Frontline: Bone Mineral Density; Breast Cancer; Soymilk vs. Cow’s Milk

High-Intensity Exercise Can Safely Improve Bone Mineral Density

If you think you need to avoid certain types of exercise because you have low bone mass (osteopenia or osteoporosis), recent research findings may change your thinking. A study that was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research showed that women with low bone mineral density who did high-intensity resistance and impact training (HiRIT) suffered no adverse effects and experienced several beneficial results. For the study, postmenopausal women with low bone mass (a T-score of -1.0 or lower on a DEXA scan) were divided into two groups. One group did 30 minutes of supervised high-intensity resistance and impact training (HiRIT) twice a week for eight months, while the other group did a low-intensity exercise program at home. The women who did HiRIT gained bone mineral density as was evidenced by higher T scores, and they performed better on tests that measured various physical functions, while the women who did low-intensity exercise did not reap the same benefits. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, consult with your doctor or an exercise professional to find out which exercises can safely help you improve your bone health.

Eating Processed Meats Linked With Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

A large-scale meta-analysis has linked eating processed meat to an increased risk for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The analysis, which was published in the February 2018 European Journal of Cancer, analyzed recent research on 262,195 women along with data from previous studies that involved nearly 1.4 million women. The combined results showed that postmenopausal women who ate processed meat (including hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and cold cuts) had a 9 percent higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who did not eat processed meat. The women who ate the most processed meat (averaging more than 9 grams, or about a third of an ounce, per day) had a 21 percent higher risk. However, no association was found between consuming red meat and incidence of breast cancer. It is thought that chemicals added to processed meat to boost its flavor and improve its color may contribute to the formation of carcinogens, compounds that can cause cancer.

Soymilk Most Similar to Cow’s Milk in Nutrition

Have you wondered which of the plant-based non-dairy “milks” are most similar to cow’s milk? Researchers who published their findings in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Food Science and Technology have your answer. The researchers, who compared the nutritional profiles of four popular non-dairy milks (soy, almond, coconut, and rice), found that soymilk was the best choice for its nutritional value. The researchers compared the nutrients found in unsweetened almond, soy, and rice milks and coconut-based dairy-free beverages. Soymilk was found to be the most comparable to cow’s milk in terms of overall nutrient balance. An 8-ounce serving of soymilk provides seven to 12 grams of protein and about 95 calories. Soymilk also contains plant compounds that are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Almond milk was lowest in calories—about 36 calories per 8-ounce serving—but it was also low in protein. Dairy-free coconut beverages provide about 45 calories per serving, but they are higher in saturated fat and contain no protein, and rice milk was highest in calories but also contained no protein.

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