Mediterranean diet seems to reduce osteoporosis says new study

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Mediterranean diet, osteoporosis, bone loss, fracture diet, arthritis digest magazineEating a Mediterranean-type diet may reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis according to the first long-term European clinical trial looking at the impact of a Mediterranean diet on bone health in older adults. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the findings suggest that sticking to a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil and fish can reduce hip bone loss within just 12 months.

Over 1,140 people aged between 65 and 79 years old took part in the trial, and were split into two groups. One group followed a Mediterranean diet by increasing their intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish, consumed small quantities of dairy products and meat and had a moderate alcohol intake. The other group did not. Bone density was measured at the start and after 12 months.

The diet had no impact on people with normal bone density, but it did affect those with osteoporosis (10% of the volunteers). People with osteoporosis in the control group continued to see the usual age-related decrease in bone density, but those following the Mediterranean diet saw an increase in bone density in the area that connects the shaft of the thigh bone to its rounded head.

“This is a particularly sensitive area for osteoporosis as loss of bone in the femoral neck is often the cause of hip fracture, which is common in elderly people with osteoporosis,” says Prof Susan Fairweather-Tait, lead author. “Bone takes a long time to form, so the 12-month trial, although one of the longest to date, was still a relatively short time frame to show an impact. So the fact we were able to see a marked difference between the groups even in just this one area is significant.

“A Mediterranean diet is already proven to have other health benefits, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. So there’s no downside to adopting such a diet, whether you have osteoporosis or not.”

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