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.

5-a-day fallacy

March 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Diets, featured, Food & Nutrition, Health

Unless you have been on a desert island with your 8 gramophone records, and lucky you, then you will know that the minimum requirement to be healthy is to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. The message seems to have got through, but the devil is in the detail. A survey by the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association has revealed that on average only 14% of Britons manage those 5 portions, and, what is worse, around two-thirds of us – a staggering 38 million people – are counting potatoes in as one of their daily five. I love a good roastie as much as the next woman, perhaps rather too much so, but whatever form you eat potatoes in they are principally a source of carbohydrate. True they contain some vitamin C, but you can’t have them as part of your daily allowance.

Apparently the top favourites we do include in our diet are bananas and carrots but that isn’t enough to stop the Government’s latest Cabinet Office discussion paper from concluding that up to 70,000 premature deaths a year could be avoided if people simply followed basic nutritional guidelines.