Team Up with California Prunes

Expert Advice

Expert Advice

The Importance of Bone Health – for All Ages

By Dr. Janice Drover, BSc, DC, FRCCSS(C), Chiropractic Sports Specialist

As a Chiropractor, I get to work with my patients’ bones and joints on a daily basis. I often get asked: what exactly does your skeleton do?  The easy answer is our bones are the frame or scaffolding of our bodies.  We have 206 individual bones that are attached by ligaments to form our skeletal system.  This skeletal system is the reason that we can run, jump and move around.  It allows us to move in coordination with the attachment of our muscles and tendons, and it provides protective equipment for vital organs like our heart and lungs. The inside of our bone, known as the marrow, stores fat and produce red blood cells.

So, why should we be concerned about our bones?

How strong our body’s frame becomes depends largely on what we do as our bones grow and develop.  Bones are comprised of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus that are stored as we get older.  Research tells us that 60% of our Peak Bone Mass (PBM), or the amount of total bone mineral we have, develops during adolescence and peaks in our 20’s, reaching its maximum by the age of 30.  That means that as a growing teen, we are constantly making deposits into our “Bone Bank”.  Similar to retirement savings, the early and healthy contributions to our bone bank will pay off later in life.

One of the main reasons that we want to develop strong and healthy bones is to prevent osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a disease that slowly and gradually weakens bones which can lead to fracture and immobility.  Your Peak Bone Mass, or bone bank, is one of the most significant factors in predicting if women in particular, will develop osteoporosis.  Today in Canada, two million people are affected by osteoporosis.  Most of these Canadians are over the age of 50, and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience a fracture or broken bone during their lifetime due to this disease.  Currently, more people in Canada experience broken bones due to osteoporosis than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.  Building up the stores in our bone bank when we are young helps to prevent the loss of bone, ensuring that we can keep moving and remain active when we are older.

So, what can help us build and maintain healthy bones?


Healthy eating habits and proper nutrition are another great way of building and maintaining healthy bones.  California Prunes are an excellent addition to your diet to help ensure you are consuming the building blocks for your scaffolding. They are rich in vitamin K, potassium and boron, which can influence our bone health.

A recent study of post-menopausal women has shown that a serving of 5 California Prunes, which provides 20% of your daily value of vitamin K, and are also a source of manganese, helps to slow bone loss. A diet that is rich in these vitamins and minerals, as well as calcium and Vitamin D, is very important throughout life. It is very easy to add California Prunes to snacks and meals during childhood and adolescence to help increase our peak bone mass as we grow and develop. Proper nutrition can also help to maintain a healthy body weight, which has been shown to decrease fracture risk in both children and adults.  Consume other healthy foods, such as leafy green vegetables and fortified dairy products that are high in Vitamin D, as well as calcium, to help promote good bone health.


Bones become stronger when we challenge them.  When we perform weight bearing exercise, the forces placed on our skeleton increases the amount of bone mineral that is deposited.  According to the current Canadian Guidelines, children between the ages of 5-18 should partake in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.  This includes a variety of activities, such as running and skipping during recess and lunch, gym class and during after school activities such as dance or sports. Not only are these activities fun, but these cumulative weight bearing activities during youth are large contributors to our peak bone mass and the health of our bones.

As we get older, exercise remains important to maintain bone mass, muscle strength and to slow bone loss.  Exercise improves and maintains mobility and balance which help to prevent falls, a major cause of fractures. Adults between the age of 18-64 are recommended to exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week, including two muscle strengthening activities. This type of exercise can take various forms, such as organized fitness classes, walks with friends or gardening in your backyard.


Lastly, lifestyle can play a major role in bone health. In teens and adolescents, it has been shown that the consumption of soda or soft drinks leads to a decreased intake of milk and calcium, preventing adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.  Diets low in protein and high in sodium can also lead to decreased calcium retention, as the salt and calcium compete to get absorbed in your body. Limiting excessive alcohol and tobacco throughout your lifetime has also been shown to help maintain healthy bones.

While educating my patients young and old, I always stress that bone health is a lifelong journey. As parents, we have to ensure that our children eat a well-balanced diet which can include foods such as California Prunes, and partake in physical activity to ensure that they build a strong and healthy bone bank. With my older patients, I always encourage them to be physically active including mobility and strength exercises to help decrease falls and fractures.   This, combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, will help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis so we can continue to keep running, jumping and moving throughout our entire lives!



  1. Arjmandi BH, Johnson SA, Pourafshar S, Navaei N, George KS, Hooshmand S, Chai SC and Akhavan NS. Bone-Protective Effects of Dried Plum in Postmenopausal Women: Efficacy and Possible Mechanisms.  Nutrients. 2017, 9, 496
  2. Osteoporosis Canada (2019) Bone Health and Osteoporosis. Retrieved from
  3. Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep.  Retrieved from
  4. Loud, KJ & Gordon CM.  Adolescent Bone Health.  Arch Pediat Adolesc Med. 2006, 160: 1026-1032
  5. Golden NH, Abrams SA and COMMITTEE ON NUTRITIOM. Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents.  2014:134;e1229
  • Dr. Janice Drover

    Janice is a Sports Chiropractor, wife and mom of two active teens from St. John’s Newfoundland.  Janice’s specialty is treating athletes of all ages and calibers.  She has had the privilege of being the sport chiropractor for team Canada’s Health Services Team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2019 Pan American Games and the upcoming 2020ne Olympic Games.  Janice also works as part of the Peak Medical staff for Canada Soccer’s Senior Men’s National team.  When not travelling she is the sport chiropractor for the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers and the NBL’s John’s Edge both based out of. St. John’s.  When not working Janice has a passion for photographing the outdoors and can often be found hiking on the East Coast Trail or in a zodiac watching whales!

Get more expert advice

Read on for important nutritional tips to help maintain a healthy body and mind. TEAM UP with us on your journey to bone and good gut health.

Add Prunes to Your Workout

Try these feature recipes to give you an extra boost of energy after your next workout.