Mark World Osteoporosis Day by giving up dairy
Numerous health groups all over the world are reminding people to take care of their bone health in the run up to World Osteoporosis Day, 20 October 2014. The charity Viva!Health are going against the flow encouraging people to cut dairy out of their diet.
The UK is one of the biggest dairy consumers in the world yet has very high rates of osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffer a bone fracture, mainly because of poor bone health.
Viva!Health campaigner, Veronika Powell, says: “Osteoporosis is not a disease caused by the lack of calcium but mostly by increased bone loss. There are many scientific studies showing that people eating a diet high in dairy products and animal protein have high bone loss, a fact that even the World Health Organisation recognises. On the other hand, research has repeatedly confirmed that fresh fruit and vegetables protect and strengthen our bones.”
It makes sense as for most of our evolution, we didn’t drink milk after weaning and we developed strong bones. And nowadays about two thirds of the world’s population still don’t consume milk either at all or very sparingly yet they have better bone health than we do.
We can get enough calcium from plant sources such as green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, almonds, pulses and enriched plant milks. And as we now know, milk and dairy products consumption doesn’t offer any protection from fractures or osteoporosis later in life.
We certainly don’t need dairy to be healthy and cutting it out for good can bring about many health benefits such as better digestion and skin, reduced risk of some cancers and can improve health conditions such as asthma, eczema, IBS. What we do need is a healthy diet including fruit and vegetables, pulses, whole grains, nuts and seeds. To get the maximum benefit from such diet and increase bone health we should also do some weight-bearing exercise daily (even walking or using the stairs rather than a lift counts!) and get adequate vitamin D supply through sunshine or a supplement.
To get all the crucial information on bone health including many diet and lifestyle tips, go to: www.whitelies.org.uk/bones
Viva!Health also offer a free practical guide for anyone considering cutting dairy out of their diet: Everyone’s Going Dairy-free