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Mediterranean Diet and Osteoporosis

The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are renowned in reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and other health conditions. New studies have even shown a Mediterranean diet may manage osteoporosis and prevent against bone loss!


The Mediterranean diet continues to be one of the leading diets. And for good reason.

The benefits of Mediterranean diet and lifestyle are renowned. Research has shown the diet may reverse metabolic syndrome and lower inflammation in the body. It may also reduce risks of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.

And according to novel evidence, the diet is extending its advantageous repertoire…

Eating a Mediterranean diet has shown to help manage osteoporosis and prevent against bone loss!

Mediterranean Style Diet

The Mediterranean diet encourages whole, plant-based foods and healthy fat sources. Healthy fats specifically include monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are considered to be anti-inflammatory nutrients.

A further breakdown includes whole grains, cereals, fruits and veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive and canola oils. Fresh herbs and spices are also used to offer extra nutrients and flavor without the need of salt.

The diet also supports fish and lean poultry at least twice a week. Dairy products and red wine are encouraged in moderation, with a low consumption of red meats.

Beyond the diet itself, a Mediterranean lifestyle also encourages eating meals with family and friends. One should also be active on a regular basis.

What Is Osteoporosis?

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) states osteoporosis literally means porous bones. They further define osteoporosis as "a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs."

According to the IOF, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. One in 5 men aged over 50 worldwide will, too. For women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many diseases. These include diabetes, heart attack, and breast cancer, which are some of the leading chronic diseases in the U.S.

What's more, bone fractures can be quite serious, especially spinal and hip fractures. These fractures can lead to loss of height and intense back pain. Surgeries can result in loss of independence and even death.

Fortunately, preventative measures can offset osteoporosis risk, which particularly relate to lifestyle factors and choices. Preventing osteoporosis can start as early as childhood. Children and adolescents are encouraged to:

• Ensure a nutritious diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake

• Avoid protein malnutrition and undernutrition

• Participate in regular physical activity

Adults are also encouraged to ensure nutritious diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. They should avoid undernutrition and the effects of severe weight-loss diets, too. More specific recommendations for adults include:

• Participating in regular weight-bearing activity

• Avoiding smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke

• Avoiding heavy drinking

So, what is the link between a Mediterranean diet and osteoporosis? New research shows sticking to a Mediterranean diet can reduce hip bone loss within just 12 months!

The Bone-Strengthening Research

The University of East Anglia's Press Release explains it is the first long-term, pan-European study to examine the impact of a Mediterranean diet on bone health in older adults.

More than 1,000 people aged between 65 and 79 took were randomized into two groups. The groups included one group who followed a Mediterranean diet and a control group who did not:

• Mediterranean diet group: Followers of the Mediterranean diet increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish. They consumed small quantities of dairy products and meat and had a moderate alcohol intake.

• Control group: The participants in the control group were provided with foods such as olive oil and whole meal pasta. Offering these foods encouraged them to stick to the diet. They were also given a small vitamin D supplement. This helped to even out the effects of varying sunlight on vitamin D statuses between the participating countries.

At the start and end of the trial, blood samples were taken to check for circulating biomarkers. These included bone density measurements in over 600 participants. Of these participants, just under 10 percent were found to have osteoporosis at the start of the study.

While the diet had no obvious impact on participants with normal bone density, it did have on those with osteoporosis. However, people in the control group continued to see the usual age-related decrease in bone density. Those following the Mediterranean diet saw an equivalent increase in bone density in one part of the body. More specifically, the femoral neck, or neck of the femur.

"This is a particularly sensitive area for osteoporosis as loss of bone in the femoral neck is often the cause of hip fracture, which is common in elderly people with osteoporosis," states study lead Professor Susan Fairweather-Tait.

"Bone takes a long time to form, so the 12-month trial, although one of the longest to date, was still a relatively short time frame to show an impact. But the fact we were able to see a marked difference between the groups even in just this one area is significant."

Ultimately, the research concludes there really is no downside to adopting a Mediterranean diet. And doing so can be simple and convenient thanks to Mediterranean diet delivery with bistroMD!

Mediterranean Diet Delivery with BistroMD

While receiving Mediterranean meals straight to doorsteps might seem like a dream, bistroMD makes it a reality!

Meals are bountiful in whole grains, veggies, legumes, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources. All meals are also limited of refined grains and added sugars, and rather artfully flavored with herbs and spices!

Every doctor-designed and dietitian-approved meal provides a scientific balance of complex carbohydrate, lean protein, and healthy fat ratios. Each meal contains 1,100 to 1,400 calories daily with 40 to 50 percent of total caloric intake from adequate protein. Twenty to 25 percent of calories comes from healthy fats and the remainder 30 to 35 percent from complex carbohydrate.

And offering 200 recipes and a customizable menu, there is always something to satisfy personal taste buds and meet individualized goals! Recipes include roasted cauliflower and lentils with charred red pepper sauce, eggplant lasagna casserole, and blackened tilapia with red pepper coulis. (Just to name a few!)

BistroMD also has Mediterranean diet options for men and women. Members also have the choice to receive five-or-seven-days' worth of healthy meals delivered right to home!

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on September 26, 2018. Updated on April 25, 2019.


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