Inflammation is one of Mother Nature’s powerful double-edged swords: We need it to clear way damaged tissue, but excessive and uncontrolled inflammation brings unwanted destruction. Ongoing inflammation lies at the root of osteopenia and osteoporosis. It’s been known for years that individuals with higher inflammatory markers (like C-reactive protein) exhibit lower bone density and fracture more often. Enter the anti-inflammatory diet!
New research looking at an anti-inflammatory diet and its components has found the adage that “food is medicine” is true when it comes to protecting bone from the ravages of inflammation. Ohio State University researchers recently reviewed data from over 160,000 women, mean age of 63, collected over 6 years. They found that:
- Women whose diet ranked highest in anti-inflammatory food components lost significantly less bone density as they aged than those with high intake of pro-inflammatory foods (even if they had lower bone density at baseline).
- Higher intake of anti-inflammatory food groups was associated with an almost 50% reduction in hip fracture risk among the subset of Caucasian women younger than 63.
How do I change my eating habits to get the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet?
I know what your next question will be: How do I change my eating habits to get these benefits? The simplest way to start is to look for anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet (see below), and think about ways to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods (below) from your regular diet. My Alkaline for Life diet is helpful in this regard, since most of the foods it recommends are on the anti-inflammatory diet.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.