New Study: Eating Prunes Daily Improves Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Inflammation in Postmenopausal Women
TORONTO, ONT (June 22, 2021) – New research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests eating prunes each day can improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) including raising antioxidant capacity and reducing inflammation among healthy, postmenopausal women.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide posing a significant public health challenge.
The research led by San Diego State University reveals that prunes can positively affect heart disease risk.
“When you look at our prior research and the research of others combined with this new data, you’ll see consistent evidence that eating prunes can promote health,” said lead researcher Shirin Hooshmand, PhD, RD, Professor at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University.
In this randomized, controlled study, researchers found that eating 50 grams of prunes (about 5-6 prunes) each day for 6 months resulted in improved CVD risk biomarkers – including raising the body’s “good” cholesterol, known as HDL, and lowering the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. Eating 50 grams of prunes daily also promoted higher antioxidant capacity and lowered levels of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha associated with CVD risk.
Researchers recruited 48 healthy, postmenopausal women who were divided into three groups – a control group who ate no prunes, and two treatment groups who consumed either 50 grams or 100 grams of prunes daily, throughout the six-month study. All other aspects of the women’s diets and lifestyles remained similar to before the study. Various biomarkers of CVD risk were collected at the beginning and conclusion of the study to determine if there were any improvements in those biomarkers among those who consumed prunes. Interestingly, there were some similar positive results among those who ate 50 grams of prunes and those consuming 100 grams – suggesting that adding 5-6 prunes or more into the daily diet may have a positive effect on CVD risk.
“Reducing chronic inflammation and increasing antioxidant capacity in the body is associated with lower risk of CVD, along with many other diseases,” said Mark Kern, PhD, RD, CSSD Professor of Nutrition at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. “Not only does this study show that prunes may be a good way to reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant capacity, it also suggests that eating prunes every day may improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women.”
The Journal of Medicinal Food study was funded by the San Diego State University Grant Program, the California Prune Board (No. 57114A; ClinicalTrials.gov, No. NCT02325895), and the Kasch-Boyer Endowed Scholarship in Exercise and Nutritional Sciences in San Diego State University.
Hong MY, Kern M, Nakamichi-Lee M, Abbaspour N, Ahouraei Far A, Hooshmand S. (2021) Dried Plum Consumption Improved Total Cholesterol and Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in Healthy Postmenopausal Women. J Med Food. 10.1089/jmf.2020.0142.
Strock NCA, Koltun KJ, Weaver C, De Souza MJ. (2021) Dried Plum Consumption Improves Bone Mineral Density in Osteopenic Postmenopausal Woman: A Case Report. Bone Rep. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bonr.2021.101094.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA PRUNE BOARD
The California Prune Board was established in 1952 to represent growers and handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. California is the world’s largest producer of prunes with orchards across 14 counties in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Promoting a lifetime of wellness through the enjoyment of California Prunes, the organization leads the premium prune category with generations of craftsmanship supported by California’s leading food safety and sustainability standards. California Prunes. Prunes. For life.
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