Dairy-Good Or Bad For Health
Do you love milk? For most of us Indians the day begins with a glass of milk. When you get hurt you have Haldi wala Doodh to your rescue; a special occasion calls for kesar wala Doodh, so it is milk all the way. Let us see if dairy-good or bad for health
There is a controversy lurking these days around dairy products. On one hand health organizations value it as a vital food for bone health and on the other hand experts feel that consumption of dairy is detrimental to one’s health. It is a huge debate. Let’s find out !
Dairy-Good Or Bad For Health?
- The only species that consume milk during adulthood are humans; that too the milk is sourced from another animal.
- Adults don’t need to grow and a cow nurses its calf to help its rapid growth. Then why should adult humans consume milk? From the logic point of view this is correct.
- Prior to agricultural evolution only mother’s milk was consumed by infants. Maybe that is why dairy is not included in a paleo diet.
- Dairy has a carb called lactose in it. As infants a digestive enzyme called lactase is produced by our body to break down the lactose present in mother’s milk. In adulthood people lose this ability. This inability in adults to break down lactose is called ‘lactose intolerance’. Such people suffer from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea etc when they consume dairy.
- About 3/4 of the world is lactose intolerant.
Pros of including dairy in diet
- Dairy products being nutritious are a good source of nutrients for us humans.
- Milk chiefly contains Calcium, Vitamin D, Riboflavin (B2),Vitamin B12, Potassium, Phosphorus. It also contains reasonable amounts of Vitamin B1, Vitamins B6 and BA, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium.
- Dairy from grass-fed cows contains more fat soluble vitamins and fatty acids that are beneficial for our health. Such dairy products have fat soluble vitamins, especially Vitamin K2. This vitamin is extremely important for providing major benefits for heart and bone health and regulating calcium metabolism. Low-fat or skim dairy products do not contain the healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
- Dairy products tend to improve bone density in the young and lower the risk of fractures in the elderly.
- Risk of obesity is reduced by the consumption of full-fat dairy even if the calories are high.
- The risk of diabetes too reduces when full fat dairy products are consumed.
- Contrary to popular belief , saturated fat consumption and heart disease have no link between them. It depends more on the way in which the cows are fed and raised.
Best Dairy Products
Having mentioned the pros and the cons, now I would like to mention the best types of dairy:
- Full fat dairy products
- Milk from cows that are grass fed
- Dairy products such as curd (which is a fermented dairy product) contain probiotic bacteria known to be good for health.
- Low-fat stuff seems to be a poor choice as it is loaded with sugar and lacks all the goodness of its full-fat counterpart.
If you are not lactose intolerant you should go ahead and include dairy products in your diet for all the goodness they have to offer.