Why the Dad, Dietitian and Husband in me loves Dairy!

So I get it, dairy can be a bit of a dirty word among certain GI symptom sufferers, with bloating and other embarrassment causing symptoms sometimes resulting from its consumption but the movement away from dairy as a whole is concerning for our health. Here’s the deal… the body has a calcium bank known as the skeleton and up until about 25 years of age every human makes deposits into that bank, increasing its density and strength. Beyond 25 we can only ever top the bank up to that level but never exceed it and so its so important that calcium found in its highest amounts in dairy is part of our daily eats with our wives and daughters, mums and sisters more prone to deficiency than us.

Here is my attempt of trying to explain the nitty gritty of how it works. When a food such as cheese is broken down to release the calcium, our body deposits this calcium into our calcium bank the skeleton. If you think of calcium a bit like the timber frame inside a brick house, the calcium binds to other nutrients and gives our bones their strength. Here is the catch though, our bodies actually have many uses for calcium and one more critical uses is its involvement in cell to cell communication. The really detailed description talks about positive and negative charges and it all gets a bit confusing but the oversimplified version is to think of the old two cans and a length of fishing line you used to talk to the kids next door. The calcium is the line and the cans are the cells. How this relates to your health is that this communication is seen by the body as a more immediate need and prioritised by the body. When there isn’t enough calcium in the blood to make that happen the body has a mechanism to release calcium from the bone into the bloodstream allowing that communication but as a result reducing the strength of that bone or more plainly the timber frame holding up the house.

Its this process that sees our elderly and more frail Australians fall victim to broken bones or fractures in incidents that might not seem at all possible, tripping or knocking their leg. With our mothers and grandmothers more prone to these breakages than the men of the family.

So from the Dad…get your sons and daughters onto dairy, yoghurt, milk and cheese should be a daily habit and I’ve got a link below to give you an understanding of exactly how many we should have at the various ages. Remember up to 25 is the point to build maximum bone strength….so get building that frame.

The Husband (and the son for that matter): The ladies in our life need Calcium, Osteoporosis in this country is on the rise and females are more susceptible, make sure there is always some milk in the fridge.

The Dietitian: Calcium is really important and dairy is our best source but there is some parts of our population that do have certain levels of intolerance or even a direct allergy. It can be diagnosed with a simple test and there are some great sources of calcium that don’t require the consumption of dairy but before throwing the milk out, consult your GP and dietitian. There is probably simple ways that we can manipulate things so you can maintain the strength of that skeleton and reduce those symptoms.

Say hi to that calcium bank – skeleton for me.


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