Dried plums contain chemicals that act as prebiotics – plant foods that fuel good bacteria. In a study part funded by the California Dried Plum Board, experiments found bone loss was reversed after the compounds were isolated and fed to female mice.
In women, levels of bone-boosting hormone oestrogen drop after the menopause and prunes may help mimic it. They are rich in antioxidants which dampen inflammation and destroy harmful free radicals which are used by our body’s cells to kill invading bacteria.
The study’s lead author, Professor Brenda Smith, of Indiana University, said: “Both the carbohydrate component and the polyphenols within the prunes altered the gut microbiota and had positive effects – namely restoring bone.”