Your Bones and You

Nutrition and Bones


dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones




excerpt from
"The dairy folks, ever since the 1920s, have been enormously successful in cultivating an environment within virtually all segments of our society—from research and education to public relations and politics—to have us believing that cow's milk and its products are manna from heaven. ... Make no mistake about it; the dairy industry has been virtually in total control of any and all public health information that ever rises to the level of public scrutiny."
Dr. T. Colin Campbell

After looking at 34 published studies in 16 countries, researchers at Yale University found that the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis—including the United States, Sweden, and Finland—were those in which people consumed the most meat, milk, and other animal foods. This study also showed that African-Americans, who consume, on average, more than 1,000 mg of calcium per day, are nine times more likely to experience hip fractures than are South African blacks, whose daily calcium intake is only about 196 mg. Says McDougall, "On a nation-by-nation basis, people who consume the most calcium have the weakest bones and the highest rates of osteoporosis. ... Only in thoseplaces where calcium and protein are eaten in relatively high quantities does a deficiency of bone calcium exist, due to an excess of animal protein."...

"Milk, it now seems clear, is not the solution to poor bone density. To the contrary, it's part of the problem."
Dr. Charles Attwood




Dem dry bones need food and drink

Dr John Briffa's tips as reported on in the Observer
Ten tips for stronger bones

applicable to both men and women

1. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

Tests show the more acidic the body is, the more calcium tends to be lost from the bones. Once absorbed into the body, fruit and vegetables help to restore alkalinity to the system, an effect that helps the bone retain calcium. Several studies show that eating more fruit and veg appears to improve bone health and ward off osteoporosis.

. Eat your greens

Green vegetables seem to be particularly beneficial for the bones, on account of their vitamin K content. This nutrient plays an important role in bone formation, and high levels of it in the diet are linked with increased bone density. Vegetables to stock up on include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale and cauliflower.

3. Get out more

Another important nutrient for bone health is vitamin D. Most of our requirements for this come from sunlight on our skin. Getting out more, especially when the sun is out, may well have benefits for our bones. Decent dietary sources of vitamin D to include in the diet include kippers, mackerel, sardines and salmon.

4. Get plenty of calcium for growing bones

Studies suggest that calcium is important for bone development, but has little or no role to play once the bone is fully grown. Including some calcium-rich dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese in the diet appears to be important during childhood and adolescence, but contrary to popular opinion, does not seem to protect against osteoporosis later on.

5. Get plenty of magnesium

Magnesium seems also to play an important part in bone building. One study found that supplementation with magnesium stopped bone loss or increased bone density in about 90 per cent of women. Magnesium-rich foods that may help to build bone include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses.

6. Eat soya-based foods

Osteoporosis is more common after the time of menopause, and a major reason for this is believed to be the relative lack of the bone-healthy hormone oestrogen. Soya-based foods such as tofu, tempeh and soya milk and yoghurt are all rich in oestrogen-like compounds called isoflavones.

7. Drink tea

Tea consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fracture, an effect that has been put down to bone-building compounds known as flavonols. Tea appears to be the drink of choice for individuals wishing to preserve the health of their bones.

8. Cut back on salt

Some research suggests that too much salt in the diet may weaken the bones. Avoiding salt-rich, fast and processed foods may help to preserve bone strength in the long term.

9. Take exercise Exercises such as brisk walking, jogging and aerobics, have been shown to help preserve the strength of the bones. As little as half an hour's exercise, most days of the week, seems to be enough to maintain the health of the bones and protect them from osteoporosis.

10. Take a bone-building supplement

A supplement designed specifically for bone health may help combat osteoporosis. Osteocare contains magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin D, plus other nutrients known to be important in bone formation such as zinc and boron, and is available in health food stores and pharmacies.


