Table of Contents

Are there benefits if you eat prunes for osteoporosis? Is there scientific evidence showing that prunes improve bone density or slow down the erosion of bone? How many prunes a day should you eat if you want to see benefits for your bones? Those of you concerned about gaining weight might want to know how many calories in a prune and how many carbohydrates in prunes?

I set out to answer these questions and learn more about this major food source. I consulted research published in 2017 on the topic and consulted with the leading researcher on prunes and osteoporosis. Before we get into the details of the research, lets present the benefits of prunes for osteoporosis.

prunes for osteoporosis

Benefits of Prunes for Osteoporosis

Research demonstrates that daily consumption of prunes is beneficial for post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. Prunes slow down the turn-over of bone by enhancing bone formation and inhibiting bone resorption. The effectiveness of prunes for osteoporosis can be compared with osteoporosis medications such as bisphosphonates and Prolia but without the side effects.

However, prunes alone are not the answer to stronger bones and fall reduction. You should follow a number of other healthy habits including practicing a bone healthy osteoporosis exercise program, getting adequate levels of calcium from natural sources, and consuming Vitamin D and Vitamin K.

Prunes and Bone Density

What is the relationship between prunes and bone density? In this section, I present the work done by two leading researchers on prunes and bone density that support the role prunes play in improving bone health. We start with recent work done by Dr. Taylor Wallace and then go to an interview I had with Dr. Shirin Hooshmand.

A comprehensive review in 2017 by Dr. Taylor Wallace at the Department of Nutrition at George Mason University was published in the Nutrients journal (1). His review examined twenty-four published studies on prunes and osteoporosis. I reviewed this publication and interviewed Dr. Shirin Hooshmand, Associate Professor at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University, about the subject. Dr. Hooshmand is a leading researcher on prunes and osteoporosis.

Dr. Taylor Wallace: Dried Plums, Prunes and Bone Health

Dr. Wallace identified fifty articles in the PubMed database that studied prunes and bone density. Of the fifty articles, twenty-four were deemed worthy of detailed review. After reviewing the various studies, Dr. Wallace concluded:

“Prunes have a unique nutrient and dietary bioactive profile and are suggested to exert beneficial effects on bone.”

Further, Dr. Wallace found that “the beneficial effects of prunes on bone health may be in part due to the variety of phenolics present in the fruit.”

Dr. Wallace went on to explain how prunes affect bone density: “Prunes and/or their extracts (such as prune juice) enhance bone formation and inhibit bone resorption through their actions on cell signalling pathways that influence osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation.”

He concludes his study by stating: “this review suggests that postmenopausal women may safely consume prunes as part of their fruit intake recommendations given their potential to have protective effects on bone loss.”

Dr. Shirin Hooshmand: Prunes and Postmenopausal Women

Dr. Shirin Hooshmand is the Associate Professor at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. Dr. Hooshmand is a leading researcher on nutrition and osteoporosisosis. Her research focuses on the role that natural and synthetic compounds play in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, osteopenia and low bone density.

I met Dr. Shirin Hooshmand at the National Osteoporosis Foundation meeting in New Orleans. She recently completed a study that identified the best food for osteoporosis. The answer: prunes.

Dr. Hooshmand states that almost 12 years of research has shown that dried plums or prunes are the most effective food for improving bone density in humans and animals. Her research shows that 100 grams of prunes (about 9 to 10 prunes) per day is the most effective dose.

Prunes for Osteoporosis: 100 Grams per Day

Dr. Hooshmand explained that post-menopausal women are prone to bone loss. They lose normally 1 to 1.5% bone per year if there are no treatments including hormone replacement therapy or bone medication such as Prolia or bisphsphonates.

With a daily dose of 100 grams of prunes, Dr. Hooshmand has observed that post-menopausal women with osteoporosis or osteopenia did not lose any bone after a year. Further, they increased their bone density up to 1% per year

Both short-term and long-term clinical studies have shown that 100 grams of prunes (which is equal to 9 to 10 dried plums or prunes per day) is the most effective food in terms of reducing bone loss and preventing bone loss.

Prunes for Osteoporosis: 50 Grams per Day

Dr. Hooshmand published a study in 2016 on the effectiveness of lower dosages of prunes. She found that some of the people in her earlier study were concerned that 100 grams is too much, especially if you have a small body frame. One hundred grams of prunes is equal to 240 calories per day.

Her team studied the effectiveness of a lower dose of 50 grams, which is equal to 5 to 6 dried plums or prunes per day. They tried to determine if the lower dose could be as effective as a 100 gram daily dose.

