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iVillage: Foods That Fight Chronic Pain

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Plum Perfect

While some foods improve pain once you have it, prunes (dried plums) might actually prevent pain by strengthening your bones to avoid fractures. In one study, Arjmandi and colleagues at the University of Florida compared postmenopausal women who consumed about 10 prunes a day to those who ate about the same amount of dried apples. Over a year, the prune group had significantly higher bone density in their spines and arm bones than the apple eaters. Prunes, Arjmandi says, appear to have anti-inflammatory properties and may also help prevent the breakdown and reabsorption of bone, which can result in bone thinning, a process that speeds up after menopause.

Prunes are high in fiber, so if you’re not used to consuming them, Arjmandi advises increasing your intake gradually. “Start by eating two or three dried plums a day for a week, then add another two the following week until you work up to eating eight dried plums per day,” he says. And be sure to drink lots of water; without it, prunes can actually leave you constipated.

(CREDIT: John Carey/PhotoLibrary/Getty Images)
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