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Natural Awakenings

Colorful Diet: A Secret to Stronger Bones

Jun 01, 2009 03:00AM

Mounting evidence increasingly suggests that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help keep bones strong, especially as people age. The latest comes in a Framingham Osteoporosis Study, led by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Collaborating researchers, tracking changes in bone mineral density of more than 600 male and female volunteers with an average age of 75, found that those eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables had healthier bones.

The researchers attribute these benefits to several nutrients found in plant foods, especially carotenoids, such as carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthene. These plant pigments give fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange and red colors. It appears that carotenoids also protect bones from mineral loss through mineral resorption into the blood stream, a metabolic process that weakens bones.

Source: USDA Agricultural Research Service; published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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