Baltimore Sun

Prunes may strengthen bones but beware various side effects

- By Joe Graedon, M.S., and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via www. peoplespha­

Q: I have read that prunes have health benefits. They keep you regular. They are also supposed to be good for bone strength. I am confused about the “dose.” How many prunes do you need to eat to get health benefits? Too many give me diarrhea. A:

A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oct. 6, 2022) reported that people who ate four to six prunes daily improved bone density over six months.

A “high-dose” experiment­al group were asked to eat twice as many prunes. The researcher­s acknowledg­ed that the dropout rate among these women was 41%, due in part to “poor tolerance consuming the prunes.” We suspect that eight to twelve prunes would cause many people diarrhea.

Some readers worry that consuming half a dozen prunes a day might raise blood sugar, especially for people with diabetes.

Q: I have been taking amlodipine for high blood pressure. When I started drinking beet root juice (one cup a day), it lowered my blood pressure too much. So, I stopped taking the meds and took beet root juice for three weeks and also went vegan.

I’m not saying I cured my high blood pressure, but my blood pressure is normal now. I still check it every day with two different blood pressure devices. Beet root juice in addition to fruits and veggies in my diet seem to do the job. I also check labels for sodium and stay away from it. I’m a 32-yearold Black male also living

with sickle cell disease, and I feel great. A:

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with beet root juice. A review of research reveals that consuming this juice can increase the production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels (Antioxidan­ts, July 22, 2022). This lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow.

Q: I have blephariti­s, which makes my eyelids red and itchy. I used baby shampoo and hot compresses, per doctor’s order, for about 10 years. Then, a different eye doctor recommende­d OCuSOFT Lid Scrub original cleanser. I love it! It’s so much easier to use. A:

OCuSOFT Lid Scrub contains several gentle detergents to remove oil and debris from the eyelids. Although there is no “house brand,” Systane also makes an eyelid cleanser.

Q: My feet turn red and burn at night, so I cannot sleep. I have tried going to bed with an ice pack or applying cream, but nothing has helped. My podiatrist could offer no help. A:

It can be challengin­g to diagnose why feet burn. One common cause is

peripheral neuropathy. Ask your physician if this nerve disorder may be contributi­ng to your discomfort. Check with her about supplement­s such as alpha-lipoic acid, benfotiami­ne and acetyl L-carnitine. These are sometimes helpful (Cureus, June 8, 2022; Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, April 2022; Nutrients, Oct. 23, 2020).

Q: What is suggested for the inability to control (hold in) flatulence? It’s embarrassi­ng! The odor usually isn’t the issue, but the sound of it is! A:

Flatulence is a normal result of eating healthful foods. The average person passes gas between 14 and 22 times daily. Resisting the release of flatus is at best a temporary solution. The gas that has built up eventually needs to escape.

Dietary changes can reduce the amount of intestinal gas that is produced. Keeping a food diary may help you identify the foods that are causing you the most distress.

 ?? DREAMSTIME ?? A study showed four to six prunes daily was the appropriat­e amount of prunes to eat to aid bone density.
DREAMSTIME A study showed four to six prunes daily was the appropriat­e amount of prunes to eat to aid bone density.

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