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Drinking Milk For Strong Bones? Here’s Why You Should Stop Believing This Myth Today

Drinking Milk For Strong Bones? Here’s Why You Should Stop Believing This Myth Today

When we think about the benefits of milk we immediately think of bones and teeth. Children are encouraged to drink more to promote healthy bone and teeth growth while women are told to drink more to ward off osteoporosis. But is drinking milk actually as healthy for our bones as we’ve always thought?

study found that countries with the highest dairy consumption, which includes most of the Western world, have the highest rates of osteoporosis. So if milk is so good for our bones, then why are more people who consume dairy products suffering from bone fracture incidence? This offers a contradiction that seems to show drinking calcium-rich milk may not be as great for our bone health than we originally thought.

The Problem With Milk #1: Animal Protein

Yes, milk is packed full of calcium but the problem lies with the fact that it’s animal protein. When our bodies digest animal protein, it acidifies the sensitive pH level and since our body is continuously keeping an optimal balance, it triggers a biological correction and works to get it back on track.

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The problem is that calcium is a great acid neutraliser so our body takes the calcium from the bones in order to keep the pH level balanced. So ironically, we drink milk to get calcium which then causes the calcium contained in our bones being taken out to lessen the acidity: drinking milk is actually depleting our calcium reserves rather than adding to it.

The Problem With Milk #2: Pasteurisation Process

Cow’s milk is obviously designed for calves and for us humans to be able to digest it efficiently, it needs to go through a pasteurisation process which involves applying heat to destroy pathogens in food, in order to kill disease-carrying germs and preventing milk from going sour too early.

The problem with pasteurisation is the process also destroys the goodness in milk including the probiotics, vitamin C, iodine and enzymes needed to allow the body to absorb calcium. As a result, the milk we drink whether it’s whole, 1%, 2% or skimmed, all go through this process and ends up in our stores.

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The Research

Many scientific studies back up the claims that drinking milk is actually detrimental to our bone health. They are, in fact, starting to outweigh the number of studies that say milk helps to reduce bone fractures and conditions like osteoporosis.

The 12 year-long Harvard Nurses’ Health Study based on nearly 78,000 women showed those between the ages of 34 and 59 who consumed calcium through milk and other dairy products broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk.

The authors of the study comment that ““These data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures.” 

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Another long-term study from Sweden involved following 61,433 women and 45,339 men between 11 and 20 years for bone health and dietary habits. They also found there was no link between increased milk consumption and lower risk of bone fracture – instead it was the opposite. They did hint that low-lactose fermented milk products such as yoghurt and cheese didn’t have such a detrimental effect on bone health as drinking milk.

Calcium-Rich Alternative Foods

The best route to take for your bone health is to not only eat calcium-rich foods but also alkaline-rich foods to make sure the acidity levels in your body don’t interfere with the calcium already present in the bones.

Calcium-rich foods include:

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  • Broccoli (86 milligrams in 2 cups raw)
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale (101 milligrams in 1 cup raw, chopped)
  • Almonds (75 milligrams per ounce (about 23 whole almonds)
  • Bok Choy (74 milligrams per 1 cup shredded)
  • Figs (121 milligrams per 1/2 cup dried) 
  • Sardines (351 milligrams in one 3.75-ounce can)
  • Tofu (434 milligrams per half cup)

Many cereals and other food products are fortified with calcium which can be a great addition to your diet.

Alkaline-rich foods include: garlic, spinach, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, green beans, beetroot, courgette (zucchini), grapes, apples, kiwi fruit, berries, blackcurrants, figs and dates.

Featured photo credit: stock.tookapic.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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