From a young age, we have been taught to drink milk to grow strong and healthy bones. This is because milk and other dairy products tend to be a rich source of calcium, a necessary mineral for bone health and important in osteoporosis prevention.
But does drinking a glass of milk or eating a cup of yogurt really have an effect on our health when it comes to maintaining strong and healthy bones? Most anthropological studies reveal that drinking milk as a grown child or adult is not standard the way the food industry typically advocates it to be. Still, it can’t be denied that milk is a great source of calcium, which is a mineral that plays a key role in osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that results from the loss of mass and minerals in bones, leading to bone deterioration. Several factors can affect your risk of suffering from osteoporosis, including exercise, hormones, and nutrition.
Typically, when the body is low in calcium, it uses calcium from our bones to help supply more vital parts of the body that need it to function. Over time, this causes a loss of calcium in the bones and makes them more vulnerable to fractures and breaks.
Eating Dairy Can Help with Osteoporosis Prevention
It is possible to obtain the calcium you need in your diet through non-dairy sources, therefore, those who have dairy allergies can still get their necessary fill of calcium.
That said, eating dairy foods is one of the easier ways to get your daily intake of calcium. This is especially true for many individuals who struggle to maintain a well-rounded, whole food diet.
Research has also confirmed that there is a positive association between dairy products and improved bone health in all age groups. For young kids, dairy typically leads to bone growth, while in adults, its dairy helps maintain bone density and decreases the rate at which it’s lost.
Moreover, further studies have shown that milk fortified with vitamin D is even more effective at strengthening bones than regular milk. This kind of research can be particularly helpful for postmenopausal women, who are often at greater risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium Rich Foods
While dairy products tend to be our primary source of calcium in the modern diet, there are other calcium rich foods you can turn to for dietary calcium. These foods include:
- Collard Greens
- Bok Choy
- Fortified juices and cereals
If you are on a dairy-free diet and struggle to get adequate dietary calcium, make sure you talk to your doctor before taking any calcium supplements. These supplements can cause serious side effects like increased risk of heart attack, therefore, it’s best to stick to natural sources of calcium.
Moreover, osteoporosis can result from more than just nutritional deficiencies. Lifestyle factors, genetics, and hormones can all affect your risk of osteoporosis, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your complete health profile, especially if you think you may be at greater risk because of your age or any existing health conditions.