Dairy products are the number one source of calcium and the number one source of saturated fat in the standard American diet. In the past, milk advertisements made claims that milk would help build …
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Dairy products are the number one source of calcium and the number one source of saturated fat in the standard American diet.
In the past, milk advertisements made claims that milk would help build strong bones but those ads seemed to have disappeared in recent years. Researchers looked at multiple studies related to milk consumption and bone fractures and concluded that there may not be a direct relationship between drinking milk and having strong bones.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a 2014 study of more than 96,000 people over 22 years that showed a slight increase in hip fractures for those who consumed the most milk. Additional research shows populations who consume the most dairy have higher rates of osteoporosis and fractures but this may not be from milk alone: Consumption of animal proteins can cause your body to be more acidic. Your body defends itself by releasing minerals like calcium from your bones to reduce the acid level. This release of calcium can ultimately weaken your bones.
While the daily recommended intake of calcium in the United States is 1,100 milligrams the benefits of calcium may depend on the types of food you eat. Native Eskimo people have one of the highest intakes of calcium, averaging 2,000 millgrams daily. However, the Eskimo also consume more animal protein than most populations and even with their high calcium intake, they have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world.
On the other hand, members of the African Bantu tribe only consume about 350 milligrams of calcium daily, almost exclusively from plants as they very rarely consume dairy or other animal proteins. Osteoporosis and bone fractures are extremely rare among the Bantu.
In the milk
Although milk and other dairy products provide a good amount of calcium they also contain high amounts of animal proteins, hormones, antibiotics and saturated fat which can lead to chronic health issues. Cows do not create calcium on their own; the calcium in milk originates from plants the cows eat. It might be best to cut out the intermediate step and get your calcium from the same source as the cows - just eat the plants.
Calcium from broccoli, kale and similar dark green vegetables is better utilized than the calcium from milk. Many other plants like sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, legumes, nuts and seeds contain high amounts of calcium.
Exercise and Vitamin D can help utilize and maintain the calcium within your body. Vitamin D helps your body manage calcium. The best source of Vitamin D is sunshine, so it is important to spend 20 to 30 minutes in the sun each day. Exercise is also important in maintaining strong bones and holding on to the calcium you have. You don’t need a gym membership to get sufficient exercise; walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes per day is a great start, especially when you walk in the sunshine.
Calcium and Vitamin D are not created by cows, so you don’t need to consume milk or other dairy products to have healthy bones. Eating a variety of vegetables and legumes, reducing or eliminating animal proteins, exercising and getting out in the sun will help maintain strong bones and combat other common chronic diseases.
Paul Webster is certified in Holistic Nutrition, Weight Management, Sports Nutrition and Training. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
“Not-Cho” Sauce Recipe
This is a plant-based cheese-like sauce that can be used as a dip for chips or vegetables, or as a sauce for burritos or tacos. The key is the nutritional yeast which has a cheese-like flavor and can be found in the condiment section of most grocery stores or in health food stores. Do not substitute brewers or baker’s yeast as they are bitter and do not have the same flavor.
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced into one-inch cubes (about 1 ½ cups)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced into one-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon Lemon Juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Place the diced potatoes into a pot along with 2½ cups of water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a simmer. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a blender, reserving the liquid for blending.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend to break up the potatoes and combine the seasonings. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and continue blending, adding additional liquid one tablespoon at a time until you have achieved the desired consistency.
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