Got olive oil? A study published online this month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that people who ate a Mediterranean diet enhanced with lots of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may be protected against bone loss.
The study: Studies have shown that the the incidence of osteoporosis in Europe is lower in regions where individuals follow a traditional Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables and includes a high intake of olives and olive oil. So, researchers in Spain set out to determine if olive oil consumption, in conjunction with eating a Mediterranean diet, prevented bone loss.
They selected 127 men, aged 55–80 and at risk for heart disease, who were already part of a larger, longitudinal study. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups. One group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, another ate a Mediterranean diet supplement with mixed nuts, and the third ate a low fat diet. The participants followed the dietary plans for two years.
The results: Those who consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil experienced a significant increase in levels of osteocalcin, a protein correlated with increased bone mineral density, while those in the other groups did not.
What it means: Load up on fruits, veggies, fresh fish, and, of course, olive oil. Strong bones are just one more advantage of adopting this diet with a slew of health benefits. (Staying away from the bread basket for dipping is not.) —Allison Becker