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Brittle Bones Are No Match for Bananas and Broccoli

Mar. 31, 2015|456 views
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British researchers have revealed new information that explains why people who eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are less likely to suffer the ravages of age-related osteoporosis. It has to do with the natural salts of potassium—potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate—which are present in fruits and vegetables. As it turns out, consuming these nutrients helps prevent osteoporosis. Once again, a whole foods diet proves beneficial to longterm health.

Osteoporosis—often referred to as brittle bone disease—is of particular concern to older women. Changes associated with menopause may accelerate the natural processes that contribute to bone demineralization. As bones lose more minerals than they replace—through a process called bone resorption—they can become increasingly fragile, and prone to breakage.

This process of bone destruction and rebuilding is normal, and it takes place more or less continuously, throughout life. It’s the body’s way of maintaining and repairing healthy bone. But under certain circumstances, including the sudden loss of estrogen that’s common in post-menopause, the process of bone destruction outpaces the process of rebuilding. As a result, bones lose strength and resilience.

High intake of potassium salts from fruits and vegetables also reduces the excretion of calcium and acid in the urine. “This means that excess acid is neutralized and bone mineral is preserved,” said lead author Dr Helen Lambert, from the University of Surrey.

“Excess acid in the body, produced as a result of a typical Western diet high in animal and cereal protein, causes bones to weaken and fracture. Our study shows that these salts could prevent osteoporosis, as our results showed a decrease in bone resorption.”

In Great Britain, one in two women can expect to suffer a broken bone due to poor bone health, after the age of 50, say investigators. And one in five men over 50 will suffer the same fate. Clearly, this is yet another good reason to rededicate yourself to eating better. A good place to start is the organic produce aisle in your local grocery. Avoid processed and packaged foods, and resolve to learn to buy and cook a new vegetable or fruit today, and every day.  

Helen Lambert, Lynda Frassetto, J. Bernadette Moore, David Torgerson, Richard Gannon , Peter Burckhardt and Susan Lanham-New. The effect of supplementation with alkaline potassium salts on bone metabolism: a meta-analysis. Osteoporosis International, January 2015 DOI: 10.1007/s00198-014-3006-9