Fruits and vegetables help keep fractures at bay

November 19, 2010 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Fruits and vegetables help keep fractures at bay
Researchers from McGill University in Montreal are reporting that older women who eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains have a decreased risk of bone fractures compared to women who skip on out such healthy fare.

To date, most studies have linked higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D to better bone health.  This is one of the first studies to link overall diet quality to fracture risk.

To investigate, researchers studied the diets of more than 3,000 postmenopausal women and 1,600 men aged 50 or older and their risk of bone fractures.

At the start of the study, study participants completed detailed diet questionnaires. The research then calculated nutrient density scores for each person.

A diet high in nutrient density would feature plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and fish. One high in calorie density might include things such as desserts, potato chips and processed meats.

Over the next 7 years, 70 men and 372 women in the study sustained fractures unrelated to major accidents.

Researchers found that for each 40 percent increase in calories from fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods; the odds of suffering a fracture over 10 years fell by 14 percent among women.

This was true even when accounting for other factors such as body weight, bone density, smoking habits and calcium and vitamin D intake.

There was a similar pattern among men, however not to the same extent.  
Researcher found no relationship between fracture risk and diets high in calorie-dense foods. Not surprisingly, study participants with nutrient-rich eating habits also tend to be more health-conscious, including getting more exercise and being less likely to smoke compared to people who shunned fruits and vegetables.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.