Study links fruit, vegetable consumption to lower osteoporosis risk in mature women

In order to explore the connection between diet and osteoporosis, a team of Canadian scientists recently conducted a medical literature review of all articles dealing with the link between bone health and the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

The results, which appeared in the journal Osteoporosis International, indicated that eating more produce may reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures and increase bone mass density among women age 45 or older.

From thousands of candidates, eight reports ultimately qualified for inclusion in the meta-study, said the authors, who hailed primarily from the University of Toronto.

The team excluded studies that had examined the connection between osteoporosis and either the consumption of one particular fruit or vegetable, the narrowing of produce intake to a vitamin-rich subset or the use of a special diet - the so-called Western and Mediterranean regimens, for example.

Examination of the eight qualifying studies indicated that mature women who had the highest fruit and vegetable intakes tended to have better bone densities and to suffer fewer fractures.

The team noted that these results were based on individuals who ate fairly balanced diets, rather than consuming produce at the expense of other food groups.

Although the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the World Health Organization recommend that aging women consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, such suggestions run the risk of eclipsing the crucial advice to eat at least three servings of dairy each day, researchers said.

Scientists have been exploring the association between produce and bone health for a number of years. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for instance, found that teen girls and older women who ate more fruit tended to have higher bone mass densities.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that fruits and vegetables may contribute nutrients that are valuable to the maintenance of bone health, including calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and K.
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