Dried Plums Help Build Strong Bones

Dried Plums Help Build Strong Bones

Next time you pass a package of prunes, think strong skeleton, not just constipation fixer. Then grab 'em with your finger bones and toss 'em in your cart. Snacking on a few of these little nuggets daily could help keep your bones sturdy and shatter-proof.

Why? Prunes (also known as dried plums, thanks to a spiffy image upgrade) are filled with compounds called polyphenols that rebalance your bone-building cycle. (Discover four more bone-building foods.)

Think of your bones as a never-ending highway construction project. Microscopic segments are constantly being demolished and rebuilt by special crews. Over time, the rebuilding teams slack off, but the demolition crews keep working hard. Result: weaker bones as you age and more danger of breaks.

Dried plums slow down the demolition, which lets the rebuilders catch up. That helps your bones. Just don't overdo prunes. They may be full of polyphenols and fiber, but, like all dried fruit, they're high in sugar . . . not to mention they can quickly turn constipation into diarrhea! So add three or four prunes a day to your regular strong-bones roster.

  • 1,200 milligrams of calcium: Get half from foods (fat-free dairy; calcium-fortified OJ and soy milk; canned salmon and sardines; dark leafy greens). Get the rest from a supplement.
  • 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 (1,200 after age 60). It helps you absorb calcium. Buy a calcium supplement that includes some D3; count that and what's in your multi toward your daily D3. Alert readers (good for you!) will realize we didn't say add magnesium to counter calcium's constipation effects. Prunes do that.

Here are five more things you need to know to protect your bones.

Medically reviewed in October 2019.

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