New research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research suggests that women who consume a diet high in anti-inflammatories experience less bone loss than their peers. The study examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative and compared inflammatory elements of participants’ diets to their bone mineral density and fractures, discovering a connection between food and bone health.
To conduct the study, researchers reviewed the dietary information from 160,191 women between the ages of 50 and 79 who were post-menopausal and gave each an inflammation score based on the Dietary Inflammation Index. This index assesses the nutrients consumed and dictates how inflammatory the diet is based on 32 components. The research team also utilized bone-mineral density data from a subset of 10,290 women, and fracture data that was collected from the entire group.
In comparing bone mineral density and dietary inflammation scores, a relationship was found between high inflammatory diets and fractures in Caucasian women under 63. These women saw an almost 50 percent higher risk of sustaining a hip fracture in comparison to their peers with less inflammatory diets. The study also found that women who had the lowest inflammatory diet scores started with lower bone mineral density, but lost less than women with high inflammation diets over time.
Assistant professor at the Ohio State University, Tonya Orchard, led the study and explained, “These women with healthier diets didn’t lose bone as quickly as those with high inflammation diets, and this is important because after menopause women see a drastic loss in bone density that contributes to fractures.”
The results of this study also support previous evidence that inflammation may lead to an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, as the rapid loss of bone mineral density in those with inflammatory diets suggests that inflammation may contribute to weaker bones.
A healthy diet has always been the key to a healthier life, and this research linking diets that cause inflammation with the potential loss of bone mineral density as women age reiterates that point. Eating anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole grains may help reduce the risk of sustaining bone fractures in post-menopausal women, as these diets have been associated with a slower rate of bone mineral density loss.