While losing bone mass was once thought to be an inevitable part of aging, many experts now believe exercise and other lifestyle practices can lessen it. Now, a new study suggests following a diet plentiful in anti-inflammatory foods may also offer protection against weakened bones.
Osteoporosis, the condition characterized by porous bones and increased fracture risk, affect millions of Americans, but it disproportionately impacts women. As many older women with this condition are also at greater risk of taking a fall, the mishaps often result in fractures, some of which can be serious and even pose a threat to life. Since osteoporotic medications may not be the answer for every woman due to the side effects involved, the news that diet can reduce bone loss is welcome.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Slows Bone Loss
Because previous studies have linked high levels of blood inflammatory markers to bone loss, researchers at Ohio State University decided to investigate how dietary elements contribute to inflammation and the resulting malady. They examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest study of postmenopausal women in the U.S., to compare dietary intake to bone mineral density and incidence of fractures. The specific focus was on the anti-inflammatory foods of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
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Analysis showed women with the least inflammatory diet lost less bone density during the six-year study than those with the most inflammatory diet. This effect was despite the fact that they had lower bone density at the study’s onset.
“These women with healthier diets didn’t lose bone as quickly as those with high-inflammation diets, and this is important because after menopause women see a drastic loss in bone density that contributes to fractures, lead author Tonya Orchard said. “This suggests that as women age, healthy diets are impacting their bones. I think this gives us yet another reason to support the recommendations for a healthy diet in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
While it was surprising that women with the better quality diet started out with less bone density, Orchard explained that people who eat healthier foods are likely to be smaller. Larger people tend to have higher bone density.
High-Inflammatory Foods Increase Hip Fractures 50 Percent in Subgroup
Another finding involved a connection between a high-inflammatory diet and fractures – but only in a subgroup of women. High consumption of inflammatory foods was associated with a 50-percent increased risk of hip fractures among white women younger than 63 years of age.
“This suggests that a high-quality, less-inflammatory diet may be especially important in reducing hip fracture risk in younger women,” the researchers wrote.
Conversely, in the study group overall, high-inflammatory diets didn’t correlate with an increased incidence of bone fractures. The women who consumed the poorer diet had a modestly lower risk of arm and total fractures. A possible explanation for this is that women with the better quality diet were more physically active: although exercise is beneficial, it would put them at a slightly higher risk of falls.
The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
A prime example of an eating plan that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods is the Mediterranean diet, which is widely lauded for its host of wellness benefits. The new study provides one more reason for following what some believe is the world’s heathiest diet.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.