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The media did a great job marketing milk as this healthy product that is an essential part of a balanced diet. And we have bought into all of these inescapable advertisements and got duped to believe the idea that it is necessary for bone health.
However, there is growing evidence that milk and other dairy foods are the main source of saturated fat in the South African diet, contributing to heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Research has also associated dairy consumption to an increased risk of hormone related cancers such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Another study of more than 96 000 youngsters highlighted that the more milk they ingested during adolescence, the more bone fractures they encountered as adults.
So what is my personal take on this? Simply that it is healthier to keep dairy to a minimum (maximum one portion a day) and opt for healthy dairy alternatives such as almond milk. Click on this link for almond milk recipe. And by eating a varied plant-based diet, you’ll consume all the calcium you need to build strong, healthy bones without the added health risks of milk and other dairy products. And calcium absorption of plant foods is actually greater than cow’s milk! Calcium can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, broccoli and collard greens, as well as in dried beans, legumes, sardines and salmon with bones etc. A variety of calcium-fortified foods, such as plant-based milk (oat, rice, almond), are also available in most health shops.
Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Its benefits have been highlighted in studies of both children and adults. Check out our feature on Easy home exercises to rock perfect legs all year around.