Bone Building and Dining on Dairy

There are two schools of thought on dairy.  One group believes people are not meant to drink from cows.  The other scientifically noticed that milk is the perfect (well-rounded, all-containing) food with the exception of iron.  Dairy is a wonderful food for groups at risk for osteoporosis because of it's calcium content.  If you are part of group one, be sure to get all your necessary vitamins and nutrients from other sources.

Here is why Osteoporosis is often a lean person's disease:  To build bone, stress must be imposed on bone by muscle contraction or the force of external weight against the bone.  Through a long chemical change, the body signals calcium to be brought to the bone to make that bone denser and subsequently much stronger.  If a lean person does not receive bone-stress from a source of muscle contraction (strength training or impact, like running or martial arts), their body never begins the bone building chain that a heavier person already has from weight.  If your weight is normal or above, it is still important to obtain periodic blood tests and simple bone scans to check for nutrient deficiency or chemical imbalances that can cause bone weakness.

Portion sizes of dairyThe Dairy Council recommends just under a cup of milk, 1/2 to 2/3 cup of yogurt, or a matchbox piece of cheese (the size of your thumb) as correct amounts of dairy to consume in one sitting.

Ingredients:  Look for low-fat but not fat-free.  If you are watching your portion sizes, those portions are best left alone and not chemically altered (such as replacing fat with fake sugar substitutes).

Why Healthy Fat is Essential:  Sugar in natural forms is used by the body for energy expenditure, and if you metabolic output is lower than your intake, your body will convert this sugar to fat.  People genetically contain this fat-creating method because fat is essential for brain and organ function as well as temperature regulation of the entire body.  Fat also is required for your body to bring fat soluble vitamins (Vit A, D, E, and K) into your liver and fatty tissues for storage.  Another reason to watch your portion size and maintain a normal weight, fat soluble vitamins can cause toxicity issues if overly ingested and stored.  Low-fat dairy, oils and nuts with omega-3 are all great sources of fat.

I am American and LOVE my ice cream!  I almost miss the old hand crank ice cream makers where you add your own ingredients and then churn and churn and churn until it's ice-cold.  Little did we know we were stimulating bone building and increasing our metabolisms with all that churning, benefiting the following ice cream binge (which never happened because we could only get 1-2 cups after 1 hour of non-stop churning in the hot sun for the entire family).  My family now has incredible electric ice cream makers.  I prefer home-made to store-bought because we can control what goes into the machine and we can control how often it gets "plugged in."  But when it is, I'll swim 20 laps to get my fill!

Contact your local Osteoporosis Foundation about obtaining a periodic bone scan if you feel are at risk.  For more dairy information, visit The Dairy Council at www.milk.co.uk

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