georgis, B. J. Stoecker, C. Hardin, M. E. Payton, and R. A. Wild. 2002. Dried plums improve indices of bone formation in postmenopausal women. Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine 11(1):61–68.

Bu, S. Y., E. A. Lucas, M. Franklin, D. Marlow, D. J. Brackett, E. A. Boldrin, L. Devareddy, B. H. Arjmandi, and B. J. Smith. 2007. Comparison of dried plum supplementation and intermittent PTH in restoring bone in osteopenic orchidectomized rats. Osteoporosis International 18(7):931–942.

Franklin, M., S. Y. Bu, M. R. Lerner, E. a. Lancaster, D. Bellmer, D. Marlow, S. A. Lightfoot, B. H. Arjmandi, D. J. Brackett, E. A. Lucas, and B. J. Smith. 2006. Dried plum prevents bone loss in a male osteoporosis model via IGF-I and the RANK pathway. Bone 39(6):1331–1342.

Hooshmand, S., S. C. Chai, R. L. Saadat, M. E. Payton, K. Brummel-Smith, and B. H. Arjmandi. 2011. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition 106(6):923–930.


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