Milk, Calcium & Nutrition
Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. Good sources of calcium include milk and other dairy products, kale, kelp, tofu, canned fish with bones, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflower and soybeans. Fortified foods such as fruit juices, breads and cereals are also common sources of calcium. Calcium in hard water and some mineral waters may be important dietary sources for some people. Calcium supplementation is another alternative.
According to the nutrition experts, “persons who have built up large stores of calcium during childhood and young adulthood will have no problems upon ageing, but those who have never attained peak bone mass risk developing osteoporosis. This is not only responsible for the dowager’s hump of elderly women, but also for hip fractures and their often fatal consequences. The best approach to osteoporosis would be its prevention by increased calcium intake early in life to build up calcium stores. Among older people, calcium supplements and calcium rich foods may be helpful”.
There are those who would have us believe that milk is not a good source of nutrition for adults. The fact is that the milk of goats, sheep, horses and cows has been used as food by even the most primitive people because milk is in fact one of the most nutritious foods available to us. Besides being the best source of biologically available calcium it is also rich in protein for muscle building, carbohydrate and fat for energy and a whole host of micronutrients like the vitamins and minerals.
As a single nutrient, milk has its shortcomings, and it is for this reason we are always advised to consume a “balanced diet” which for the layman means as wide a variety of foods as possible including a fair amount of fresh fruit and vegetables. There have been arguments that cow’s milk is bad for us because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not the same as in mothers milk. This has been researched and so far is “not proven”.
For an in depth exposition of this subject see: http://www.saafost.org.za/Library/Articles/CalNutrition.asp
F.A.C.S. Scientific Director. 2009. (Update 2017 imminent)