Can a Mediterranean Diet Help Guard Your Bones?

Once again, the Mediterranean diet has proven its worth: research has found that a Mediterranean dietary pattern may bestow hipbone benefits upon postmenopausal women. The new research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, included data from 93,676 women, ages 50 to 79, who were participating in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study. At the beginning of the study, researchers looked at the women’s answers to food frequency questionnaires to determine their nutrient and food intake. The researchers then used that data to assess how closely the women’s eating habits adhered to several diets, including a Mediterranean dietary pattern, the Healthy Eating Index 2010, the 11-item Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010, or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. During a follow-up period of around 15 years, researchers documented 2,121 hip fractures and 28,718 total fractures. After comparing the diet assessments to the fracture data, researchers found that:

  • Following a Mediterranean dietary pattern was associated with a lower risk of hip fractures, but was not associated with a lower risk of total fractures: Women who adhered to this eating plan most closely were 29% less likely to experience a hip fracture compared with those who did not follow the diet as closely.
  • Following the other diets included in the study did not significantly reduce or increase the risk of fractures.

This research joins the ranks of previous observational studies which have found that eating a Mediterranean diet has health benefits. Specifically, the diet has been associated with cognitive, heart, and weight management benefits, among other benefits. If you’d like to try eating like they do around the Mediterranean, focus on eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains throughout the day, and try to eat around 12 ounces of fish every week. Remember to limit your intake of red meats and dairy, and if you like to drink wine, do so moderately.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

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