Winter Season Sees Highest Percentage Of Broken Bones
Whether its sledding, skiing or perhaps preparing a holiday feast, consumers should take note that the chances of breaking a bone double during the winter months. Cold weather has been linked with broken bones and strains, stiff joints and heightened chances of slips and falls for those with arthritis and other bone and joint diseases.
"Protecting bones and increasing bone density begins with diet and exercise. Incorporating California dried plums (prunes) into holiday recipes is a step in the right direction. After people start cooking with and snacking on them they love the taste. The good news is they are good for you," said Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi Florida State's Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences.
Dr. Arjmandi and a group of researchers from The Florida State University and Oklahoma State University tested two groups of postmenopausal women over a 12-month period. The group's research, "Comparative Effects of Dried Plums and Dried Apple on Bone in Postmenopausal Women" was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
"Dried plums are the most bone-friendly fruit that I have seen in decades. They are nature's solution to maintaining good bone health," said Dr. Arjmandi. "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 have."
Dr. Arjmandi added that California dried plums contain many compounds and nutrients that work synergistically such as vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron. These work together to prevent bone mineral loss, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density, and it is estimated that more than 40 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass in the United States. A disease that is not exclusive to one gender, osteoporosis is more common in older women, yet can occur at any age, in both men and women. While osteoporosis seems to show presence in the later years of life, osteopenia, low bone density, is noted to appear in younger women, usually in their twenties.
"The bone mass, a factor in determining bone density, attained early in life—before age 30 or so—may be the most important determinant of bone health as you get older. Eat well now to help prevent osteoporosis," said Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Steeler's team sports dietitian.
Bonci added that science has shown that dried plums have a significant role to play in terms of promoting good digestive health, heart health and now bone health—they are the whole package. Because of this, Bonci often recommends them to her student and professional athletes and clients.
Gold Medalist and World Champion swimmer Natalie Coughlin nibbles on dried plums like candy. She has been snacking on dried plums since she was a kid and cooking with them for years. "Dried plums are always my go-to portable snack," said Coughlin. "My diet has been incredibly important in my success as an Olympic swimmer. I train anywhere from five to six hours a day, and my body is constantly being torn down. So it's really important for me to get the best source of fuel and the most nutrient dense items into my diet—and dried plums top the list."
Coughlin cooks all year round with dried plums but during the holidays she tends to update some of her classic dishes with them. "California dried plums provide a healthy way to add flavor and key nutrients to both sweet and savory dishes. They can substitute for fats and sugars, add moisture to meat entrees and baked items and improve the texture and taste of stuffings, sauces and marinades," said Coughlin.
To learn more about the many benefits of California dried plums and to find Natalie Coughlin's recipes and cooking videos and other dried plum recipes, please visit californiadriedplums.org.