“Humans have no nutritional requirement for milk.” Wow, really Ulsan University Hospital Download? Since we were kids, we were told to drink milk to make us “big and strong” – but experts believe milk actually harms our body. Is this true?
The milk debate – good or not?
The jury is still undecided on whether milk is the best source of calcium or not. But what we can say for sure is that it does contain calcium, which is a mineral that our body needs. Calcium is essential for:
- Bone strengthening
- Heart function
- Muscle and nerve function
- Stabilising blood pressure
- Conduction of nerve impulses
- Blood clotting
So, if we accept the claim of Harvard paediatrician David Ludwig that milk is not the best source of calcium, where else can we get it? Some of your non-dairy options are: leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans and tofu – try and convince your kid(s) to eat those to get their calcium!
So, milk, itself, is not harmful. But whether or not it’s the best source of calcium, is up for debate.
The risks of too little calcium include: stunted growth in children as well as low bone mass, which may lead to osteoporosis later in life.
How to win: mix it up
1. Get your calcium from different sources
See milk as part of your calcium intake for the day. The rest you can get from specific vegetables as well as calcium supplements.
2. Add in some exercise
Cardiovascular activities such as walking, running, cycling and swimming all help to maintain your bone strength.
3. Vitamin D
The great thing about this vitamin is that you get it from spending time outdoors! Yes, sunlight is the most natural way to get vitamin D. When winter comes around, take a supplement.
4. Teach your kids:
Now that you know about the importance of calcium – teach your kids how to be aware of the sources of calcium. The period between childhood and young adulthood is when your bones require calcium the most so that they can reach their greatest strength.
The bottom line is that while experts’ claims may be correct, they don’t give us solutions. You don’t need to cut milk from your diet – make it a part of it – and get the rest of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium from a variety of sources to make sure that your bones will be strong and healthy throughout your life.