Prunes offer bone boost for vegetarians and vegans, California Prune brand nutritionist reveals

California Prune Board nutritionist Jo Travers

California Prune Board nutritionist Jo Travers

Image: California Prune Board

As the trend towards veganism and vegetarianism continues to grow, California Prunes brand ambassador and professional nutritionist Jo Travers is encouraging those switching to a plant-based diet not to miss out on nutrients important for overall health.

It follows a study published last summer which revealed middle-aged women who never eat meat are more likely to break a hip than their meat/fish-eating counterparts. The report, published in BMC Medicine and carried out by researchers at the University of Leeds highlighted that vegetarians look to be at greater risk of hip fractures, with BMI and shortfalls in nutrients believed to play a role.

Registered dietitian Travers, BSc RD MBDA, said: “People turn to plant-based diets for a range of reasons including the welfare of animals, the environment, and personal health. To ensure a healthy diet, it’s essential to get a good balance of nutrients across the main food groups and to include protein usually found in meat from other sources. For vegetarians, alternatives include dairy, beans, legumes, lentils, and tofu.”

Travers added: “For bone health, both calcium and vitamin D play a key role. While calcium can be sourced from dairy products and dark green, leafy vegetables, vitamin D is created in the body from sunlight, and can also be found in small amounts in oily fish. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, there is a wide range of other vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen bones, including vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese, all of which can be found in prunes.”

A major study published last year outlined how prunes prevent bone loss at hip and protect against fracture risk thanks to their nutritional profile. The research, from Pennsylvania State University, found that daily prune consumption preserved bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and protected against increased fracture risk in postmenopausal women.

Travers added: “For those who choose to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s important that bone-friendly vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin K are accessed across a range of sources. Following a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and carrying out weight-bearing exercise are all key components of building healthy bones.”

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.