Can fruit keep runners’ bones healthy?

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The answer is yes. If eaten reasonably, fruit is good for bone health in your entire life. 

It is well known that the cause of osteoporosis is not only heredity, aging, hormone levels, but also diet. Calcium and vitamin D play an important role in promoting bone health, but potassium, vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols, etc. contained in fruits may also have implications for maintaining bone health.

As early as 1999, there were epidemiological investigations in foreign countries. The elderly with adequate intake of fruits and vegetables had higher bone mineral density than those who did not like fruits and vegetables. Hong Kong scholars surveyed 2,000 older men and women over the age of 65 in 2001-2003 and found that people who eat 100 grams of fruit a day, both men and women, have higher bone mineral density and bone mineral content in the body and the femoral neck, comparing to who haven’t. A survey from Chinese scholars  in 1991, of 3,439 middle-aged men and women in Anhui province also found that the bone mineral density of the elderly with high fruit intake was higher.

However, the benefits of fruit in preventing osteoporosis do not only work in old age. It is because the bone health of a woman’s life depends on three periods of puberty, pregnancy and menopause. If the diet during puberty is reasonable and the peak level of bone density is high, like the high deposit of bone minerals “bank”, the risk of osteoporosis after age will be low.

When researchers tested young boys and girls, postpartum new mothers, and postmenopausal women. They found that people who ate more fruits had higher bone mineral density than people who did not at any age. In particular, the habit of eating fruit during adolescence may have a positive effect on bone health in the rest of their life.

Here is the question why the NOT-HIGH fruit calcium content bring favorable influence for bones? 

Some of the reasons have been analyzed by scholars. The biggest reason may be that the fruit provides sufficient potassium, without increasing the supply of acidic elements such as phosphorus, sulfur and chlorine, thereby reducing the net endogenous acid production (NEAP) in the body. In another word, it reduces the amount of urinary calcium lost and increases the pH of the urine.

Potassium in fruits is not the same as potassium in cooking salts, the latter is potassium chloride. In that way, potassium is taken in conjunction with chlorine. Excessive chlorine is not good news for bone health. Studies have found that long-term use of potassium chloride to supplement potassium will reduce bone density; if you take potassium citrate instead, your bone density will increase. This is because the citrate ions in potassium citrate will be oxidized in the body, and become carbon dioxide and water excreted outside the body, which does not increase the acid load of the human body; while the chloride ion in potassium chloride is strongly acidic, which increases the burden, acid burden.

In addition, fruits are rich in antioxidants, which to a certain extent can also reduce the inflammatory response of bone, which may help prevent some inflammatory bone diseases.

Are vegetables and fruits with the same benefit?

Vegetables are also rich in potassium and magnesium, and contain many antioxidant ingredients. Can more vegetables replace the role of fruits? Unfortunately, according to the current domestic and international nutrition survey, vegetables really can not completely replace the role of fruit. This is not because the nutritional value of vegetables itself is not as good as that of fruits, probably because vegetables and fruits are eaten differently.

When eating vegetables, people usually add some salty condiments, such as salt, soy sauce, salad dressing and so on. This inevitably comes with potassium and magnesium and eats a lot of salt (sodium chloride). Excessive intake of sodium not only increases the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke, but also increases the amount of urinary calcium excretion, which is a very unfavorable thing for bone health. As mentioned earlier, too much chloride ion may have adverse effects on bone health.

Eating fruit is completely different. Did you eat fruit with salt and soy sauce? Therefore, eating fruit will only increase potassium, but not sodium. Moreover, potassium in fruits is potassium citrate, potassium malate, etc. And it does not increase the intake of chloride ions. I think that may be the main reason why many surveys found that fruits are better than vegetables for bone health.

In addition, organic acids in fruits may have additional benefits. Because organic acids such as citric acid and malic acid are beneficial to the absorption and utilization of many minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. In contrast, except for tomatoes, vegetables contain less organic acids than fruits.

How much fruit you should eat daily to benefit your bones?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the so-called 1 pcs fruit is about 80 grams. The recommended intake of fruits in countries around the world is generally between 2-4 pcs, which is between 160g and 320g. As for Chinese people, as long as we eat fruit according to the recommended amount of dietary guidelines for Chinese residents, that is, 200-350 grams of fruit per day, roughly equivalent to an apple, plus an orange. This amount is good for preventing coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc., and is also beneficial to bone health.

However, this does not mean that the more fruits you eat, the better. Excessive fruit will bring too much sugar and affect the balance of nutrients. At the same time, too much fruit will speed up the movement of the intestines, and some nutrients will not be absorbed enough to be discharged, which is not conducive to bone health. Some people eat a large pot at a time because they taste sweet, or drink a few cups a day. This is an occasional occasion, and it is not advisable in the long run.

Long time ago, studies have found that many people with osteoporosis have problems such as digestive malabsorption and chronic diarrhea, thus affecting the absorption capacity of various nutrients including calcium. Therefore, for some people with weak gastrointestinal function and prone to diarrhea, it is necessary to control the amount of fruit eaten at a time and select those fruits that are not prone to diarrhea, such as peach or apple.

In short, eating 200~300g of fruit a day is a good health measure. It can help prevent high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease, and also help protect bone health. Eat every day, eat in moderation, choose the fruit that will not be gastrointestinal discomfort after eating. Do not affect the normal intake of other foods because of eating fruit.

This is the health point of eating fruit!

Run and eat with fun.

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