Dairy – Is it Good or Bad for you?
As kids, we were introduced to milk as a dietary staple even before we could say milk! Whether you call yourself a milk lover or hater, a glass of milk was nonnegotiable as a kid. Culturally, dairy is ingrained in our food habits. From yogurt to chhena sweets, dairy is integral to Indian Food culture. Even today, many mothers serve a glass of milk to kids as a dietary staple, smartly passing it on as an express ticket to healthy bones and brain like their favorite superhero.
However, when we talk about adults, dairy has become a topic of hot discussion nowadays. While some people swear by the benefits of dairy, others claim that they are better sworn off it. Add to this debate the Vegan factor that requires you to give up dairy completely because it is neither good for humans or animals. So what’s the truth? Is it safe to consume dairy or is there a health risk?
The MANY benefits of dairy... As we all know, it is the easiest source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein that we need to keep our heart, muscles, and bones healthy. Some studies have also shown that dairy intake may also help reduce the risk of common chronic diseases and improve overall health. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese are good sources of calcium, which helps maintain bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, fermented dairy products may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Milk, in particular, also comes fortified with vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption and bone health. Vitamin D is also helpful in mood and weight regulation. It also gives constant energy and does not shoot up blood glucose levels. Herbs like tulsi, turmeric, black pepper, ashwagandha, or nuts can also be added to milk. Dairy is not just healthy, it tasty too, especially when it comes to other products such as cheese, buttermilk, ice cream, kulfi, and milkshake. In fact, chocolate milk made its name as a great post-workout drink for rebuilding muscle fibers and replenishing fuel stores.
When dairy does more harm than good! The source of your milk is as important as consuming it. Nowadays, cows and buffaloes are injected with antibiotics and estrogen hormones in order to make them produce more milk than they can naturally produce. Cows are also stressed to produce more milk. All these things lead to the problem of acne, eczema, weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, and other major health issues. Moreover, it’s also true that about 65 percent of adults develop some level of lactose intolerance as they age. We are all born with an enzyme that allows us to digest our mother’s milk during infancy but lots of us lose that enzyme to some degree as we age.
If you are noticing that drinking milk is causing bloating or GI distress, it is advisable to consult your doctor to test you for lactose intolerance. Milk and dairy allergies are serious, so you shouldn’t take them lightly.
Who should avoid milk?
NAFLD patients: but it also depends on the severity of the case.
PCOS girls or women: but when hormones start getting better, you can have A2 milk or goat milk.
The bottom line... When it comes to overall health, A2 milk is the best bet. A2 milk is considered to be the best as it is procured from the desi Indian Cows (Gir, Sahiwal, and Rathi varieties). Among the caseins, beta-casein is the second most abundant protein and has an excellent nutritional balance of amino acids.
What is the difference between A1 and A2 Milk? At the time of digestion, milk containing A1 beta-casein releases BCM-7 in the small intestine, which is not well absorbed by the body. As a result, one may feel bloated or uncomfortable after consuming it. It also has an effect on immune system; type 1 diabetes, heart disease, etc.
On the other hand, milk consumed with A2 beta-casein produces amino acid called proline, which prevents the formation of BCM-7. It results in better digestion and immunity.
Besides A2 milk, goat milk and cheese are also a good option. If milk makes you feel uncomfortable, you can go for homemade curd, which contains probiotics that help with gut health.
When it comes to the question that whether you should have dairy or not, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. While some individuals may find it beneficial, others may struggle with it. You need to first observe and find out whether it works for you or not and plan your diet accordingly. Check if you are lactose intolerant or suffering from any health condition (mentioned above) in which you should avoid dairy.
We also need to understand, dairy is not a superfood that will turn your bones into steel. The rule of moderation applies to dairy products too. This makes dairy neither a hero nor a villain. It depends on your body and health. It can be beneficial or harmful as per your overall health.