New study adds to the research connecting prunes and healthier bones

Bones may seem like they are inert but actually they are living tissue that needs to constantly change, grow and remodel. Bones are obviously fantastic for holding us upright but they also -in combination with muscle- allow us to move about. They provide a hard protective case around some of our most vital organs. Bones are also where white blood cells are formed so our immune system can’t function without them.  Some hormones are produced in bone, and bones provide a storage pool for minerals and fat.

Most people know that calcium is important for bone health but there are also other nutrients that influence the maintenance of normal bones, including vitamin K and manganese, which are found in California Prunes. Phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, strontium and sodium, as well as protein and the countless other vitamins and minerals, are also involved in the enzyme and cell functioning that keep bones healthy.

Because bones are a reservoir for minerals, when they are running low elsewhere in the body we draw on those reserves. This means that bones are always being broken down, and when the minerals are available, bone can also be replaced. However, the breakdown of bone is extremely quick, allowing stored minerals to enter the blood stream quickly, but unfortunately the process of building bone can take months. This often leads to an overall net loss of bone over time. Another cause of bone break down is inflammation, which disrupts the bone remodelling process, stimulating bone breakdown further. Inflammation is a primary cause of many non-communicable diseases including those of the bones.

This net loss can lead to bones that have ‘holes’ in them, causing weakness. This condition is called osteoporosis and it is a disease that leads to almost nine million fractures worldwide every year.  Many of these fractures occur in older adults who subsequently have to move into care homes and give up their independence. California Prunes are Bone Health approved by the Royal Osteoporosis Society, thanks to a growing body of evidence showing the positive effects prunes can have on skeletal health. High in vitamin K and a source of manganese, both of which contribute to the maintenance of normal bones, California Prunes are the first natural food to have been given the accreditation by the UK charity.

But osteoporosis isn’t a given. Yes there are some risk factors that we can’t change, like aging and our genes, but there is also a lot you can modify: particularly reducing inflammation in the body and getting a nutritious diet. If we have adequate nutrients in our diet then we won’t have to dip into our stores, which can prevent the unnecessary breakdown of bone and reduce this net loss over time.

It might be tempting to take a supplement to make sure you are getting all the necessary minerals, and although they can be useful in some situations, supplements are generally less effective than getting a variety of nutrient-dense food. The reason for this is that nutrients work and interact with each other. For example, iron and calcium use the same absorption pathways so taking them together in a supplement means you will never absorb the amount given on the label. Eating a whole food means you get benefits above and beyond the mineral content. To illustrate this, take California Prunes which contain many minerals such as manganese, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K (all important for bone health as you will see below). But they also contain fibre and polyphenols which are crucial for reducing inflammation in the body. Including foods like this are far better than a multivitamin can ever be. A recent study found that including California Prunes in your diet could not only prevent bone loss but can even help restore bone health.  Here are some of the key nutrients involved in bone health and where you can get them.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin in blood clotting but also promotes the formation of bone-building cells and activating the proteins involved in bone mineralisation. There is a correlation between vitamin k deficiency and osteoporosis. Vitamin K is found in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and California Prunes.

Manganese is an important component in the formation of collagen and cartilage which are the primary proteins in bone. It is found in wholegrains, pulses, tea and California Prunes.

99% of the calcium in our bodies is found in bones and teeth and in combination with phosphorus and the protein collagen, makes bones hard. We can find calcium in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and California Prunes.

Potassium helps to neutralize acids in the blood that can break down bone. It is found in fruits, vegetables, potatoes, bananas and California Prunes.

Magnesium deficiency seems to slow down bone formation and increase bone breakdown. Low magnesium levels may also promote inflammation which can lead bone loss. Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds and California Prunes.

Phosphorus is mainly found in the body as phosphate in the skeleton where it joins with calcium to make bone’s strong crystalline structure. It is found in high protein foods like meat, fish, beans and dairy products.