How do you prevent osteoporosis? There is a lot of talk in both the medical and natural health field these days about how to answer that question. The usual response is, “Take a calcium supplement”, or, “Drink more milk.”
But is extra calcium really the answer?
Let’s look at the milk factor first. The command to “drink more milk” almost always refers to the milk you find in stores – the pasteurized kind. Since many nutritional experts believe that the process of pasteurizing milk converts the calcium in the milk to a form that is not bio-available, one could argue that right there, the belief that drinking more milk somehow strengthens bones is simply a myth.
Even if pasteurization actually does nothing to the calcium, the absolute truth is that calcium cannot be absorbed by the body unless other certain nutrients are present, chief among them being magnesium. As milk contains practically no magnesium, and as the typical American doesn’t get enough of it in their diet, drinking milk – raw or pasteurized – would seem not to be the solution.
Neither would taking a calcium supplement – unless it contains magnesium as well. But I have yet to find a calcium-magnesium supplement which is actually absorbed well by my body, the only exception being angstrom minerals.
Oh, and did I mention that nations where pasteurized milk is regularly consumed have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world?
What the healthiest peoples teach us about preventing osteoporosis
In his book Healthy At 100, John Robbins talks about the four known longest-lived people groups in the world. These people groups are – or were, I should say, since sadly many are now consuming processed foods – almost completely free of any degenerative disease, even among the most elderly.
Here is their traditional lifestyle:
- A plant-based diet, with meat being consumed once a week or less frequently, and including a lot of vegetables and some grain
- One or two servings of raw dairy, often cultured, per day
- No processed foods (until the last three decades or so, when degenerative disease begin finding its way into these cultures)
- No supplements, drugs or medical counsel
- Little stress
- Tons of exercise every day
Your solution to prevent osteoporosis
- Eat a lot of vegetables, including a generous amount of greens
- Consume dairy in moderation, preferably raw
- Exercise at least five days a week, aiming for an hour total a day
- Reduce your stress levels
- Keep meat consumption down to once a day, preferably not every day