Bone health may not be on the cards as your no.1 health concern right now, but we say better to prevent than correct! Our skeleton gives the body its shape, allows movement, makes blood cells, provides protection for organs and stores minerals and just like everything else in your body it needs certain vitamins and minerals to make sure its working at its best and protect it from chronic diseases such as osteoporosis. Characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, osteoporosis is a disease affecting millions of people around the globe. Bones lose their strength and are more likely to break after a minor fall. Fractures provoked by osteoporosis may happen in different parts of the human body, but wrists, hips, and spine are especially subject to major risk. However, adding nuts and dried fruits into your daily routine as part of a balanced diet may help prevent osteoporosis. Read on to find out why.
Women are more susceptible to suffer from osteoporosis
Although osteoporosis not only affects women, they are more susceptible to suffering from this disease because bone loss is accelerated after menopause, due to hormonal changes that affect bone density. While nuts and dried fruits alone cannot entirely prevent osteoporosis, they can be part of a bone-healthy diet for women. Indeed, according to the UK National Osteoporosis Society, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 experience fractures, mainly as a result of low bone strength. This leads to many major consequences, not only because health and wellness standards decrease as people get older, but also because such fractures entail a significant economic burden for governments and health services worldwide.
However, for older people there is convincing evidence that the risk of osteoporosis might be reduced with sufficient intake of vitamin D, calcium, and physical activity.
Nuts are among the foods that may help to prevent osteoporosis, as they provide calcium and proteins. In addition, there is scientific evidence proving that dried fruits may promote bone health. Research conducted with dried plums indicates that they have a role in supporting bone health.
A study from Florida State University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, proved the effect of prunes in reversing bone loss. A group of postmenopausal women were given 100 grams of prunes per day and were compared to a second group consuming 100 grams of dried apples. Results showed that, after 12 months, the group following the prunes-enriched diet significantly increased 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. According to the authors of the study, this was due in part to the ability of prunes to suppress the breakdown of bone, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth as people age.
Maintaining bone health is a lifelong endeavor, so it’s important to adopt a holistic approach that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and other lifestyle factors.
Nutrients in dried fruits may influence bone health
Dried fruits are also a good source of nutrients that are considered to influence bone health: calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, and boron. Boron is seen as having a role in osteoporosis prevention. Low boron intakes have been associated with impairment of bone strength. In addition, there are animal studies showing that dried plums reduce the loss of bone in different models of osteoporosis.
Several nuts and dried fruits can be beneficial for bone health due to their nutrient content. Here are some nuts and dried fruits that may help prevent osteoporosis:
- Almonds are a good source of calcium and magnesium, both of which are essential for maintaining strong bones. They also contain vitamin K, which plays a role in bone metabolism.
- Cashews provide magnesium and phosphorus, important minerals for bone health. They also contain some calcium and vitamin K.
- While not as high in calcium as some other nuts, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that support overall bone health.
- Dried figs are one of the best plant-based sources of calcium. They are also rich in potassium, which may help reduce calcium loss from the body.
- Dried apricots are a good source of both calcium and vitamin K. They also contain vitamin C, which can contribute to collagen production in bones.
- Prunes are known for their high fiber content, which supports digestive health and nutrient absorption. They also provide potassium and vitamin K.
- Raisins contain some calcium and are a convenient and easily portable snack. They also offer small amounts of boron, a trace mineral that may play a role in bone health.
Did you know about the properties of nuts and dried fruits to help prevent osteoporosis?
If you are concerned about osteoporosis, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance and recommendations. They can help you create a dietary plan that supports your bone health based on your individual needs and circumstances.