Milk is considered to be unhealthy and unnecessary by researchers, Doctors and health experts around the globe.
Some of the reasons for this include:
- Humans are the only species that drink milk beyond infancy/childhood (other than domesticated animals such as cats and dogs for example). Past this age our body does not make the enzymes necessary to digest milk properly
- Dairy contains cholesterol and fat (especially saturated fat) which has been found to contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. The human body makes enough cholesterol and does not need any from the diet.
- The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell strongly links milk protein to liver cancer in children of the Philippines. His research shows that the milk protein casein can turn on liver cancer growth and when taken out of the diet turns cancer growth off
- Many studies show that higher milk consumption is linked to HIGHER FRACTURE rates. The 12-year Harvard Nurses' Health Study involved 78,000 nurses. It found that nurses who drank the most milk (two or more glasses per day) had a 45% higher risk of hip fracture! A recent study in the British Medical Journal found that women with the highest calcium intake were 29% more likely to have a hip fracture than women with a modest calcium intake
- Many studies have found a strong correlation (link) between breast and prostate cancer.
- The milk protein casein has been found in artery deposits where it thickens artery walls and prevents blood from flowing through arteries freely as it should
- Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) has been found to be linked to dairy consumption
- Milk contains contaminants ranging from pesticides to drugs/medications. Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk.
- Many studies note that iron-deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet
- Cow’s milk has been linked to colic in breast- fed babies (the cow’s antibodies pass through the mother’s bloodstream and into her breast milk to the baby)
So How Much Calcium Do We Need?
A study involving over 60,000 Swedish women published in the British Medical Journal recently showed that women with a low calcium intake (less than 750mg/day) had a 24% increased risk of hip fracture. Women with the highest calcium intake (over 1137mg/day) had a 29% risk of hip fracture (higher than the low calcium group!). The healthy amount of calcium to eat per day would be about 880 – 995mg of calcium which is easily achieved on a vegan diet.
So How Do I Maintain Healthy Bones?
Eat a healthy vegan diet containing green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses, nuts, seeds, broccoli, almonds, figs, sesame seeds, unhulled tahini, tofu etc. Such a diet contains other nutrients that are crucial for bone growth such as Vitamin K, magnesium, boron and healthy plant proteins. One easy (and tasty!) way to increase your green leafy vegetable intake is through green smoothies.
Get adequate vitamin D from sunshine and or supplementation! This will assist in calcium absorption. A lot of research is showing that vegan or not, most of the population do not have adeqate vitamin D levels.
Eat a diet with plenty of Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to regulate calcium and bone formation. Vitamin K is found in a range of plant foods such as English spinach, kale, parsley brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress, avocado etc. Eating such foods will also provide you with ample magnesium and potassium which aid in healthy bones.
Avoid excess sodium which can interfere with calcium absorption (particularly table salt).
Avoid animal proteins (meat, eggs, cheese etc.). Our bones absorb calcium but they also release calcium to neutralize certain amino-acids in these foods which cause the blood-stream to become acidic after eating them in a high animal protein meal.
Exercise regularly to build strong, dense bones
Eve Nguyen, ND is a degree-qualified Naturopath, CPAP therapist and K.L stretch teacher with over 10 years experience in the field of health and Nutrition. In addition to teaching nutrition and cooking classes, Eve was chosen to be a Fairfield City Green Champion in 2010. As a vegan with a particular interest in environmental impacts on our health, Eve enjoys delivering information/ presentations to help people realise the link between the state of the environment and their own health.
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