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Osteoporosis is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Each year thousands of people die needlessly due to problems or complications related to Osteoporosis. Falls which result in fractures are the beginning of a downward spiral that can lead to death. So, why is it, that in the United States, where the average woman has consumed an average of two pounds of dairy each and every day of her life, so we see such high levels of Osteoporosis?

(Note: The incidence of Osteoporosis is just as high in other countries with a large consumption of dairy. England and Sweden follow closely behind the United States with cases of Osteoporosis. They also follow closely behind the United States in dairy consumption).

The common approach to preventing Osteoporosis has been prescribing large doses of calcium. For years, doctors have been telling people, mostly women, that to prevent bone loss, to increase the amount of calcium in their diet. They suggest dairy as the perfect source of the dairy. However, dairy calcium has two major flaws that actually increases and worsens Osteoporosis!

First, dairy calcium contains little or no magnesium. In order to absorb calcium into the bones, the human body needs an equal amount of magnesium. Dairy products do not have enough magnesium to accomplish this task. However, magnesium is found in abundance is green vegetables (more on this later).

Second, dairy contains too much protein. Dietary protein causes the blood to become acidic. To neutralize this acid, the body uses its largest source of calcium it can find: the skeletal system. The calcium in bones is the perfect neutralizer to the acids in protein. For example, if you take in 1000-1500 mg of high-protein calcium daily, the average person will still lose 4% bone mass each year! The body actually consumes its own skeleton to neutralize the acid found in protein.

So where do we find calcium that is balanced with magnesium and is also low in protein? In green vegetables! Vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli contain large amount of calcium, a good balance of magnesium, and low levels of acidic protein. The molecular structure of chlorophyll, the green blood of plant life, contains the magnesium molecule. And we find that in countries where dairy consumption is low and green vegetable consumption is high, the incidence of Osteoporosis is low. China and Japan for example, have very low rates of Osteoporosis and they consume very little dairy.

Calcium is not the only factor in the Osteoporosis equation. Calcium loss can also be caused by hereditary factors, intake of salt, high-fat foods, caffeine, and tobacco products. Also, lack of weight-bearing exercise also increases the risks of Osteoporosis.

So, instead of reaching for that glass of milk, that slice of cheese, or that cup of yogurt to help stave off your Osteoporosis, grab a spinach salad instead! Couple that with a healthy lifestyle that shuns tobacco, caffeine, salt, and high-protein foods, and contains plenty of weight-bearing exercise, and your chances of developing Osteoporosis are dramatically reduced. Itís not too late either. You can start your healthier lifestyle today and begin to reverse the effects of this disease.

Dean Novosat writes about health and nutrition. He has two websites and