Can omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your hip fracture risk? Scientists studying the blood levels of postmenopausal women say “yes.” As evidence, they point to omega-3’s ability to reduce inflammation and reduce fracture risk. In thus study of 648 women those with omega 3 fat blood levels in the highest one-third experienced one- half the number of hip fractures as did women with lower omega 3 blood levels.
Omega-3s from plant sources may be as effective as the omega-3s from fish sources. This is good news for vegetarians, vegans, and those trying to follow a more strictly veggie meal plan.
I also want to note that researchers looked at the relationship between omega-6 fatty acids (which we generally get too many of in the standard American diet) and the healthy omega-3 acids which help balance the negative effect of omega-6s. Here they found nearly double the risk of fractures for those women with the highest ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake.
Science has confirmed so much about critical importance of omega-3s for bone health — as well as for your heart, your joints and your emotional health — that’s why I include them as part of my Better Bones Package. The ideas below will help you incorporate more omega-3s into your daily diet.
Omega-3 guidelines for everyone
• Build the foundation of your diet upon a wide variety of fresh whole plant foods.
• Eat ocean fish such as salmon from cold waters. Sardines, mackerel, herring, whitefish and anchovy are also excellent omega 3 sources.
• Use whole plant foods as the major source of your fat intake, e.g., fresh ground flax seeds, avocados, soy, nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and olives.
• If you use concentrated fats and oils in cooking, favor those rich in monounsaturated fats, e.g., olive, safflower, canola, or nut oils. Oils rich in omega-3s (flaxseed and hempseed) can be used in lots of foods but never heated.
• Avoid processed foods and deep-fat-fried foods laden with trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids.
• Don’t let foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol displace those rich in unsaturated fats, particularly omega-3s.
Orchard TS. 2013. The association of red blood cell n-3 and n-6 fatty acids with bone mineral density and hip fracture risk in the women’s health initiative. J Bone Miner Res. 2013; doi:10.1002/jbmr.1772.