Recently, I have noticed a crop of adverts on the telly touting the health-giving properties of breakfast cereals. One particular cereal maker seems keen to persuade us that eating their unrefined, wholewheat cereals may help to stave off Britain's number one killer-heart disease. However, it is not always wise to swallow what the food manufacturers tell us without question, so I recently looked to see if there was any truth in this latest marketing ploy.

In my quest, I came across a study in which researchers assessed the association between breakfast cereal consumption and risk of death due to heart disease in middle-aged and elderly men. This research, published last month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that, compared to men who rarely or never consumed cereal, men who ate wholegrain cereal each day appeared to enjoy a 20 per cent reduction in their risk of dying from heart disease. On the other hand, consumption of refined breakfast cereals did not seem to confer any benefit. It seems that those who like to eat cereal might do well to choose wholegrain cereals based on oats (such as muesli and porridge) and wheat.

Plant organic

Lower levels of chemical contamination in organic fruit and vegetables can only be a good thing for us and our environment. A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found significantly higher levels of plant substances called flavonols in organically grown marionberries (a type of blackberry), strawberries and corn, compared to their non-organic counterparts. Flavonols are known to have health-giving properties in the body, and are believed to help protect us from major diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Opting for organic produce means that we get less of what we don't need in our diet.

Diabetes and sleep

While sleep is viewed by many as essentially wasted time, this is far from true from a health perspective. Slumber not only helps recharge our batteries, but some evidence suggests it can actually help ward off major illness, including diabetes. A study published recently in the journal Diabetes Care has reported that, compared to women sleeping five hours a night or less, women sleeping seven or eight hours a night had a 25 per cent decreased risk of developing diabetes. Why this may be is not known for sure. However, lack of sleep can reduce the level of a hunger-curbing hormone called leptin. Low levels of leptin increases the risk of weight gain, which is a major risk factor for the development of diabetes in later life.

 Milk - On the One Hand, On the Other

See the Food Revolution and the excerpt from

Planetary Dairy Query

What do you know about dairying around the world?

1. In 1999, how many countries produced dairy products?

a. 43 b. 78 c. 145 d.           All 193

2. Which animal produces most of the world’s milk?

a. Dairy cow b. Water buffalo c. Camel d. Yak

3. When did China introduce a glass of milk every day to every child in school?

a. 1949 b. 1969 c. 1995 d. 2000

4. Which country is the biggest exporter of dairy products?
a. United States b. New Zealand c. Canada d. India

5. In which country do people consume the most water buffalo milk?

a. China b. India c. Argentina d. Zimbabwe

6. What is the most popular specialized dairy breed in the world?

a. Brown Swiss b. Holstein c. Jersey d. Zebu

7. Which country produces the most cow milk in the world?

a. India b. United States c. Australia d. Netherlands

8. Which country consumes the most cow milk per capita in the world?

a. Germany b. Australia c. Finland d. United States

9. Where was cheese invented?

a. United States b. Middle East c. Africa d. Europe

10. Which of the following animals is not milked for human use?

a. Llama b. Goat c. Sheep d. Horsee. Donkey f. Reindeer g. Pig

11. How many cattle breeds exist?

a. 25 b. 75 c. 110 d.      More than 140



The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
by John Robbins

The only son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire, John Robbins was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps, but chose to walk away from Baskin-Robbins and the immense wealth it represented to "...pursue the deeper American Dream...the dream of a society at peace with its conscience because it respects and lives in harmony with all life forms. A dream of a society that is truly healthy, practicing a wise and compassionate stewardship of a balanced ecosystem."

Considered to be one of the most eloquent and powerful spokespersons in the world for a sane, ethical and sustainable future, John has been a featured and keynote speaker at major conferences sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Beyond War, Oxfam, the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the United Nations Environmental Program, UNICEF, and many other organizations dedicated to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable way of life. He is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, and the Peace Abbey's Courage of Conscience Award. The widespread media attention he has received has included numerous appearances on national shows including Oprah, Donahue and Geraldo. When John spoke at the United Nations, he received a standing ovation...