Osteoporosis: Royal Osteoporosis Society discusses disease
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Eating vegetables doesn’t just provide short term health benefits, according to a new study.
Eating an extra 270g per day of vegetables for eight weeks has been linked to improved bone health and lower biomarkers for poor bone health.
The exact mechanism is not known although there are several possible reasons proposed by the researchers.
The results of the 102-person study were published in the Journal of Nutrition.
The participants of the study were overweight and obese adults, who ate vegetables less than once per day.
Blood biomarkers for healthy bones were improved in the vegetable eating group.
The researchers identified an increase in bone resorption, the breakdown of bone tissue to release the stored calcium into the blood.
The participants also saw improvements to urinary health, with lower amounts of acid in urine.
There are multiple potential reasons for these health benefits.
One proposed mechanism is improvements to nutrition, with the vegetables containing vitamins and minerals that can improve bone health.
Carotenoids, a group of antioxidants found in plants, have been identified in a previous study to improve bone health.
The researchers did find higher levels of carotenoids in the blood plasma among the people who ate vegetables.
There are a variety of vitamins and minerals that produce positive effects on bone health.
Vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium in the intestinal tract, increasing the amount available to the body.
Lack of calcium can lead the body to scavenging it from the bones to maintain levels needed to operate nerves and muscles.
The majority of the body’s calcium is stored in bones, but it also plays a vital role in cell signalling.
There are also behaviours that can weaken bone health, such as consuming alcohol.
Alcohol interacts with the bones by altering hormone and steroid levels, and creating oxidative stress in the body.
Studies have shown that alcohol consumption inhibits the formation of new bone tissue.
Alcohol abuse is listed by health authorities such as the NHS as a risk factor for osteoporosis.
Bone health often declines with age, with menopause listed as a common risk factor.
Maintaining a good diet can often reduce risk.
The study also speculates that the anti-inflammatory properties of the vegetables might also have been responsible for improved bone health.
Anti-inflammatory diets are rich in green vegetables and consume lower amounts of meat.
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