The journey to understanding the best types of milk for bone health, both dairy and non-dairy, is brimming with surprising discoveries and essential insights. The wisdom, espoused by Dr. Meredith Warner, an eminent orthopedic surgeon, suggests that while milk is recognized as a good source of calcium, there are superior sources, notably green leafy vegetables. Calcium, the cornerstone nutrient for strengthening bones, requires the average adult to consume approximately 1,000 milligrams a day.
The Role of Vitamin D in Bone Health
A crucial companion to calcium, vitamin D, often added to milk, plays a pivotal role in calcium absorption. The daily target for adults is about 600 international units. Interestingly, the fat content in varying types of cow's milk such as skim, whole, 1%, and 2% is less crucial to bone health compared to the intake of calcium and vitamin D.
Dr. Warner points out that milk fat is perceived to be cardioprotective, and issues a cautionary note that skim and reduced-fat milks may contain added sugar. Dietitian Dana Angelo White accentuates the idea of choosing milk based on personal taste preference. She offers insights on goat's milk and lactose-free milks, asserting that they also provide the necessary nutrients if fortified with vitamin D.
Non-Dairy Milk: A Closer Look
Non-dairy milks, such as almond and oat milk, generally have lower amounts of calcium and vitamin D, may contain added sugars, and undergo a high degree of processing. For those exploring a non-dairy option that mirrors cow's milk in nutritional profile, registered dietitian Ginger Hultin recommends soy milk. Soy milk typically has a protein content similar to cow's milk and is often fortified with both calcium and vitamin D.