Eat colourfully for bone health


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.

Osteoporosis and red grapefruit

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Healthy Ageing

I have mentioned the health benefits of red grapefruit in a previous issue, and now it seems that the pulp may increase bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. At present it is estimated there are three million people with osteoporosis in the UK and that half of all women and one in five men over 50 will break a bone from having this condition.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have published the findings of their recent research in the journal Nutrition and it is good news for anyone at risk of osteoporosis or having a family history of it. Their trial was conducted on rats and found that when they divided the group into three and fed them a different diet. The rats given red grapefruit pulp in their diet showed significantly lower calcium loss from their bones and lower levels of urinary deoxypyridinoline.

Rats on the non grapefruit diet showed the exact opposite with higher levels of calcium loss and urinary deoxypyridinoline – both of which are indicators of bone bone breakdown and a greater risk of osteoporosis.

The more grapefruit the rats had, the greater the protection. So follow their example and eat red grapefruit every day to help ward off osteoporosis.