Prunes may strengthen bones but beware various side effects
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.