Does Drinking Dairy Products Prevent Osteoporosis?
A lot of people think that to prevent osteoporosis, we should drink more milk as it contains calcium which protect the bones. But then why is that in many cultures that do not drink milk nor its derivatives, rates of osteoporosis are in fact much lower than in ours? This makes us want to evaluate if this relationship is truly correct.
Why Is Milk Recommended?
There are some realities for why milk and dairy products have always been recommend for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis. This is because of the large amount of calcium it gives you, 120 mg for every 100 g. Also, the lactose (the sugar in milk) that it contains improves its absorption in the body.
On the other hand, this is a natural and readily available food, even though the quality of milk that is sold today is much lower than that of a few decades ago.
What Are the Disadvantages?
Despite the great advantage of the calcium, the truth is that there are three big disadvantages.
- The first is that calcium absorption is not as high as it seems because of the other components in milk that are its proteins, the hormone tricalcium, and the calcium/phosphorus ratio.
- On the other hand, these proteins also acidify the blood. This acidification demineralizes your bones, because in order to balance and make your body more alkaline, it has to use a part of these minerals.
- There are many people that experience different levels of lactose intolerance without knowing it. This intolerance damages your intestinal health, irritating them and worsening the absorption of nutrients.
All in all, the calcium that we mentioned as a main advantage is not absorbed by your body correctly in reality. That is why we find high rates of osteoporosis in people that have consumed dairy products their whole lives. That is why, we suggest looking for other sources of calcium that are more easily digestible and looking for foods that have other minerals that contribute to proper assimilation and calcium attachment.
Alternative Sources of Calcium
- Sesame: It contains more calcium than milk and is much more digestible. You can eat raw ground sesame or as gomashio (ground and toasted with salt), oil, or tahini (a sesame paste). You can also blend tahini with water, lemon, cinnamon, and honey to make your own sesame drink.
- Cooked carrots: They are much richer in calcium than when they are raw.
- Seaweed: They are also very rich in many other minerals. You can use them to cook stews and season sauces and salads. We suggest spirulina algae because of its many properties.
- Leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli.
- Maca: It contains a lot of calcium and iron and is also a great hormonal regulator. People with uncontrollable hypertension and people with an overexcited immune system should be careful. We recommend reading this article to know what dosage to take.
- Cinnamon mixture: Very rich in calcium, but you should eat it in small quantities and combined with infusions, or vegetable or fruit drink so that it doesn’t cause acidification.
- Horsetail: We aren’t suggesting this medicinal plant for its calcium content but rather because it is very rich in silicon, which helps you assimilate calcium better. You can consume two or three cups a day.
- Salt water: A natural and balanced supplement that contains all of the minerals you need in appropriate proportions. You can find it in herbal and dietary stores. We recommend drink a spoonful before each meal.
What Foods Take Away Calcium?
As important as it is to eat sources of calcium, it is also important to avoid the foods that take it away. See below for examples of these:
- White sugar
- Refined or table salt
- Bottled drinks
- Coffee and black tea
- Alcoholic beverages
Images courtesy of ulterior epicure and @Doug88888