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Pouring Over the Facts: How Milk and Dairy Boost Bone Health

You all have heard that milk contains calcium that benefits our bones. There are various reasons to consume milk and dairy products to develop a healthy lifestyle. Let’s discuss it in detail in the article; we will debunk the myths and discuss the benefits of drinking milk and consuming dairy products

the human skeleton
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1. Does Milk Make Your Bones Stronger?

Many professionals recommend adding calcium to your diet. Calcium is one of the components bones require tobe healthy. Hence, it is vital for bone health. Various studies support consuming dairy products for bone health since they are rich sources of calcium and vitamin D. 

Lack of calcium and vitamin D in our body increases the risk of fractures. The risk is determined by bone mass, microstructure, and geometry, which is further associated with bone loss and peak bone mass. The greater the peak bone mass, the less the chances of developing osteoporosis. Fracture, specifically hip fracture, is the most common problem seen in those with low vitamin D and calcium levels. 

Postmenopausal women are advised with a daily calcium intake of 1500 mg, whereas middle-aged men require 1000 mg daily. Most people never realize they have osteoporosis until it turns into a fracture. A bone density test is recommended to identify bone thickness and mineral content. To prevent fractures, calcium supplements, milk, and dairy products are usually preferred by professionals for balancing calcium and vitamin D levels. Weight-bearing activities are additional If one aspires to prevent osteoporosis. 

However, some studies suggest cutting back milk intake if it is more than required. A Swedish study found an increased risk of bone health (fracture and hip fracture) in those who consumed three or more glasses of milk a day; the study does not support restrictions on milk intake but questions its quantity of consumption. 

1.1. Benefits of Milk Consumption 

  1. Calcium deficiency in the body weakens your bones; consuming milk to strengthen bones is necessary. 
  2. Milk is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, essential nutrients for a healthy body. 
  3. Calcium in milk helps our body in various ways, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling muscle contractions, and playing a crucial role in blood clotting and wound healing. 
  4. Perform a crucial role in the recovery of those with osteoporosis. 
does milk make your bones stronger: a bottle of milk
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1.2. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is defined as a medical condition in which bone mass decreases for different reasons; this condition leads to fractures due to deterioration of bone health. The recommended daily intake of a nutritious diet helps in preventing it. Because milk and dairy products contain essential nutrients for bone mass, it is a recommended source for preventing osteoporosis.

Physical activity always benefits your bones. Activities associated with weight-bearing exercises help in preventing osteoporosis-like conditions. Alcohol and smoking are never an option to stay healthy. People with osteoporosis must follow professional advice to prevent further losses. 

1.3. Calcium Content in Different Types of Milk Products

  1. Whole milk contains almost 236 mg of calcium in a 200 ml portion. 
  2. Almond milk contains approximately 90 mg of calcium in a 200 ml portion. 
  3. Flavored yogurt contains approximately 197 mg of calcium in a 150 g portion
  4. Natural yogurt contains almost 207 mg of calcium in a 150 g portion. 
  5. Semi-skimmed milk contains approximately 240 mg of calcium content in a 200 ml portion.
  6. Skimmed milk contains approximately 244 mg of calcium in a 200 ml portion. 
does milk make your bones stronger
By Terry Vlisidis / Unsplash copyrights 2020

2. Calcium Supplements and Different Types of Milk

2.1 Breast Milk

According to a report in the International Breastfeeding Journal, calcium concentration in breast milk is influenced by decreased linearly throughout lactation and maternal periods. However, various studies reported that the calcium-phosphorus ratio in breast milk is better than that of cow’s milk. The ratio depends on the fat content in cow’s milk and is reported higher in whole milk. 

2.2. Cow’s Milk and Dairy Products

Cow’s milk is always a better option to increase calcium intake in your diet. It is a rich source of nutrients that are essential for bone health. It is a rich source of protein, insoluble casein protein, and soluble whey protein. Casein protein helps in the absorption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus in our body. 

2.3. Plant-Based Milk 

Recent years have seen a drastic shift from cow’s milk and dairy products to plant-based milk. Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and oat milk are categorized under plant-based milk. Soy milk is preferred for containing the same protein present in cow’s milk. However, protein content in other types of plant products is less. 

Plant-based milk contains less saturated fat, which prevents cholesterol. Generally, vegans prefer such products over cow’s milk or other dairy products. Vegans usually experience insufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D, which is one of the reasons for osteoporosis. Children under the age of one year are recommended to consume breast milk, cow’s milk, or modified milk to prevent medical conditions such as rickets, kwashiorkor, anemia, metabolic alkalosis, and scurvy. 

3. Is Pasteurized Milk Healthy for Bones?

Milk Pasteurization is a process to kill harmful bacteria by heating it for a set period. Many people consider raw milk to be healthier than pasteurized milk, but no significant claims from researchers are available. Milk pasteurization prevents the development of diseases like typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, listeriosis, and brucellosis. 

Contrary to what people think of pasteurized milk, nutritional value remains the same after pasteurization. However, raw milk may lead to health problems due to dangerous bacteria. Pasteurized milk is always a healthy option compared to raw milk. Make sure to buy products made of pasteurized milk, not raw milk. 

does milk make your bones stronger
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4. Final Words 

Milk intake is beneficial to your bones. It is healthy for your body and provides essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Those exercising daily or working on building health are recommended daily consumption of milk and dairy products. More importantly, it prevents bone loss and fracture risks associated with low calcium and vitamin D.

Last Updated on December 22, 2023 by