Mediterranean diet is fast becoming a rage in fitness and health enthusiasts around the world. The diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil, seeds, fish, low saturated fat, dairy products and red meat - may do wonders for your overall fitness and physique and if a new study is to be believed, the nutritious diet may boost bones and muscle mass in postmenopausal women too.
The researchers noted that there is a sharp decline in women's bone density after they hit their menopause. They experience a significant decline in estrogen levels. The decrease in bone mass runs a risk of developing bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis, which further increases risk of fractures.
"We found that the Mediterranean diet could be a useful non-medical strategy for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women," said Thais Rasia Silva, a postdoctoral student at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.
"Postmenopausal women, especially those with low bone mass, should ask their doctor whether they might benefit from consuming this dietary pattern," Silva added.
The study was presented at the Endocrine Society's 100th Annual Meeting in Chicago. The Mediterranean diet may also help lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and mortality risk due to certain other chronic diseases, noted the study.
For the study, the team examined 103 healthy women with an average age of 55 and who had gone through menopause 5.5 years earlier, on an average.
The women were made to undergo bone scans to measure their bone mineral density, total body fat and appendicular lean mass, which was used to estimate skeletal muscle mass. In addition to this, they also completed a food questionnaire about what they ate in the past month.
Higher consumption of Mediterranean diet was associated with an increased bone mineral density measured at the lumbar spine and with greater muscle mass. Previous studies have also said that Mediterranean diet may also boost conception chances of women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The limitation of the study involved the mode of investigation which was largely questionnaire-based. The number of participants were also comparatively too less to make concrete conclusions.