Better bone health: An apple a day to keep fractures away?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” goes the old saying. Otherwise, mother used to say, “eat your fruits and vegetables.” We would one more phrase that has much behind it, “Make foods your medicine cabinet.” All colloquialisms with many merits. Diet plays a major role in influencing our health and well-being. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. As synthesized by food guru, Michael Pollan, three simple rules: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

Apples are the core of good dieting
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are regularly touted as the best regimen for weight management and chronic disease prevention. Consider that the increased risk of bone fractures is caused, in part, by reductions in bone density that occur as a natural part of ageing and diseases such as osteoporosis that manifest as we age. So it’s important to implement strategies that reduce our risk for such injuries.

So, can a dietary strategy like eating more fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of fractures? One systematic review sets out to provide answers:

Research tells us

  • adults aged 50 years old and over who increase their intake of fruits and vegetables may be between 2% and 13% less likely to experience a hip fracture
  • A small decline in the risk of fractures at any site (not just the hips)—specifically, a 4% to 14% reduction—was also seen, and while this is positive

Though the research may not have conclusive ends, it still suggests that a fruit-vegetable based diet has benefits that should not be ignored.

You can’t go wrong with eating a healthy and well-balanced diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables. The potential added benefits for your bones should only serve as one more reason to make a conscious effort to feature fruits and veggies on your plate.

Tips to increase fruit and vegetable intake

  • Make it easier to incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals or snacks by preparing them for use in advance—i.e. cleaning, cutting, and placing them in the fridge or freezer for later use.
  • Take advantage of pre-bagged veggies, such as leafy greens.
  • Consider supplementing a meal with sides like raw veggies (e.g., carrots and cucumbers) and adding fresh fruit to your salads.
  • Choose fruits for dessert.

Source: McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

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