Study Links Anti-Inflammatory Diet to Reduced Bone Loss in Women

You are what you eat, as the old saying goes, and new research finds that you could eat your way to stronger, healthier bones.

Osteoporosis is a major health concern for women over the age of 50, but this degenerative bone disease isn’t just limited to females. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 53 million Americans currently have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the disease. At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will have an osteoporotic fracture at some point in their lifetime.

A recent study at Ohio State University evaluated the effects that diet has on osteoporosis. Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, and colleagues analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative study and compared levels of inflammatory nutrients in the diet to bone mineral density and incidence of fractures.

The researchers found that women who adhered to anti-inflammatory diets – which are high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains – lost less bone density during a six year follow-up than women who consumed the highest inflammatory diets, even if they started with lower bone density overall.

"This suggests that as women age, healthy diets are impacting their bones," said Orchard in a press release. "I think this gives us yet another reason to support the recommendations for a healthy diet in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

Rebecca Jackson, director of Ohio State's Center for Clinical and Transitional Science, national chair of the Women's Health Initiative steering committee and senior study author, said these findings confirm previous studies which have linked osteoporosis to inflammatory factors.

“By looking at the full diet rather than individual nutrients, these data provide a foundation for studying how components of the diet might interact to provide benefit and better inform women's health and lifestyle choices," she adds.

The findings of this study are published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Density (Source: Medical News Today).