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Mediterranean diet with olive oil may improve bone health

August 15, 2012

Older adults are often looking for the perfect diet for healthy aging, and results of a recent study may provide some answers. A Mediterranean diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil offers numerous benefits when it comes to bone health.

Maintaining healthy bones is important to many seniors, as doing so is an important component to avoiding osteoporosis, fractures and falls, all of which can threaten independent living. To investigate the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, researchers followed 127 men between 55 and 80 who were separated into three groups: one ate a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, one included olive oil and the other followed just a low-fat diet.

After the duration of the two-year study, researchers noticed that the men who were in the group with an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet were the only ones to see an improvement in bone health. The findings build on previous research touting the benefits of the substance.

"The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models," said lead author Dr. José Manuel Fernández-Rea. "This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans."

Though these most recent findings suggest the Mediterranean diet can improve bone health, given the amount of fruits and vegetables present in the diet, there are many more health benefits seniors can draw from it. Specifically, a diet rich in vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cognitive disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association.