(BPT) - In the U.S., nearly half of all women older than 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture. And while osteoporosis may seem like a disease that only affects people later in life, early prevention is key to better bone health. In fact, bone mass attained early in life may be the most important determinant to bone health when you get older.
Sunsweet, a leading brand of dried plums, has partnered with the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) to promote bone health while encouraging a diet that helps to strengthen bones.
“This is our second year partnering with the National Osteoporosis Foundation,” says Brad Schuler, vice-president of Global Sales and Marketing. “Osteoporosis can have a profound impact on quality of life, and we are excited to join forces with the NOF to increase awareness of the simple dietary changes people can make to help improve bone health.”
In addition, to help raise awareness for the importance of bone health, many throughout the world are dressing in white and participating in local “Walks for your Bones” in honor of World Osteoporosis Day on Oct. 20. Each year, national osteoporosis societies around the globe embark on a year-long campaign to raise awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.
“People tend to focus on the components of a healthy diet for weight management or for disease prevention when it comes to heart disease and cancer,” says Dr. Shirin Hooshmand, assistant professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University with a research focus on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. “Rarely do people look to their diet as a way to strengthen their bones, but a diet rich in bone-healthy nutrients, like prunes, is actually one of the key components of bone health.”
Recent bone health research goes beyond the typical calcium-containing foods to examine the positive link between eating fruits and vegetables and bone health, and results are promising for prunes/dried plums. Emerging research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found that prunes may help keep bones strong by preventing bone mineral loss, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Many delicious recipes can be found on Sunsweet’s website. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, why not try the Prune, Cranberry & Walnut Stuffing?
Prune, Cranberry & Walnut Stuffing
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup Amazin Cranberries
1 cup Sunsweet Plum Amazins – diced dried plums
1 cup chopped apples (with skin on or peeled)
1 1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup chopped parsley
5 cups seasoned dressing mix
Combine dressing with butter or margarine and vegetables. Stir liquid in gradually. Spoon into 2 1/2 or 3-quart greased casserole dish. Bake covered 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove cover and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer for a crisper top. Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.
Diet is just one of the many lifestyle factors that can help to support bone health. In addition to a diet rich in bone-healthy nutrients, the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggests four strategies to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures, including:
* Exercise regularly
* Avoid negative lifestyle habits and maintain a healthy weight
* Identify the bone health risk factors which you can't change
* Talk to your doctor: get tested, get treated if required
These simple lifestyle steps can go a long way toward achieving better bone health. For more information on ways to get involved with World Osteoporosis Day, visit www.worldosteoporosisday.org. Visit www.sunsweet.com for product information, recipe ideas and healthy lifestyle tips.