The study (2), published in 2016, showed that women who took a daily does of 50 grams a day of prunes for a six month period prevented a loss of total body bone mineral density and that the lower does may be as effective as the higher daily dose of 100 grams.

However, the study did not show a loss prevention in the hip or spine. Some scientists who reviewed this study speculate that the loss prevention did not show in the hips and spine because of the short six month duration of the intervention and therefore, the lower dose might, in the end, be very effective. Dr. Hooshmand plans on doing longer term studies to address this question.

Therefore, Dr. Hooshmand recommends 50 grams of prunes per day.

Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis

Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.

But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?

A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health — one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.

I cover important topics related to osteoporosis exercise including:

  • Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?
  • Stop the stoop — how to avoid kyphosis and rounded shoulders.
  • Key components of an osteoporosis exercise program.
  • Key principles of bone building.
  • Exercises you should avoid if you have osteoporosis.
  • Yoga and osteoporosis — should you practice yoga if you have osteoporosis?
  • Core strength and osteoporosis — why is core strength important if you have osteoporosis?

Enter your email address and I will start you on this free course. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Many Prunes a Day Should You Eat?

To get the best results, Dr. Hooshmand (and other researchers) recommend that you consume 100 grams (between 9 and 10 prunes) a day. If you are concerned about weight gain or you are on a low carbohydrate diet, then you can reduce your daily dose to 50 grams.

A review published in 2017 that examined the most recent research on the effects of prunes on osteoporosis (3) stated:

Our successive six-month clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of two doses of dried plum (50 g versus 100 g) in preventing bone loss in older postmenopausal women. Our findings confirmed dried plums’ ability to prevent the loss of total body BMD and indicated that a lower dose of dried plum (i.e., 50 g) may be as effective as 100 g of dried plum.

If you have diabetes, you might want to limit your intake of prunes because of the sugar composition. Finally you should also monitor your laxation because of its effects on constipation.

How Many Calories in a Prune?

The table below breaks dow the nutrient composition of prunes including specifying how many calories in a prune and carbohydrates in prunes.  A daily serving of 100 grams of prunes (between 9 and 10 prunes depending on size of the prune) has 240 calories.

The USDA has published a detailed breakdown of the nutrient content of prunes.

How Many Carbohydrates in Prunes?

A daily serving of 100 grams of prunes (between 9 and 10 prunes depending on size of the prune) has 65 grams of carbohydrates. Net carbohydrates (carbohydrates less the dietary fiber) amounts to 57.5 grams. Net carbohydrates affect your blood sugar level.

Prunes: Boron, Potassium and Phenolic Compounds

A study (4) published in 2001 identified several of the key nutrient components found in prunes. The authors stated:

Prunes contain large amounts of phenolic compounds (184 mg/100 g), mainly as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which may aid in the laxative action and delay glucose absorption. Phenolic compounds in prunes had been found to inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro, and thus might serve as preventive agents against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Additionally, high potassium content of prunes (745 mg/100 g) might be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Dried prunes are an important source of boron, which is postulated to play a role in prevention of osteoporosis. A serving of prunes (100 g) fulfills the daily requirement for boron (2 to 3 mg).

Prunes and Nutrition

There are a number of important health benefits of prunes beyond improving bone health. Prunes have high dietary fiber content and significant amounts of phenolics (chlorogenic acid) and sorbitol. As a result, prunes have a laxative effect and can be an effective and natural way to treat constipation.

There are a number of important vitamins in prunes. A serving of four prunes provides 280 milligrams of potassium and 22 micrograms of vitamin K.  Because prunes have a higher amount of vitamin K compared to other popular fruits, they may help improve calcium balance more than other food sources.

Prunes and Blood Sugar Levels

Many people are concerned that prunes contain too much sugar and could increase sugar levels in the blood. While they are relatively high in carbohydrates, research has shown that they do not cause a material rise in blood sugar levels (56). Prunes have the potential to increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that plays a role in blood sugar regulation, which in turn keeps a lid on sugar levels. (6)

When compared to other fruits, prunes has a lower level of sugar content and a lower Glycemic Index (GL). For example:

  • 50 g of raisins have 30 g of sugar / GL = 23
  • 4 to 5 prunes (50 g, depending on size) have 22.5 g of sugar / GL = 8.3
  • 50 g of dates has 35 g of sugar / GL = 15

Prunes and Osteoporosis: Recommendation

Recent research is clear that prunes are one of the most beneficial foods for osteoporosis. They also have other health benefits and they have few, if any, side effects.

