Jump to content
Dean Pomerleau

Time to Stock Up on Cranberries!

Recommended Posts

All,

I'll keep this brief:

  1. Cranberries are very healthy, and are thought to useful for preventing urinary tract infections, heart disease, cancer and even gum disease.
  2. Cranberries are nutrient dense, packed with phytochemicals and are only 25 calories per half cup serving, making them a very good CR food.
  3. Cranberries are pretty tart unsweetened, but I enjoy them a lot when mixed with other, sweeter berries.
  4. Cranberries are amazingly cheap as berries go. Right now they are available at Aldi's for $0.99 / lb.
  5. Cranberries freeze incredibly well - even better than blueberries due to their skins. Once thawed, you can barely tell the difference between fresh and previously frozen cranberries.
  6. Cranberries are only available for a brief period this time of year in the US, and only available as far as I've seen in fresh form - never frozen at other times of the year, at least in any of the grocery stores around me.

So what are you waiting for?! Go out today and buy a bunch of cranberries and freeze them so you can enjoy them throughout the coming year!

I just bought 10 lbs at Aldi's and will likely buy more after Thanksgiving when they might be even cheaper.

--Dean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dean, I'm a huge fan of cranberries but you don't worry about pesticides? The only reason I don't eat more berries in general is because they're too expensive if purchased organic. (Also: I've been leaning more on oranges, which are amazingly nutritious.)

 

The Aldi's price is for conventional, I assume, right? (And is it $0.99 / lb. or / 12 oz.? The flyer I see says per 12 oz. Still a good price, of course.)

 

Cranberries grow wild all over the place here in Eastern Massachusetts so I wonder whether the pesticide levels might be lower.

 

Zeta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dean, I'm a huge fan of cranberries but you don't worry about pesticides? The only reason I don't eat more berries in general is because they're too expensive if purchased organic. (Also: I've been leaning more on oranges, which are amazingly nutritious.)

 

The Aldi's price is for conventional, I assume, right? (And is it $0.99 / lb. or / 12 oz.? The flyer I see says per 12 oz. Still a good price, of course.)

 

Zeta,

 

I have to admit I don't worry too excessively about pesticides on my store-bought produce... From the link you sent it appears conventional cranberries are relatively low in pesticides, 36th in the ranking of 50 fruits and vegetables tested. 

 

You are perfectly correct on the package size - cranberries come in 12oz bags, not 16oz as I said. As you indicate, $0.99/12oz is still a good deal.

 

--Dean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is always a good time to stock up on dried plums:

 

Ageing Res Rev. 2009 Apr;8(2):122-7.
 

Viewpoint: dried plum, an emerging functional food that may effectively improve bone health.

 

 

Abstract

 

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disorder that affects both female and male, albeit to a greater extent in women than men. As the demographic shift to a more aged population continues, a growing number of men and women will be afflicted with osteoporosis and a search for potential non-pharmacological alternative therapies for osteoporosis is of prime interest. Aside from existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Among nutritional factors, recent observations suggest that dried plum, or prunes (Prunus domestica L.) is the most effective fruit in both preventing and reversing bone loss. Animal studies and a 3-month clinical trial conducted in our laboratories have shown that dried plum has positive effects on bone indices. The animal data indicate that dried plum not only protects against but more importantly reverses bone loss in two separate models of osteopenia. Our initial animal study indicated that dried plum prevented the ovariectomy-induced reduction in bone mineral density (BMD) of the femur and lumbar vertebra. In another study, to mimic established osteoporosis, rats were ovariectomized and allowed to lose bone before the initiation of treatment. Dried plum as low as 5% (w/w) restored BMD to the level of intact rats. More importantly, dried plum reversed the loss of trabecular architectural properties such as trabecular number and connectivity density, and trabecular separation. We have also shown the effectiveness of dried plum in reversal of bone loss due to skeletal unloading. Analysis of BMD and trabecular bone structure by microcomputed tomography (microCT) revealed that dried plum enhanced bone recovery during reambulation following skeletal unloading and had comparable effects to parathyroid hormone. In addition to the animal studies, our 3-month clinical trial indicated that the consumption of dried plum daily by postmenopausal women significantly increased serum markers of bone formation, total alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and insulin-like growth factor-I by 12, 6, and 17%, respectively. This review summarizes the findings of studies published to date which examine the beneficial effects of dried plum on bone in both female and male animal models of osteoporosis as well as the only published clinical studies.

 

PMID: 19274852

 

Using the catalyst hypothesis again, it may very well be that just a couple a day, or a week, could be all that is needed.

 

Rodney.

 

==============

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

Edited by nicholson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PMID: 19274852 (above) does not appear to be available free full text.  But I believe I recall that in one of the studies of the effects of dried plum on bone, dried plum was compared with dried apple, and the latter was found to have no effect.

