The Mediterranean diet has particular benefits for postmenopausal women, and the good news is that you can still drink wine!

New research found that postmenopausal women who follow a Mediterranean diet have higher bone and muscle mass than those who do not.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Eating like you live in the Med means filling up on lots of fruits and vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil and seeds with a moderately high intake of fish.

Saturated fat, dairy and red meat consumption are low on the dietary list, however regular but very moderate drinking of red wine gets the thumbs up.

Mediterranean diet benefits

Studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and certain other chronic diseases.

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However, little is known about how the diet affects women’s bodies after menopause.

This information is important because menopause, with its decline in oestrogen, speeds a woman’s loss of bone mass. This increases the risk of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and broken bones. In addition, menopause and ageing reduce muscle mass.

“We found that the Mediterranean diet could be a useful nonmedical strategy for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women,” –  Thais Rasia Silva, Ph.D.

The study’s lead investigator, Thais Rasia Silva, Ph.D., a postdoctoral student at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, says declines in skeletal muscle mass and strength in older people are major contributors to increased illness, reduced quality of life and higher death rates.

Related: How the Mediterranean diet affects the brain

It could be the best diet for postmenopausal women

The study, which included 103 healthy postmenopausal women, found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet closely had significantly higher bone mineral density measured at the lumbar spine and with greater muscle mass.

All women studied completed dietary questionnaires and had scans to measure their bone mineral density, total body fat and appendicular lean mass.

“We found that the Mediterranean diet could be a useful nonmedical strategy for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women,” says Silva.

Source: The Endocrine Society via www.sciencedaily.com

Related: What’s THE Diet for YOU? Let’s explore the Mediterranean Diet