If you’re concerned about bone loss due to osteoporosis, consider shifting to a Mediterranean diet. Eating food that is high in certain foods such as nuts, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and fish has been shown to reduce hip bone loss within a year.
In the first study looking at a Mediterranean diet’s impact on bone health in older adults, researchers followed more than 1,000 Europeans between the ages of 65 and 79. Among the study participants, one group followed the diet and another did not.
After a year, those who had the bone-wasting disease known as osteoporosis and ate a Mediterranean diet actually gained bone density where the thigh and hip connect. People who didn’t follow the diet experienced a typical age-related decrease in bone density.
Researchers said the area where bone density improved is particularly critical: It’s often the location of hip fractures among older people with osteoporosis. The findings are significant because they show true growth in bone density among osteoporosis patients, who would otherwise be shedding bone without the Mediterranean diet, they added.
The recent findings are just the latest involving the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular problems and some cancers.
Next, the researchers would like to do a longer, larger trial. Given enough time on the Mediterranean diet, they believe that even people without osteoporosis would have better bone density.
Older adults — even those without osteoporosis — can adopt a Mediterranean diet with no potential downside, the researchers noted. At the grocery story, aim for the fish and vegetables, and steer clear of the red meat.