YUBA CITY, Calif., March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Last month, The New England Journal of Medicine published a major study (www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303) strengthening claims that the so-called Mediterranean diet can decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes and reduce the risk of dying from these diseases. This diet, first popularized in the U.S. by Oldways Preservation and Trust, a non-profit food and nutrition education organization, in the early 1990s, includes plenty of olive oil, nuts, fish, and fruits and vegetables. According to Oldways, dried fruits like Sunsweet's Amazing Prune™ fit in this healthy style of eating. Research also shows that prunes, or dried plums as they are also called, support digestive health as well as immunity and healthy aging. Emerging studies are now adding bone health to the list of prune benefits.
"We feel it's critical that consumers are aware of the fact that prunes have truly amazing nutritional benefits," said Dane Lance, president of Sunsweet, a leading marketer of prunes. "Sunsweet has forged a relationship with the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) to spread the word that prunes have been shown to keep bones strong by preventing bone mineral loss, which can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures." Researchers at Florida State University suspect that compounds found in dried plums like potassium, copper, boron and vitamin K1 act synergistically to contribute to bone health.
A major component to Sunsweet's commitment to bone health, it has donated $25,000 to the NOF to help increase awareness of preventative solutions for bone density loss. Sunsweet will participate in the Healthy Bones, Build Them for Life consumer and patient forum on March 12, 2013 in New York City. This free, educational event will bring together expert clinicians to discuss bone health and testing, the importance of physical activity and nutrition, and osteoporosis treatment options. Registration is open to the public: https://www.hss.edu/secure/pped.asp. As part of the NOF partnership, Sunsweet will also participate in two Generations of Strength educational events in Chicago and Boston. This series, open to the public, will feature world-class osteoporosis experts in interactive panel discussions and exhibits offering resources for healthy living. For a full schedule of Generations of Strength events, visit www.nof.org/events/pearls-of-strength, and to obtain more information on Sunsweet's involvement with the NOF, please follow us on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Sunsweet.
Prunes have been part of healthy eating patterns like the Mediterranean diet for centuries because they are highly portable, available year round, relatively low in cost and don't require refrigeration. "The Mediterranean diet has long included prunes and other dried fruits," said Hannah Weisman, Program Manager of Mediterranean Foods Alliance at Oldways.
Sunsweet encourages you to make prunes part of your wellness arsenal. Sunsweet, a leading marketer of prunes, specialty dried fruits and fruit juices, has a complete line of Amazingly Snackable™ products. Sunsweet Ones™ are individually wrapped prunes that can be tucked into a purse, lunch box or backpack, and Plum Amazins™, diced dried plums, can be sprinkled into yogurt or salads and used in place of raisins or dried cranberries in recipes. Sunsweet's 7-ounce bags of pitted prunes come in traditional, orange- and cherry-essence flavors. A daily serving (4 to 5 dried plums or 1/4 cup of Plum Amazins) of any of these prune products contains fewer than 100 calories, no cholesterol, no sodium and no fat, and is a good source of fiber and a source of potassium.
Sunsweet Growers Inc., established in 1917, has more than 95 years of experience and heritage in producing the highest quality dried fruits. The Yuba City, Calif.-based cooperative of 300 grower/members is the worldwide leader in prunes and related products. Most recently, the product portfolio has been expanded to include a full line of dried fruit snacks and juices, all designed to fit today's need for healthy and convenient food choices.
 Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai, Raz L. Saadat, Mark E. Payton, Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Bahram H. Arjmandi. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1017/X000711451100119X
 Arjmandi et al., J Food Nutri Disor 2012; 1:2