By John Salak —
Hip fractures are nasty and impact hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. They are painful and debilitating and take time to heal. They also affect women more than men at a rate of three to one.
Women suffer approximately 75 percent of all hip fractures because they fall more often than men and are more likely to deal with osteoporosis which weakens bones and makes them more likely to break, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Now, at least, women are waking up to some good news. Drinking coffee and tea is a great way to reduce the risk of suffering these breaks. It also helps to consume more protein.
Food scientists at the University of Leeds discovered that an extra 25 grams of protein a day were associated with a 14-percent risk reduction of hip fracture. Surprisingly, these British researchers also found that every additional cup of tea or coffee consumed had a 4-percent decrease in risk. The researchers reported that the protective benefits were better for underweight women, noting that the extra protein reduced their risk by 45 percent.
Fortunately, coffee, tea and protein are readily available. The protein can come from meat to dairy, eggs, beans, nuts or legumes. Three to four eggs, for example, would provide the protein needed, as would a steak or piece of salmon. 100 grams of tofu would deliver about 17 grams of protein.
The Leeds observational study focused on over 25,000 middle-aged women. While the team was able to identify associations between factors in diet and health, it admittedly could not single out direct cause and effect. Nonetheless, the researchers note their study is likely to be invaluable in reducing the physical and economic costs associated with these breaks.
“Across the world, the costs to individuals and societies caused by hip fracture are enormous,” said James Webster, a doctoral researcher who led the study. “Hip fracture can often lead to other chronic illnesses, loss of independence, and premature death.”
The university’s work was the first to study the relationships between food and nutrient intakes and the risk of hip fracture. Webster explained that “the results highlight which aspects of diet may be useful tools in reducing hip fracture risk in women, with evidence of links between higher protein, tea and coffee intakes and a reduced risk.”
Proteins are critical to reducing breaks because they are central to keeping cells, tissues and muscles working and contributing to bone health. Tea and coffee are likely to help because both contain biologically active compounds called polyphenols and phytoestrogens, which may maintain bone health.
There may be another reason to grab another cup of coffee, however. Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers found that drinking any amount of coffee daily reduced the risk of acute kidney failure by 15 percent compared to those who abstained. Those drinking at least two to three cups everyday saw their risk reduced by 22 percent.
Another 2022 study out of Melbourne, Australia, noted that two to three cups of ground, instant or decaffeinated coffee each day promotes longevity and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” reported study author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute.
“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be part of a healthy lifestyle,” Kistler said.
It sounds like good advice for those worried about kidney failure, hip fractures, cardiovascular disease or who may want to live longer.