Some individuals have reservations about how many prunes they should eat daily. While 100 grams a day appears to provide the best results, new research is showing that you gain considerable benefits by consuming 50 grams a day.

If you are sitting on the fence, you need to balance the clear benefits of eating prunes daily on the health of your bones as compared to what you believe to be the costs associated with prune consumption.

Prunes for Osteoporosis References

  1. Dried Plums, Prunes and Bone Health: A Comprehensive Review, Taylor Wallace, Nutrients, April 19, 2017
  2. The effect of two doses of dried plum on bone density and bone biomarkers in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial, Hooshmand, Osteoporosis International 27(7), February 2016.
  3. Arjmandi B.H., et al. Bone-Protective Effects of Dried Plum in Postmenopausal Women: Efficacy and Possible Mechanisms. Nutrients. 2017 May; 9(5): 496. Published online 2017 May 14. doi: 10.3390/nu9050496
  4. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, et al. Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food? Critical Review Food Science Nutrition, 2001 May;41(4):251-86. doi: 10.1080/20014091091814.
  5. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M. Dried plums and their products: composition and health effects–an updated review. Critical Review Food Science Nutrition. 2013;53(12):1277-302
  6. Mirmiran, Parvin, et al. Functional foods-based diet as a novel dietary approach for management of type 2 diabetes and its complications: A review. World Journal Diabetes. June 15, 2014; 5(3):267-281

Prunes for Osteoporosis • Conclusion

Dr. Shirin Hooshmand is an Associate Professor at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. Her research demonstrates on prunes and osteoporosis that prunes play significant role in the prevention and reversal of osteoporosis. Here is an interview she did on behalf of the California Dried Plums Association.

Osteoporosis Guidelines

For more information, check out my Osteoporosis Guidelines.


September 16, 2014 at 2:43pm

Carol Harter

Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness on having video transcript for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers!

September 22, 2014 at 8:15pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Carol, Your welcome! It is not always possible but we try most of the time.

September 16, 2014 at 5:09pm


Thanks for the video, I already eat dried plums (aka prunes!) but will be eating more now. :-)

September 16, 2014 at 9:05pm

Joyce Gagnon

I think one has to be aware that unless they are organic, dried plums or prunes, may have sulpher added as a preservative. This additive/preservative is not good for health. The cost of non-sulphered prunes is quite a bit more than the sulphered ones.

September 22, 2014 at 8:14pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Joyce,
Life is a constant challenge of weighting cost and benefits! See comments above.

September 18, 2014 at 4:10pm

Jackie Jones

In regards to the article on the prunes. I wonder which type of prunes they used/organic or not? I wonder if the sulphur, which is generally considered bad for you, actually had something to do with the results. Just curious!!


September 22, 2014 at 8:12pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Jackie
There was no mention during her talk on the prunes being organic. Plums are as beneficial as prunes but not available year round by all and so that was the reason they chose prunes. My guess is that the prunes were non organic, making them more readily available. Might have to go back and read her study to see if there is mention of this.

September 23, 2014 at 7:12pm

Sandra shepard

My Husband and I just started eating prunes last spring ! I have been eating 5 prunes a day just because the bag
Said it was around 100 calories ! They have become a looked forward to desert food eaten Veiwing T.V in the evenings. What wonderful New!!! Thanks...

May 2, 2016 at 3:19am


I am in Australia and I am allergic to sulphites so I wrote to a prune producing company and told them this and said that while I like prunes and would happily eat lots of them I could not eat them if they had sulphites in them. They wrote back and said they were working on reducing the sulphites and eventually eliminating them and they did. I can now buy them in the supermarket and they are preservative-free and cause me no strife but only benefits. That was quite a few years ago. And now although I used to like eating them before, I'm concentrating on eating them more to control my osteopenic spine and I can already tell it is working.

April 10, 2017 at 8:25pm


How about prune juice or are the beneficial ingredient in the other parts. Just wondering...

May 21, 2017 at 11:00pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Ken and Pat,
In the May 2017 Nutrients Journal the article titled: Bone-Protective Effects of Dried Plum in Postmenopausal Women: Efficacy and Possible Mechanisms has the following quote in it's abstract:
"Overall, the findings of our studies and others strongly suggest that dried plum in its whole form is a promising and efficacious functional food therapy for preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women, with the potential for long-lasting bone-protective effects."
They do not mention prune juice.

April 11, 2017 at 2:15pm


What about prune juice?

