NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Dairy - Yes; Osteoporosis - No

Dairy – Yes; Osteoporosis - No

            Osteoporosis is a condition of gradually weakening, brittle bones. As bones lose calcium, they become more fragile and porous. As osteoporosis progresses slowly and silently many people don’t even realize they have it until they fracture a bone. 

            About half of women and 13 percent of men over the age of 50 will have a fracture related to osteoporosis in their lifetime. Osteoporosis affects approximately 25 million people and causes more than 1.5 million fractures every year. 

            Some of the factors that put us at risk for osteoporosis are out of our control. These include gender, low body weight, race, age, family history and prolonged use of some medications. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. Most women have less bone mass to start with and then they lose it faster as they get older. The hormone estrogen helps deposit calcium in bones but as estrogen production decreases, bone loss increases. People who are underweight likely have less bone mass than a person at a healthy weight. 

            Regardless of your age, gender or body build, you can practice healthy habits to lessen your risk for osteoporosis. Calcium intake is extremely important for bone health. Even a mild deficiency over time can affect bone density, increasing the risk for osteoporosis. Adults thru age 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. After age 50, 1,200 milligrams per day is recommended to maintain bone mass. Eight ounces of milk or yogurt or 1½ ounces of cheese provides approximately 300 milligrams of calcium.  

            People who have lactose intolerance can have a difficult time getting enough calcium in their diet. There are lactose-free milk products available that offer the same amount of calcium as regular milk. Other foods that are a good source of calcium include: one cup of white rice (267 mg), one cup cooked navy beans (258 mg), one cup of cole slaw (195 mg). Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, English walnuts, roasted soybeans, and peanuts all have around 400 mg of calcium per ½ cup.  

            Eating three servings a day of dairy foods, in addition to regular physical activity, is an important way for the whole family to build stronger bones and reduce risk of osteoporosis.

Incorporate these easy tips to add dairy to your diet:

            Combine one-cup of low-fat milk or yogurt, fruit and ice cubes in a blender for a delicious smoothie

            Prepare hot cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk instead of water

            Top pancakes with 6-8 ounces of yogurt and fruit instead of syrup

            Add your favorite cereal to yogurt for a quick, on-the-go breakfast

            Prepare chicken noodle soup using1 cup of low-fat milk instead of water for a creamy, hearty meal

            Add freshly shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese to salads

            Stir flavored low-fat yogurt into fruit salads

            Serve low-fat or fat-free flavored yogurt as a dip for cut-up fruit

            Top spaghetti and marinara sauce with one-ounce of shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese

            Mix one-cup of plain yogurt with taco seasoning or ranch dressing mix for a delicious vegetable dip

            Serve ice-cold low-fat or fat-free milk instead of soda

            Toss 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese with fat-free microwave popcorn




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