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About The Buzz: Nutrients In Fruit Help Strengthen Bones, Reduce Bone Loss?

TheBUZZ Nutrients In Fruit Help Strengthen Bones, Reduce Bone Loss?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Recent research has demonstrated fruit’s ability to not only help strengthen bones, but reduce bone loss as well.

WHY THIS MATTERS

As the body ages, it inevitably begins to break down. Systems that used to function optimally still do their job, although not quite as efficiently as they once did. The same holds true for your bones. Bone degeneration is the breakdown of bone, a process continually taking place to help maintain bone’s strength and flexibility to carry out all of your activities of daily living. In youth and young adulthood, the process of bone degeneration happens at the same rate of bone replacement. With age, the rate of reabsorption outpaces the rate of replacement, leading to bone loss, or bone mass density (BMD) and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, a diseases that means “porous bone”, is a condition that results when a person loses too much bone, makes too little bone (not enough bone regeneration), or both. When this happens, bones become brittle and weak and are much more susceptible to break from a minor fall or in more serious cases, break when sneezing or bumping into furniture. Across the United States, 54 million Americans have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or low bone mass. Every year, osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in related healthcare costs.1 Many of those diagnosed with the disease are postmenopausal women, as women in this age range are prone to accelerated bone loss. Women can lose up to 50% of their trabecular bone and 30% of their cortical bone during the first 10 years from the onset of menopause.2

PREVENTING & REVERSING BONE LOSS: THE RESEARCH

Osteoporosis makes everyday tasks challenging, such as like going to the grocery store and driving the car, and can severely impact the quality of life in those with the disease. In order to prevent osteoporosis and slow the rate of bone degeneration that leads to loss of bone mass, we recommend eating fruit.

Studies have shown that higher fruit and vegetable consumption has positive effects on bone. Recent research has shown that women who eat fruit have been able to reduce their rate of bone loss and actually reverse the loss of bone. A study of postmenopausal women demonstrated the effectiveness of dried prunes in strengthening bones.2 The study lasted 12 months and consisted of two groups. The first group was asked to eat dried prunes daily, and the other was asked eat dried apples daily. The study found that women in the prune group had improved bone mass at the end of the year-long study! This is due in part to prune’s ability to slow the rate of bone degeneration. Slowed bone degeneration in postmenopausal women is very beneficial, because the slow rate of replacement of new bone growth is able to keep up. Researchers speculate the benefits of prunes stem from their phenolic compounds, boron, or vitamin K content, as these all have a role in bone health and calcium balance. The researchers also noted that the bone-protective effects of fruits or vegetables should not be solely attributed to any one of these particular components. It is likely a combination of the compounds in fruits and vegetables that confer bone benefits, so the consumption of whole fruits and vegetables is highly encouraged (as opposed to a supplement.)

OUR ADVICE

Fruits and vegetables deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that are all thought to play a role in bone health. It’s never too early or too late to start reaping the incredible benefits of a nutritious, well-balanced diet to improve your overall health.

4 Facts + Tips about Fruit That May Surprise You

  1. Check out What Is A Serving Of Fruits & Vegetables? to determine how many servings (based on cups/day) you should be aiming to reach. How much you’ll need depends on your sex, age and physical activity level.
  2. When you know your “cups/day” recommendation, the easiest way to meet that goal is to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. It’s a simple way to check in every time you’re eating to make sure that you’re getting enough fruits and veggies in your diet.
  3. It may seem like you’ll need a LOT of fruits and veggies to make sure that half of your plate is filled at each meal, but that simply isn’t the case! You can easily fill half your “plate” by remembering that it all countsfresh, frozen, canned, puréed, dried, dehydrated and 100 % juice – towards your daily total fruit and vegetable intake.
  4. Add fruits and veggies to meals you already enjoy:
    • Add fruit to oatmeal and yogurt during breakfast, or adding spinach and mushrooms to your omelet.
    • Try a fruit-based snack for in-between meals, like apples or bananas with your favorite nut butter. The fiber in the fruit and protein in the nut butter will help to hold you over until your next meal.
    • Mix dried fruit in salads and meat dishes to at a light, natural sweetness.

 

1 What is Osteoporosis? National Osteoporosis Foundation (2015). View
2 S Hooshmand et. al. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition (2011): 106, 923-930. View

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