A Mediterranean diet is characterised by high intake of plant-based foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereals) and olive oil, moderate intake of fish and alcohol and low intake of dairy products and red and processed meat. Studies have shown that many of these dietary components of the Mediterranean diet play an important role in bone and muscle health. We proposed that the additive effects of these individual dietary components would have a greater impact on musculoskeletal health. The aim of the study was therefore to examine associations between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and key indicators of bone and muscle status, including fracture incidence, bone density and muscle mass.
Our study showed that higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with 23% reduction in fractures and a 21% reduction in hip fractures. We also found that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with higher bone density and muscle mass. These associations were greater in women than men and independent of a number of other factors associated with musculoskeletal health including age, body size, smoking, physical activity, menopausal status and medication use. This evidence supports the need to develop interventions to encourage following a Mediterranean diet in the UK.
- Full paper: Amy Jennings, Angela A. Mulligan, Kay-Tee Khaw, Robert N. Luben, Ailsa A. Welch A Mediterranean Diet Is Positively Associated with Bone and Muscle Health in a Non-Mediterranean Region in 25,450 Men and Women from EPIC-Norfolk