June 27, 2017 at 1:16pm

Anita wilkins

Do I have to eat the prunes dry or can they be cooked? I usually do them in the microwave with some water, on high for approximately five minutes.

July 4, 2017 at 8:57pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Anita,
In speaking to the researcher who conducted the study she indicated that the prunes could be consumed in any form. Enjoy!

July 4, 2017 at 9:57pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Anita,
In speaking to the researcher of the study she clearly stated that you could enjoy them any way you like, cooked or dry.

May 1, 2018 at 2:07pm


Fascinating and exciting, thanks for this information.

May 1, 2018 at 2:19pm

Robin Lewis Kane

Hi there! I love prunes so eating a larger amount would be easy... My concern is that I wonder if prunes are especially acidic and/or bad for reflux. That would limit me. Any thoughts on this? Thanks...

May 1, 2018 at 3:16pm

Carol Parkes

Toni Lewis Kane- I have the same problem with reflux and I too was wondering about the acidity.

May 1, 2018 at 3:36pm


Thank you for this information. I am very excited to find an affordable food that is easily found and you don’t need to eat pounds of it to see benefits. Just wanted to verify that even though prunes stop bone resorption that that doesn’t cause Bad effect like the medications? Also, could rosanne please state which company does not use sulphites? I am also curious as to your opinion on calcium from red algae? Love your book and the exercise routine in it!

May 1, 2018 at 3:41pm

Alejandro L Franco

On another subject. I suffered a car accident Oct of 2017, that resulted in compression fracture with several fractured verterbrae have osteoporosis, and multiple myeloma; I had an autologous transplant May 1 of 2017. My spinal column has been cracking during physical therapy, specially when I'm lying flat my back. yesterday it cracked 3 time time almost simultaneously. Is this normal or harmful?

May 1, 2018 at 4:32pm

Patti Nuzzi

Re Dr. Hooshmand’s evaluation, the 4th paragraph states: “the study did not show a loss prevention in the hip or spine”. If so, what areas are the prunes most effective? I will continue to take prunes because they definitely help with constipation

May 1, 2018 at 6:40pm


What about those of us who like prunes but they have a deleterious effect on us... emphasis on the deleting part, lol. Is it possible to build up to eating that many?

May 2, 2018 at 4:28am

Alice Alech

This is wonderful news, thank you so much.

May 8, 2018 at 4:57pm

Kate Davies

I love stewed plums - can I substitute these instead? Do you have any guidelines as to how much fresh weight of plums I would need to consume?

June 11, 2018 at 6:57pm


I have two of your books and find them very helpful. Thank you!

I spoke about the prune study with my physician. He was intrigued with the information. However, he asked if I could find the following information in the clinical studies.
Number of people in the studies?
Number needed to treat to achieve goals?
What was the T score improvement? (ie less than -2.5 is considered osteoporosis)
How long do we have to take prunes?

Any advise on where I can get the answers to the above questions would be welcomed.

Thanks for all you do!

June 12, 2018 at 3:48pm

Richard Martin replies

Hi Rick. You can find Dr. Wallace's study in its entirety here.

Dr Wallace quotes the Hooshmand study: "Hooshmand and others found that two servings (100 g) of dried plums per day slowed the rate of bone turnover and helped to improve bone mineral density (BMD) in a clinical study of 160 randomized postmenopausal women (100 completed the study) not receiving hormone replacement therapy."

They did not specify the T-Score change (from what I could see) or how long to take prunes. For best effect, I believe Dr. Hooshmand suggests you make prunes a permanent part of your diet.

November 16, 2018 at 9:22am

Paige Daniels

I read about this a year or so ago and have been eating 5 prunes a day since then, but have no way of knowing if it's helped. I think I'm going to stick with that amount because I limit my sugar and that's already a lot of sugar, let alone 9 or 10 prunes!

I hope that study suggested about testing 5 prunes for a year rather than just 6 months, is done soon. I would really like to know the results.

November 16, 2018 at 11:03am

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Paige,
The study was completed showing that 5 prunes a day were as helpful as 10 a day. If you enjoy them and can work the calories into your day then research shows they are beneficial to your bones. Despite their natural sweetness their glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are much lower than dates or raisins. 40 g of prunes has a GI of 29 and a GL of 7.25. The same number of grams of dates and raisins have a GI of 103 and 64 respectively and a GL of 27.8 and 18 respectively. Source: Dr Murray's book: How to prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine.
Keep well,

December 18, 2018 at 12:59pm


What a wonderful site. Thank you.

