Bone health and dairy

Recently I have been reading ‘The China Study’, and until now it has been the most complete, serious and documented book about health that I have read. One of the many subjects that the authors explain is osteoporosis, how it is directly related to the consumption of animal protein, and how to avoid this bone disease.

From an early age, we are taught that drinking milk is very important for bone health, that we need calcium to have a strong and healthy body and without it we cannot survive. Either way, many women after they turn 50 begin to suffer from osteoporosis even though they have drank all the milk they were recommended and took all the vitamins and minerals their doctor prescribed. Isn’t milk supposed to fight this bone disease? Well, according to numerous studies that have been made, animal protein (including milk) will increase the acid load in the body, meaning that our blood and tissues become more acidic. To fight this, the body must then use calcium to neutralize itself. But then the question arises: Where does the body get calcium from? It’s very simple, from our bones. This process weakens the bones and causes bone damage on the long run.

Living on a diet that is high in animal protein and calcium (dairy contains both!) will increase metabolic acid, which increases the amount of calcium we secrete through urine. Thus, increasing the possibilities of getting osteoporosis.

The question then is, what should we do to try to avoid osteoporosis?

  1. Decrease the amount of milk you are taking in everyday and instead look for healthy alternatives: Coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, brown rice milk… (Be mindful of buying your products without added sugar, strange ingredients and as clean as possible).
  2. Try at least twice a week to eat more plant based: Substitute your animal protein for a plant based one, introduce more grains into your diet and eat protein rich vegetables such as peas, broccoli and mushroom. Things such as falafel, tempeh, organic tofu and hummus are good alternatives to introduce into your meals, are easy to make and can have a positive impact on your body. For example, a  Sicilian Vegetable Medley is the perfect accompaniment to have with any meal.
  3. Eat calcium rich foods: Foods such as gomashio, broccoli and chia seeds can be used in many recipes to help you get more calcium from plant based sources.
  4. Stay active: Go for a walk, play a sport, run, or whatever you like. This will strengthen your bones and make them healthier.
  5. Try to decrease the intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates:  Foods such as cereals, candies, bread and pasta all turn into sugar in your body.

Don’t be afraid of trying new things and being adventurous with your food. Stepping out a bit of your comfort zone and creating new habits may bring fantastic new experiences into your life and it may be very beneficial for you and those around you.

I would advise you to read more on the subject and make an informed decision on your own. After all, knowledge is power and we should always look for different sources of information before making any changes in our diets.