Eat colourfully for bone health

February 4, 2009


You know you ought to eat 5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day for optimum health, and now it seems that if you choose carefully both men and women could be improving bone strength and lessening the risk of osteoporosis. It’s the antioxidant pigments (carotenoids) from plants that may play a protective role in taking care of bones and protect against bone loss in older men and women.

Osteoporosis used to be thought of as exclusively applying only to women, and men were rarely diagnosed with it, but that is now changing. The lifetime risk for a woman to have a bone break through osteoporosis is 30-40 per cent and in men the risk is about 13 per cent. Researchers at Tufts and Boston Universities used data from the ongoing Framingham Osteoporosis Study and their findings have revealed that an increased intake of carotenoids, and particularly of lycopene, gave some protection against bone mineral loss. It was different for the men and women in the study; men gained bone mineral density at the hip but women gained it in the lumbar spine.

Another reason to have a colourful salad with red tomatoes, and eat watermelon and pink and red grapefruit to ensure a good source of lycopene in your daily diet.


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