The People's Perspective on Medicine

What Is the Best Diet for Strong Bones?

The best diet for preventing bone loss is rich in vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains and has very little processed food and saturated or trans fat.

Is there a connection between diet and osteoporosis? Women who want to keep their bones strong might wish to follow the best diet, which is an anti-inflammatory diet.

What Is the Link Between Diet and Bone Strength?

Analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative found that women whose diets had the lowest inflammatory potential had less bone loss during the six years of follow-up. The Women’s Health Initiative started in 1993-1998 and ran for approximately six years. Volunteers were between 50 and 79 years old when they entered the study, so they were at an age when bone loss often becomes troublesome in women.

As part of the study, 160,191 women filled out detailed dietary questionnaires for at least three years. Data on fractures were available for all of them. In addition, 10,290 had undergone bone mineral density testing at least twice in the duration of the study. That is the data that allowed the investigators to conclude that women with less inflammatory diets lost less bone over time, even though they had lower bone mineral density at the outset.

In one group of women, following the best diet also reduced the risk of hip fracture. White women under 63 years of age were 50 percent less likely to break a hip if they ate properly.

Defining the Best Diet:

What makes a diet anti-inflammatory? The researchers calculated a Dietary Inflammation Index based on previous nutrition research linking dietary components and markers of inflammation such as CRP or TNF-alpha.

The healthiest diets are rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruit. They feature fish rather than meat. Healthful diets may have modest amounts of alcohol but do not provide much sugar or refined carbohydrate; saturated or trans fats are minimal. Flavorings such as garlic, ginger, oregano, saffron, thyme and turmeric add to the anti-inflammatory effect of the best diet. So do compounds like anthocyanidins from blue and red berries and flavonols from other plant-based foods. Diets that follow the Mediterranean pattern or DASH diets fit these criteria and have been shown to benefit overall health.

Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, online Dec. 26, 2016 

If you would like more information on how to follow a Mediterranean diet or a DASH diet, you’ll find details in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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DASH diet: do the initials stand for items in the diet?

Whole grains? Not if you have a serious inflammation problem and need to eliminate root causes. There are virtually no grains without gluten. In 2010 Australian researchers discovered 400 new forms of gluten, of which 40 are more toxic than alpha-gliadin.

I am a layperson, and would appreciate the Graedons writing an article on this.

The healthiest diets are rich in fish rather than meat, whole grains, vegetables and fruit.

Reread. This sentence says we should avoid everything but fish. Now rewrite please. I had a moment of shock here.

Done. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

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