Spring is around the corner, I can feel it! The days are getting longer, snow is melting, and we are all coming back to life after our winter of hibernation. I love this time of year. My energy picks up and I suddenly long to be outside. Thankfully, I have 2 young kids that also love to be outside and our favourite outdoor activities involve some sort of physical exertion – road hockey, hiking, biking. During one of our outdoor adventures last year my son broke his leg and since then I’ve been very mindful of not only my childrens’ bone health, but also my own. I am getting older, and bone density is no longer improving for me. I ensure I get enough calcium and vitamin D, protein and some of the other nutrients linked to bone health. But I’ve added something else to my bone-building repertoire. Prunes. Yup, dried prunes.
While prunes have been traditionally known for their digestive health benefits, they are now being considered the whole package when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. California Prunes have a low glycemic index and the dietary fibre helps manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They are also high in magnesium, riboflavin, and potasssium. New research has found that California Prunes may have even another health benefit: maintaining bone health. A group of postmenopausal women were given 5-6 prunes per day for 6 months and their bone mass was measured. Those who were eating the prunes daily had lower bone loss than those women not eating prunes. This is no doubt due to the fact that prunes are very high in vitamin K and contain manganese. These two nutrients contribute to the maintenance of healthy bones.
What’s more, prunes taste delicious! I find that a small handful can solve my sweet cravings. Not sure what to do with prunes? Check out these tips:
Blend prunes into your favourite smoothie for added fibre and flavour.
Create a prune puree and use it to replace an equal amount of butter in baked goods. You cut the calories in half and eliminate almost all of the fat.
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Give baby food a healthy boost with a little added prune puree.
Fold chopped prunes into desserts and baked goods.
Simmer prunes in sauces with chicken or pork for a rich tasting meal. Check out this recipe for Easy Moroccan Chicken with prunes.
Let’s face it, we are all getting older. Without healthy, strong bones, it will make it hard to maintain an active lifestyle as we age.
While I was compensated for my time in writing this post, the opinions are all mine!