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Basic Research Suggests Anthocyanins May Boost Bone Mass

Blueberries first came to nutrition fame, thanks to basic research showing possible brain benefits. A more recent animal study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research suggests these delicious blue beauties may help strengthen bones, particularly for growing bodies.

Rats were separated into two groups, one to eat plain feed, while the others’ diet was supplemented with 10% freeze-dried blueberry powder. After 14 days, the blueberry-fed rodents’ bone mass had increased 36% more and their bone mineral content was 22% higher than the control group. While the results were most dramatic among the young and growing animals, the more mature subjects also showed a 15% edge in bone mass, compared to the blueberry-deprived controls.

While more research would be needed to confirm similar benefits for humans, a clinical study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that female seniors and adolescents of both genders bolstered bone strength by doubling their intake of produce — including blueberries. Other research found that girls who consumed the most fruit on a daily basis had greater bone mass and less calcium excretion. Berries, plus produce in general, help satisfy with high nutrient density, water content and fiber, which in turn help you avoid the excess fat mass which correlated with lower bone mineral densities among post-menopausal women. One cup of blueberries contains 35% vitamin K (also linked to bone strength), plus 25% bone-building vitamin C and manganese.

Published August 1, 2011

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