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Five ways to build strong bones without drinking milk

by , 18 February 2016

Contrary to popular belief, you can get all of the calcium your body needs without ever touching a glass of cow's milk. I'm not a huge fan of milk because, among its many problems, studies show that dairy can stall fat loss and exacerbate skin conditions like acne (yikes!).

When it comes to strong bones, studies show that countries with the highest milk consumption have the highest levels of osteoporosis. Odd, right? And, the Nurses' Health Study, which monitored 77,761 nurses over 12 years, found that those who consumed the most milk had the highest risk of bone fractures. Odd once again.

Fortunately, you never need to touch another glass of cow's milk to get calcium and other nutrients when you focus on these five bone-boosting strategies!

Five tips to build healthy bones without dairy

#1: Catch some sun
Vitamin D helps your body absorb and maintain calcium. One study found sun exposure for about 10 minutes, two to three times a week, coupled with a vitamin D supplement creates healthy bones and optimizes immunity. Ask your doctor for a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test; your levels should ideally fall in the 50 to 80 ng/ml range. If you don't hit that range, work with your doctor on taking a 5,000-IU vitamin D supplement until you do.
#2: Eat more greens
Leafy green veggies provide an often overlooked calcium source. One cup of cooked broccoli rabe, for instance, offers more than half of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium. Collard greens, kale, and spinach also provide excellent sources of this bone-supporting mineral. Combine these green leafy veggies with some good fat like extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil to optimally absorb fat-soluble vitamins D and K.
#3: Start lifting weights
Studies show strength and muscle mass correlate with bone density. I combine burst training with weight resistance for the most effective, efficient exercise on the planet. Think plank-ups with weights or lunges with bicep curls.
#4: Incorporate omegas
Among their benefits, studies show anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in wild-caught salmon and other fish improve bone health. If you’re not eating wild fish at least three times a week, consider a high-quality omega-3 supplement that contains about 1 gram total of EPA and DHA fatty acids.
#5: Munch on nuts
Along with protein and fibre, slow-roasted or dehydrated almonds and other nuts or nut butters pack bone-supporting minerals like calcium, zinc, manganese, and hard-to-get magnesium. One study associated inadequate magnesium with lower bone mineral density.
If you’ve traded the cow in and no longer do dairy, what recommendation would you add here to support optimal bone health?

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