December 18, 2018 at 6:33pm

Richard Martin replies

Thank you very much.

April 29, 2019 at 8:22pm

Rick Delvin

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and leaking calcium from my kidneys in April 2018. I wrote you June 11 2018 regarding questions about adding prunes to my diet. I chose to alter my diet and not take Fosamax. Beginning in May 2018 I began a high calcium (1200 mg ) and low sodium (1500mg) diet and 5 prunes (47g) daily plus weight bearing exercise 2 times per week. As of April 2019 my kidneys are not leaking and my T scores have improved (Spine from -2.9 to -2.6, Hip from -1.6 to 1.4, Neck from -2.3 to -2.1). Thanks for your articles and information on the topic.


April 29, 2019 at 8:47pm

Richard Martin replies

Hi Rick. Thanks. You're welcome.

May 1, 2019 at 5:39pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Rick, Such wonderful news!! You should be so proud of yourself for making diet and lifestyle changes that have so positively affected your bones. Keep up the good work. So glad we could help.

October 24, 2019 at 7:10pm

Charlotte Ulmer

Thank you for the information. My question for you is what do you recommend for people that have been told that PT would not be recommended - Would probably do .ore harm than good. This past year I have had six compression fractures and at present I have two stress fractures in left hip.

November 6, 2019 at 12:59pm


I'm wondering about stool color change. I have been consuming 5 prunes daily for some time now and recently upped to 8. Would this increase cause my stool to be black? Has anyone had this issue?

November 7, 2019 at 9:46pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Ann,
I do not believe that prunes will change the colour of your stools. Go back to your 5 prunes daily and if your stools continue to be black please contact your doctor.
For bone health the study showed that 100 mg or 4-5 prunes a day was sufficient to help with post menopausal bone loss.
Please take care,

November 8, 2019 at 9:11am

Helen Ginn

Loved this web site about prunes! We've been eating them for years. There is a great little cookbook entitled The Prune Gourmet still available on Amazon the last time I checked. It has 150 different ways to use prunes in recipes. Authors Donna Rodnitzky /Jogail Wenzel / Ellie Densen. Well worth the price. Buy it and enjoy.
Helen Ginn

October 4, 2020 at 7:40pm

Chicken Little

Wonderful site with a wealth of sensible, actionable, and scientifically-validated information. I came for the exercises and info on vibration machines, and ended up here at prunes! Thank you!

Concerning prunes, I wonder what you think of the research behind the "Scarborough Fair" diet, developed in Australia following research from Germany pointing to "bone resorption inhibiting properties" (BRIPs) n a number of specific fruits, vegetables and herbs...not just prunes. The trendy name comes from the fact that "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" (but not cilantro, basil, oregano or mint) just happen to have similar BRIPs to prunes, as do citrus, onions (all alliums), and cabbage (all brassicas) (but not apples, kiwi, spinach or green beans),

The 2 papers published have had a big influence on me--not just to eat more prunes--but also the other specific foods tested in the study. I have been surprised to see so little mention of this study in North America. In fact, the only place I've seen the study referenced, completely misrepresented its conclusions that all fruits and vegetables are not created equal. "Increased Intake of Selectd Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit may Reduce Bone Turnover in Post-Menopausal Women," Gunn et al, Nutrients, 2014 7 2499-2517;doi: 10.3390/nu7042499

October 5, 2020 at 9:51am

Richard Martin replies

Thank you very much for sharing this. The study you mention can be found here:

October 4, 2020 at 7:43pm

Chicken Little

Please correct citation above: date should be 2015

December 1, 2020 at 8:33am

Yoirlen Fernandez

Can you still take Vitamin K2 as MK7 supplement everyday and also eat the 10 prunes everyday? Would that be too much Vitamin K?

September 18, 2021 at 12:06am


Can a diabetic take prunes

September 18, 2021 at 12:46pm

Richard Martin replies

You should consult with your physician regarding your diabetes and diet.

October 3, 2021 at 5:37am

Karon Cumner

Has there been any further tests to see if hip and spine showed improvement?

October 3, 2021 at 2:09pm

Richard Martin replies

Not that we know about.

October 13, 2021 at 6:17pm

Penny Lloyd

Hi I’m newly diagnosed spine is -2.9 brilliant reading on the prunes. Can I ask how do I purchase online tutorials for the exercises I need to get a plan together only 59 years old. Thank you

October 13, 2021 at 6:31pm

Richard Martin replies

HI Penny. We suggest that most people start with Exercise for Better Bones.