 

This is interesting because some of the SDA studies on fruit (chief investigator Fraser, I think) have generally found dried fruit to have few of the benefits of fresh fruit.  Plums seem to be an exception.

 

It would also seem to be of significance to know whether FRESH plums have a similar effect.  Wouldn't it be fascinating if it was found they do not?

 

Rodney.

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

Edited by nicholson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dried plums ("prunes") have been shown to increase IGF-1 and this has been suggested as a mechanism underlying the benefits to bone health. I'm not convinced that lower IGF-1 is beneficial for aging and long-term health in humans, in fact I actually believe it may be preferable to maintain higher levels (the pros/cons of IGF-1 might be dependent upon each individual's particular risk factors.) There is substantial evidence of IGF-1 benefiting and protecting bone, brain, muscle and cardiovascular health in humans. However, I know that lower IGF-1 is favored by many CR practitioners and therefore it may be important for them to be aware of this effect of dried plums.

Edited by Brett Black

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dried plums ("prunes") have been shown to increase IGF-1 and this has been suggested as a mechanism underlying the benefits to bone health. I'm not convinced that lower IGF-1 is beneficial for aging and long-term health in humans, in fact I actually believe it may be preferable to maintain higher levels (the pros/cons of IGF-1 might be dependent upon each individual's particular risk factors.) There is substantial evidence of IGF-1 benefiting and protecting bone, brain, muscle and cardiovascular health in humans. However, I know that lower IGF-1 is favored by many CR practitioners and therefore it may be important for them to be aware of this effect of dried plums.

Brett,

 

Thanks for the heads up on dried plums (aka the fruit formerly known as prunes), and IGF-1. I did a quick search, and you are indeed correct. Study [1] also found that dried plums improved markers of bone health in a rat model of male osteoporosis (castration - yikes!), and the effect is likely mediated via increased serum IGF-1.

 

At the end of the treatment period, both the [medium dose = 15% of diet] and

[High dose = 25% of diet] dried plum completely prevented the [castration]-induced

decrease in whole body, femur, and lumbar vertebra bone mineral density (BMD).

 

So it is hard to say - there is evidence that reduced IGF-1 is at least in part the mechanism by which CR has its benefits, but at the same time a lot of CR practitioners are concerned (rightfully IMO) about fracture risk late in life. So pick your poison...

 

--Dean

 

-------------

[1] Bone. 2006 Dec;39(6):1331-42. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

Dried plum prevents bone loss in a male osteoporosis model via IGF-I and the RANK

pathway.

 

Franklin M(1), Bu SY, Lerner MR, Lancaster EA, Bellmer D, Marlow D, Lightfoot SA,

Arjmandi BH, Brackett DJ, Lucas EA, Smith BJ.

 

Author information:

(1)Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Environmental Science,

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.

 

Previously, dietary supplementation with dried plums, a rich source of

polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has

been shown to improve bone density, microstructure and biomechanics in female

animal models of osteopenia. We designed this study to determine the extent to

which dried plum prevents skeletal deterioration in gonadal hormone deficient

male animals and to begin to understand its mechanism of action. Sixty

6-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were either sham-operated (Sham = 1 group)

or orchidectomized (ORX = 4 groups) and randomly assigned to dietary treatments:

standard semi-purified diet (Control) with either LD = 5%, MD = 15%, or HD = 25%

(w/w) dried plum for 90 days. At the end of the treatment period, both the MD and

HD dried plum completely prevented the ORX-induced decrease in whole body, femur,

and lumbar vertebra bone mineral density (BMD). Biomechanical testing indicated

that the MD and HD of dried plum prevented the ORX-induced decrease in ultimate

load of the cortical bone as well as the compressive force and stiffness of

trabecular bone within the vertebrae. Analyses of trabecular microarchitecture of

the distal femur metaphysis and vertebral body revealed that HD dried plum

protected against the decrease in trabecular bone volume (BV/TV) induced by ORX.

In the distal femur, all doses of dried plum improved trabecular number (TbN) and

separation (TbSp) compared to the ORX-control group, while MD and HD dried plum

prevented the ORX-induced changes in vertebral TbN and TbSp. At the end of the

90-day treatment, no remarkable changes in serum osteocalcin or alkaline

phosphatase in any of the treatment groups were observed, while serum

insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I was increased by dried plum. The ORX-induced

increase in urinary deoxypyridinoline (DPD) excretion was completely prevented by

all doses of dried plum coinciding with down-regulation of gene expression for

receptor activator of NFkappa-B ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) in the

bone. We conclude that dried plum prevents osteopenia in androgen deficient male

rats, and these beneficial effects may be attributed in part to a decrease in

osteoclastogenesis via down-regulation of RANKL and stimulation of bone formation

mediated by IGF-I.

 

PMID: 16890505

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Dried plums ("prunes") have been shown to increase IGF-1 and this has been suggested as a mechanism underlying the benefits to bone health

 

Why would prunes, of all foods, increase IGF-1?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×