A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish can reduce hip bone loss in just 12 months according to a recently published study.
Following a Mediterranean diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UK), published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These results show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish can reduce bone loss in the hip in just 12 months.
The study is the first long-term European clinical trial on the impact of a Mediterranean diet on the bone health of older people. 1142 patients aged 65 to 79 participated in the trial, and the volunteers were randomized into two groups – one who followed a Mediterranean diet, the other not. Their bone density was measured at the beginning of the experiment and 12 months later. The diet had no noticeable impact on participants with normal bone density, but it had an effect on people with osteoporosis.
People in the control group continued to suffer from age-related bone loss, but those who followed the Mediterranean diet benefited from an increase in bone density in their femoral neck. “This is a particularly sensitive area because bone loss in the femoral neck is often the cause of hip fracture, which is common in older people with osteoporosis,” says Fairweather-Tait of the medical school of the University of East Anglia. He adds, “It takes a lot of time for the bone to form, so the 12-month trial, although one of the longest to date, was still relatively short to show an impact. The fact that we have been able to notice a marked difference between the groups, even over this period of time, is significant. ”
Funded by the European Union, the study was conducted on participants recruited in Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland and France. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet increased their consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish, and consumed small amounts of meat, alcohol and dairy products . Bone density was measured in more than 600 subjects in both groups at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Of these participants, just under 1% had osteoporosis at the beginning of the study.
The researchers would now like to conduct a similar, and ideally longer, study to confirm the results and see if the impact can be seen in other parts of the body. If the role of diet is established, it would complement current drug treatments for osteoporosis, which can have serious side effects.
But anyway, “there is already evidence that a Mediterranean diet has other health benefits – it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer,” said Professor Fairweather-Tait, researcher at the University of East Anglia. “So there is no problem in adopting such a diet, whether or not you have osteoporosis,” he concluded.