Podcast Episode 122: The Power of Prunes: Bone & Digestive Health – Dr. Shirin Hooshmand

Jun 19, 2019

This episode is sponsored by Sunsweet Growers, a grower owned Prune Cooperative based in Yuba City, CA. Sunsweet strives to help make it easy to for consumers to make healthy choices by offering a full range of delicious dried fruit and juices. Sunsweet Amaz!n Prunes and Prune Juice are favorites around the world providing the nutrition you need, to keep your body feeling good and energized. Enjoy The Feel Good Fruit!

 Research suggests that eating just 5-6 prunes each day may help prevent bone loss.”

The Benefits of Prunes and Prune Juice for Bone and Digestive Health

Osteoporosis accounts for more days in the hospital than other diseases like breast cancer, heart attacks, diabetes and others. An osteoporotic fracture occurs every three seconds worldwide. Approximately one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Hip fractures cause the greatest morbidity with reported mortality rates up to 20-24% in the first year after a hip fracture.

Everyone knows that calcium is good for your bones but did you know that prunes can help your bones? Research suggests eating just 5-6 prunes each day may help to prevent bone loss. Plus, prunes contain potassium, magnesium and vitamin K, all of which are important for bone health.

Multiple studies suggest prunes may help to prevent bone loss. In addition, prunes and prune juice contain fiber (soluble and insoluble) and naturally-occurring sorbitol, which contribute to digestive health.

Shirin Hooshmand, PhD, RD

Dr. Shirin HooshmandDr. Shirin Hooshmand is an associate professor of nutrition at the school of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. Shirin received her doctorate from the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University where she studied the bone reversal effects of foods’ bioactive compounds. She completed her post-doctoral training at Florida State University working in the area of nutrition, bone and cartilage. Her current research interests include bone and calcium metabolism, nutritional factors that influence musculoskeletal aging and interventions to improve physiological changes with aging, including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. She is the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board member of American Bone Health (ABH) and an ambassador for National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). She has published 45 original articles in peer reviewed journals and presented more than 90 abstracts at national and international symposia. She has received the Graduate Women in Science fellowship, Florida State University Alumni award, and San Diego State University Outstanding Faculty Award.

Prunes contain several bioactive compounds that likely work together to protect the bone, including fiber, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, boron, copper and polyphenols.”


Dr. Hooshmand’s research article: The effect of two doses of dried plum on bone density and bone biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial – published in Osteoporosis International, July 2016.

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  1. David on June 25, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Prunes are great but won’t I get most of the same benefits from dates and apricots or from a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains?

    • Melissa Dobbins on July 24, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Hi David,
      Yes, you will get health benefits from dates, apricots and a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. However, this specific research was done on prunes and I’m not aware of any research on dates or apricots and bone health.
      I asked Dr. Hooshmand your question and she asked me to share this with reference with you as well:
      PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60569. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060569. Epub 2013 Mar 29.
      Dried plum’s unique capacity to reverse bone loss and alter bone metabolism in postmenopausal osteoporosis model. Rendina E, Hembree KD, Davis MR, Marlow D, Clarke SL, Halloran BP, Lucas EA, Smith BJ.” In this study dried plum has been compared with apricots and the results show that dried plum is superior in improving bone density. There is no published data on prune and date. However, it is expected that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in general be associated with higher bone density.
      Thank you for listening and commenting!

  2. Colleen Wysocki on January 16, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Loved hearing you on this podcast, Shirin!

    • Melissa Dobbins on January 17, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the episode – thanks for listening!

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