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Mediterranean diet is good for older women’s bones and muscles, study finds

/ 07:07 PM March 20, 2018

Image: andresr/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Menopause brings losses in bone and muscle mass, which can lead to bone fractures and osteoporosis.

A Brazilian study, presented Monday, March 19 at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, suggests adopting a Mediterranean diet as a strategy for reducing this risk.

Postmenopausal women eating a Mediterranean-style diet were found to have higher bone mass and muscle mass, two risk factors for osteoporosis and bone fractures, in a study by researchers at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

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The Mediterranean diet has little left to prove, it seems, with its virtues hailed in the scientific community for diabetes management, protecting the heart and reducing the risk of cancer and chronic disease.

The diet involves a high intake of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, olive oil, seeds and a moderate intake of red wine. The Mediterranean diet also favors a moderately high fish intake and low consumption of saturated fat, dairy and red meat.

After following 103 post-menopausal women in Brazil, with an average age of 55, and who had gone through menopause 5.5 years earlier, on average, researchers found that this anti-inflammatory diet may be beneficial in preventing the risk of osteoporosis, linked to declining estrogen, and bone fractures.

The association was independent of other factors, such as whether the women had used hormone therapy, their prior smoking behavior or their current level of physical activity, measured by wearing a pedometer for six days.

The women underwent bone scans to measure their bone mineral density, total body fat and lean mass, which was used to estimate skeletal muscle mass. They completed a food questionnaire about what they ate in the past month.

The study also found greater muscle mass in women with “better adherence to the Mediterranean diet.”

“Postmenopausal women, especially those with low bone mass, should ask their doctor whether they might benefit from consuming this dietary pattern,” concludes the study’s lead investigator, Thais Rasia Silva. JB

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TAGS: diet, Mediterranean, menopause, Nutrition, Osteoporosis
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