Prunes may help prevent postmenopausal women from developing osteoporosis, according to researchers at Florida State University and Oklahoma State University, reported.

The researchers split 90 postmenopausal women into two groups. One group was given 100 grams of prunes, also known as dried plums, each day. The other group was given 100 grams of dried apples daily. The women were also given calcium and vitamin D supplements. At the conclusion of the year-long study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the women who ate prunes had a higher bone mineral density than their apple-eating counterparts. No other fruits tested in previous studies, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, had as positive an effect as prunes.

The researchers suggest that this may be happening because prunes suppress bone breakdown, which exceeds new bone growth rate in the elderly.

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The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that one of every two women over the age of 50 will experience a broken bone caused by osteoporosis, which usually begins after ovaries stop producing protective estrogen. Once they turn 65, men start to resemble women in terms of bone loss. About 8 million women and 2 million men have osteoporosis, which can be detected by a bone density test.

One of every five seniors who breaks a hip—a common fracture for the elderly--dies within one year because of a break, the foundation says.