Why healthy bones are about so much more than milk | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter | Summary and Q&A

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Why healthy bones are about so much more than milk | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter

TL;DR

This content challenges the belief that drinking milk is the key to strong bones and explores the broader aspects of bone health.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Is drinking milk the only way to maintain strong and healthy bones?

No, drinking milk is not the only way to maintain strong and healthy bones. While milk is often associated with calcium and vitamin D, there are many other sources of these nutrients that can contribute to bone health. Leafy greens like spinach and kale, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, proteins like tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and fish, as well as fortified cereals and orange juice, are all good sources of calcium. Vitamin D can be obtained from fatty fishes and through our skin's exposure to the sun.

Q: What happens to our bones as we age?

As we age, our bones go through a continuous process of removing old bone and replacing it with new bone. However, after reaching our peak bone mass in our 20s, bone removal starts to outpace replacement. This can lead to a decrease in bone mass and eventually affect the integrity of the bone, making it more fragile and prone to fractures. Osteoporosis is an extreme version of this process, where bone loss becomes significant and can result in severe fragility.

Q: What role does calcium play in bone health?

Calcium plays a crucial role in bone health as our bones store calcium. If our dietary intake of calcium is low, the body draws calcium from the bone, which can contribute to bone loss. It is important to have enough dietary calcium to maintain our bone health. While milk is commonly associated with calcium, there are various other sources of calcium such as yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and proteins like tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and fish.

Q: How does exercise contribute to bone health?

Exercise has a significant impact on bone health. Mechanical loading, such as weight-bearing activities like walking, jogging, dancing, racket sports, and strength training, stimulates the cells that build bone. The stress applied to the bones during exercise promotes the deposition of calcium and the growth of new bone. Additionally, exercise helps strengthen muscles, which can improve balance and reduce the risk of falls, ultimately preventing fractures, particularly hip fractures.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Milk is not the only source of calcium for strong bones; there are many other foods such as leafy greens, yogurt, cheese, and fortified cereals that also provide calcium.

  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and it is found in fatty fishes and can also be produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight.

  • Exercise, especially weight-bearing activities like walking or strength training, is crucial for bone health as it stimulates the cells that build bone and helps with balance to prevent falls and fractures.

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