Do dairy products prevent injury and improve recovery time?
When we’re children, we’re all told how we need to drink milk to grow up big, strong and healthy. It’s clear and well known that the calcium found naturally in dairy milk is vital for healthy bones and healthy teeth in young people.
So why do we stop focusing on healthy bones when we get older?
If we know how important milk is to help our bones develop, why do we forget it’s equally as important to maintain them when we’re adults?
Because current research into the health and nutritional benefits of dairy milk shows that it remains one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the nutrients into your body that work to protect your bones, prevent injury, and help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Strong, healthy bones help to prevent injury
Dairy milk contains three core nutrients (amongst many other vitamins and minerals) that help bones develop and maintain their strength: Calcium, Protein and Phosphorous – the trifecta.
Calcium is the most well-known nutrient, the one we all associate with healthy teeth and healthy bones. It’s used by the body to build our bone density and then maintain it.
Phosphorous is also an extremely important mineral – and one of the most abundant in the body. It helps biochemical reactions take place – including calcium metabolism. When it combines with calcium, it forms a mineral crystal called hydroxyapatite that provides strength and structure.
Finally, protein helps calcium to be absorbed through the intestines and is a vital building blocks for bone matter. It also contributes to strong healthy muscle growth – which supports the job of the bones.
With strong bones and strong muscles – your body and your joints can function more effectively. They can withstand more of the everyday stresses that your body goes through – including knocks, jolts and the repetitive strain of general exercise.
The dangers of decreased bone density
But if we do not take in enough of these three essential nutrients, then our bones are likely to weaken. Our bone density can decrease. And then our bones cannot sufficiently tolerate the cumulative loads that we place on them day after day.
Stress fractures can then develop, either as a result of injury caused by exercise or because the bones have weakened over time.
Jack Chews, expert physiotherapist and managing director of Chews Health has experienced this first hand with his clients:
“Stress fractures tend to occur due to a change in external loads, changes in bone tolerance or a combination of both. In many recent cases, the only notable changes for these individuals, were that they had recently taken dairy out of their diet.”
“The recent injuries we’ve seen appear to be related to veganism – and in general, those following a vegan diet have lower bone density than their non-vegan counterparts.”
Studies have also found that women in general are more at risk of lower bone density than men. This is primarily due to hormonal factors that affect the way the female body absorbs iron and calcium. Conditions like osteoporosis can develop and worsen with the onset of the menopause.
Decreased bone density can lead to many debilitating conditions in any age or gender, affecting how our bones carry our weight, reducing our mobility and compounding other health problems.
Avoid injury and increase your recovery time
But, if we maintain a good intake of the calcium, phosphorous and protein trifecta – through regular consumption of dairy milk (or carefully considered replacements/alternatives) – then we can maintain good bone density and good bone health.
The stronger our bones are, the less likely we are to develop any injuries related to our arms, legs or back.
And dairy milk can also increase recovery times if you have been injured. Jack Chews prescribes a balanced omnivorous diet to all his patients that includes milk – because they are an evidence-based healthcare company. They have seen the studies and trials that show milk consumption helps bones and muscles recover faster after injury.
So if you want to minimise your chance of developing any kind of sports injury – and increase your recovery time if you do – we recommend dairy milk! #mission4milk.
Got a story to share about how milk has supported your recovery or how you find it beneficial? We’d love to hear it.