News About Osteoporosis: Fruits And Vegetables Prevent Bone Decay

March 30, 1999

While we hear a great deal about the importance of milk and other calcium-containing foods for bone health, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that fruits and vegetables are also important in the prevention of osteoporosis! The authors evaluated participants from the Framington Heart Study and found that lifelong dietary intakes of potassium, magnesium and fruit and vegetables were determinants of bone mineral density in elderly men and women.

Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University and lead investigator of the study says, "This suggests that a good quality diet in adulthood is important to bone health beyond the better known contributions of calcium and vitamin D, and provides yet another reason to emphasize the intake of fruits and vegetables."

According to Dr. Douglas Kiel, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of Medical Research at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, "Normal digestion produces increased acidity. In this environment, bone acts as a buffer base. Minerals are drawn out of the bone to neutralize the acid, thereby reducing the strength of the bone. Fruits and vegetables help to prevent this loss of bone mineral density because they create a more alkaline environment in the body‹they neutralize the acid without depending on the buffering effects of the bone minerals. It is also possible that potassium and magnesium have direct effects on bone cells."

People who consume a lot of highly processed foods often lack adequate amounts of potassium and magnesium. Good sources of potassium include fruits and vegetables such as bananas, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli and melon. Good sources of magnesium include a variety of whole foods including fruits and vegetables, milk, fish and whole grains.

Osteoporosis affects roughly 25 million Americans, often leading to bone fractures. Bone is living tissue and its density is constantly affected by diet and exercise. Although the body builds and stores bone more efficiently during the younger years, it is never too late to start healthy bone-building habits. Eating fruits and vegetables can help!
This media release by The American Society for Nutritional Sciences and The American Society for Clinical Nutrition is intended to provide information on health and nutrition related research and should not be construed as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, consult your doctor.

American Society for Clinical Nutrition/American Society for Nutritional Sciences

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