If you're thinking of sipping on a glass of cow's milk to wash down your Halloween goodies, you may want to reconsider. Milk-drinking has been touted for building strong bones in children and preventing osteoporosis in older persons. However, clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.
Similarly, the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. While calcium is important for bone health, studies show that increasing consumption beyond approximately 600 mg per day—amounts that are easily achieved without dairy products or calcium supplements—does not improve bone integrity.
You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein intake in the diet, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, exercising, and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans.
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