Role of Milk and Preventing Osteoporosis in women

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Role of Milk in Strengthening the Bones and Preventing Osteoporosis

If you drink milk to keep your bones strong, there is a good logic in it. Milk and dairy products are concentrated calcium sources, and we know calcium prevents osteoporosis and fortifies bones.

Osteoporosis is a progressive disease in which bones deteriorate, losing minerals and mass over time. The name is quite descriptive of the nature of the disease, which means porous bones. It has lots of different factors and causes that are entirely unrelated to nutrition, like exercise and hormones. Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men, especially after menopause. It significantly increases the possibility of bone fractures, which can have a very negative effect on quality of life.

Dairy foods provides a mixture of four nutrients like vitamin D, phosphate, calcium and protein present in the appropriate ratio that allows for the unique interaction favoring bone and skeletal muscle development and growth. This mixture of nutrients is like a gasoline mixture with just the right additives to get maximum performance and winning mixture to strengthen bones.

The bones of girls grow and lengthen until about age eighteen, and of boys stop around age twenty. After that, the body focuses on hardening and strengthening bones, using dietary minerals like phosphorus and calcium to build bone until about age thirty. This is known as peak bone density.

Building peak bone density is somewhat like having a savings account. Up until age thirty, you are able to sock away all those minerals in your bones, building up your health for the future. That’s why it is important that children, teenagers and young adults get enough bone-building nutrients. Drinking milk or eating dairy 3 times a day is the easiest way to build strong bones.

How strong are your bones?

Our bones are not hard and lifeless; rather they are living, growing tissues in our bodies, even after thirty years of age. The technical term is “remodeling” where bone is broken down and built back up in a continuous manner; so a steady supply of bone building nutrients is necessary regardless of how old you are.

Milk builds strong bones, and getting at least three servings a day helps to ensure they will be strong through every stage of your or your loved ones’ lives.

In terms of bone health and growth, you need a certain quantity of calcium, potassium, protein and other nutrients. The food that contains the most well balanced quantity of these things is milk and other dairy products.

Effect of dairy on osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is known as the silent disease as you can’t tell you have it without having a bone scan or breaking a bone. If you think you are at risk for low bone mineral density, increasing your dairy and milk intake now may help.

When you have it in moderate amounts, as part of a healthy balanced diet rich in plant foods, dairy foods do not cause osteoporosis. Excessive protein consumption, from any source, increases risk for bone loss.

How much milk should you drink a day?

Depends upon what kind of cow’s milk you are having. If lactose-free, organic entire milk from pastured cows, then one to three glasses per day should be constructive if you are not having excessive amounts of protein from other foods in your diet.  If conventional, non-organic milk, no more than one glass per day, unless you are at risk for prostate cancer, in which case, none.

Dietary sources of calcium

Though milk contains 300 mg of calcium/cup, there are many other good dietary sources including yogurt, greens (kale, collards), figs, soy beans, broccoli, cheese, sardines, oranges and salmon (with bones) and lots of fortified foods. You can achieve better bone health with a balanced diet, which includes vitamin D, calcium, protein, and regular exercise.

The clinical studies have found that drinking milk leads to a positive calcium balance, showing that more calcium was being absorbed than excreted. Other studies show that phosphate in general, not just from milk increases calcium retention and improve bone health. Increased dairy intake is also consistently related with better bone health and lower rates of osteoporosis.

Also Read: Effect of Milk on Fibromyalgia Sufferer 


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Reference: All about milk By Megan Ware RDN LD via MNT

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