Mom didn't know about this one: Eating your vegetables may fight the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. According to new study results, rats that ate common herbs and vegetables, such as onion, parsley and salad greens, had significantly less bone loss than rats not on the special diet.
A variety of salads, herbs and cooked vegetables that are common in the human diet can alter bone metabolism. Investigators fed male rats 1 gram of dry onion per day for 4 weeks. Compared with rats that did not receive onion-spiked feeds, these rats had significant increases in bone mineral content and density. Onion and a variety of other veggies also slowed down bone resorption, the loss of minerals from the bones that characterizes osteoporosis.
A number of vegetables and vegetable mixtures produced significant effects on the rate of bone loss, including 500 mg daily each of onion and Italian parsley, for example, and 100 mg each of "a mixture of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, arrugula, onion, garlic, wild garlic, common parsley, Italian parsley, and dill.
Interestingly, soybeans and milk powder -- foods thought to help slow the process of osteoporosis -- had no effect on the rats' rate of bone resorption.
Nature September 23, 1999;401:343-344.
COMMENT: Another encouragement to eat one's vegetables. It is good to know that it is one of the more powerful interventions to improve bone density.