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Is Milk Good for Us?

Carolina Sanchez

Have you ever sucked on a cow's udder? What about a goat? A tiger? I didn't think so.

You've probably heard all your life: drink your milk, you need your calcium! Or something to that tune. But milk is in no way a health food. If you wouldn't suck on a cow's udder, why is it any different to drink a glass of milk or eat a piece of cheese?

Humans are the only animals on the planet that drink milk after a certain weaning period, and that of another animal. In fact, the USA Today estimated that 60% of adults worldwide are lactose intolerant. It is normal for the human body to stop producing lactase, the enzyme needed to break down the main sugar in milk, lactose, between 2 and 5 years old. These undigested sugars end up in the colon where they wreak havoc and produce gas, cramping, nausea, etc. It can also produce excess phlegm in the body and has been linked to asthma.

It would seem pretty silly to imagine a tiger drinking milk from a hippo, right?

Let's take the strongest mammal on the planet: the elephant. Does it drink milk? Only for a short period after it's born, and from its mother. But after that, the elephant keeps it strong bones by eating PLANTS! Yes! Plants have calcium!

 

Plant-based sources of calcium are easier for the body to absorb than animal sources because it is easier for us to digest the plant-based foods easier and break them down and utilize the nutrients better. When we consume dairy, it produces an acidic condition in the body known as metabolic acidosis. In order to balance the acid, the body reacts by releasing calcium out of the bones, and so you are literally peeing out calcium. The Nutrition Action Health Letter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest quotes,

"Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis, such as the United States, England, and Sweden, consume the most milk. China and Japan, where people eat much less protein and dairy food, have low rates of osteoporosis." 

Doctors, commercials, and the media are constantly telling us to drink more milk to prevent osteoperosis, but it's actually contributing to the problem. If you're like me, you're probably wondering, why didn't anybody tell me sooner?! 

The bottom line is, you don't need milk to get adequate amounts of calcium. The World Health Organization recommends 400-500 milligrams a day, and you can get plenty by eating plant-based foods. I've put together a list for you to help you in choosing calcium-rich foods.

If you are wondering what you can have instead of milk, try Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almond Milk, or their unsweetened vanilla variety. You can also make your own nut milk, it's easy and even tastier!

Feel free to leave your comments and tell me what you think. 

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Food

Amount

Calcium (mg)

Collard greens

1 cup

357

Other plant milks, calcium-fortified

8 ounces

300-500

Tofu

4 ounces

200-420

Figs

10

270

Turnip greens, cooked

1 cup

249

Tempeh

1 cup

184

Kale, cooked

1 cup

179

Soybeans, cooked

1 cup

175

Bok

choy

, cooked

1 cup

158

Mustard greens, cooked

1 cup

152

Okra, cooked

1 cup

135

Navy beans, cooked

1 cup

126

Almond butter

2 Tbsp

111

Almonds, whole

1/4 cup

94

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

62

Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.