NASA's ‘moon on a prune’ highlights joint health link

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

Prunes shown to benefit joint health
The suggested benefits of prunes in the preservation of bone and joint health have been highlighted in a Channel 4 TV programme on superfoods.

Last month’s Superfoods show showed a US astronaut who was ‘sent to the moon on a prune’.

The programme revealed that NASA was committed to its astronauts eating a prune-rich diet as a possible intervention to counteract loss of bone density due to exposure to space radiation and weightlessness.

It followed on from research published last year in Scientific Reports​, which indicated that eating prunes may be beneficial to counter the effects on bone of exposure to space radiation.

Professor Arjmandi interview

The programme also included an interview with Dr Bahram Arjmandi, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University.

Based on research he has undertaken among post-menopausal women, Arjmandi claimed that eating a simple daily helping of around eight to 12 California prunes (100g) could support the maintenance of healthy bones and may even contribute to maximising bone potential.

“It appears that the inclusion of prunes in the diet can help to suppress – and in some cases, revert – the breakdown of bones, which tends to speed as people age,”​ he said.

‘High in vitamin K’

“Prunes are high in vitamin K and a source of manganese, two important nutrients that support the maintenance of normal bones.”

In addition, prunes have an EU health claim for contributing to normal bowel function.

The California Prune Board is currently engaged in its largest-ever clinical trial to deliver further research that links prunes and bone health.

“We will continue to educate the trade on the extensive health and nutritional advantages associated with the consumption of prunes,”​ said European marketing director Esther Ritson-Elliott.

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