If you’re past menopause and want stronger bones and muscles, consider the Mediterranean diet, says a study.
Postmenopausal women who were on the Mediterranean diet were found to have higher bone and muscle mass than those who were not.
“After menopause, a decrease in estrogen can cause a loss in muscle and bone mass in older women,” says Sara Artigues, registered dietician and certified personal trainer at All Inclusive Health, a nutrition planning and personal training studio in New Orleans.
“The Mediterranean diet consists of eating a high intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and a moderately high fish intake.”
Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid
Muscle mass can be added to postmenopausal women who strength train. But what they eat is crucial for optimal progress with their strength training.
The 2018 Study
• 103 healthy women from Brazil
• Average age of 55 and all postmenopausal
• All underwent bone scans to measure bone mineral density, total body fat and lean muscle mass.
• The participants completed a food questionnaire of what they had eaten in the prior month.
The questionnaire determined a Mediterranean diet score. A higher score meant a higher adherence to the diet.
And a higher score was greatly associated with a higher bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, plus with greater muscle mass.
Something to Consider
You might be thinking that women who strength train are more likely to eat Mediterranean style, and thus, they would have stronger bones and muscles.
Though whether or not the subjects did any strength training was not factored into the analysis, what WAS adjusted for was the number of steps they took for six days, as recorded by a pedometer.
Also adjusted for was hormone replacement therapy and smoking, which impact bone density.
“This diet has been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes,” adds Artigues.
“Being a largely plant based diet means that polyphenols are present in greater numbers in the body.
“These polyphenols fight cancer and inflammation which both contribute to poor muscle and bone health.
“The Mediterranean diet, full of healthy fats, can help you maintain a healthy weight which is important to both bone health and muscle mass.
“Following a diet high in vegetables and lean proteins and other healthy heart nutrients can help older women maintain muscle strength and weight.”