Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and spinach, here are the foods not to be missed! These vegetables, in fact, contrast tumors, inflammation and from today we also know that they protect bone health, reducing the risk of fractures and hospitalization. This emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Food and Function thanks to the work of an Australian team from the Edith Cowan University of Perth (Sim et al, Food and Function, 2022).
Bone fragility and fractures
Breaking a bone is not a pleasant experience, even more so if this happens in old age. Unfortunately, with aging, the risk of bone fragility, balance instability and fractures is more likely, also increasing the possibility of being hospitalized and observing a deterioration in one's quality of life. However, there are nutritional interventions that we can implement now to ensure our bones are healthier in the future. This is the research topic we are talking about today.
Vitamin K and bones, the study
Scientists analyzed the health and lifestyle data of 1373 women, all over 70, participating in the large Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging Women, which followed them for 15 years. In particular, the researchers have linked the intake of vitamin K through diet and the risk of bone fractures. Well, what emerged is that those who ensured a daily intake, through diet, of at least 100 micrograms of vitamin K had a 31% lower probability of breaking a bone than those with a daily intake of vitamin K less than 60 micrograms. The most important results were observed by restricting the analysis to fractures of the pelvis. An intake of more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K has in fact led to a reduction in the risk of fracture of the pelvis by almost 50% compared to those who introduce a lower amount of vitamin K in the diet. These results are explained by the fact that Vitamin K activates the processes by which some bone proteins, such as osteocalcin, which increases bone strength, are made usable by the bones. However, this only happens when vitamin K exceeds a certain level, placed by scientists at 100 micrograms per day. Not only that, vitamin K also inhibits bone resorption processes, which, if they prevail over the new formation of bone tissue, would increase bone fragility. Finally, in addition to this, vitamin K has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health.
Here is another proof that a healthy and varied diet protects our health, including that of our bones, guaranteeing a better quality of life. And the strength is that these benefits can be obtained with small changes in lifestyle. In fact, to ensure 100 mg of vitamin K, which, as we have seen, is the minimum amount to activate the processes that guarantee healthy and strong bones, it is sufficient to eat a portion, about 75 grams, of spinach, kale, cabbage or broccoli. Other sources of vitamin K are lettuce, some seaweeds, such as wakame seaweed, and green tea.