I’ll admit, I grew up on whole milk and while I moved around the United States, slowly I found myself sampling various forms of milk until I was hooked on 2% for the longest. Now living back in Texas, I find myself full circle and enjoying the milky, thick and soul coating sensation of whole milk. But milk is only one of my secrets, I also absolutely love cheese. From Swiss cheese, to Sharp Cheddar, to Gouda, to cave aged pungent Gruyère, cheese is a weakness for me.
But throughout the years, this tasty treat has taken a toll on my body, directly adding to the current cholesterol count I have, causing me to rethink my dietary choices. Now facing high cholesterol, diagnosed in my early 30’s, I spent some time researching the topic. While not all dairy is considered equal in the health department, there are some pro’s and con’s to eliminating this food source from your palate.
The Pro’s of Dairy
All in One – One of the best reasons to consume dairy, milk in particular is because it contains just about every basic nutrient that the body needs. With contents including fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, this single helping of food group packs a powerful punch.
Heart Disease – In the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Peter Eldwood pointed out that men who drank milk on a regular basis experienced reduced risk of ischaemic stroke and heart disease.
Digestive Health – Yogurt, specifically ones with live cultures have been known to help boost one’s digestive tract with the proper level of bacteria to fight off unwanted digestive problems, improving one’s ability to deal with chronic disease such as IBS, irregular bowel movements and many more.
The Con’s of Dairy
Iron Absorption – In a recent study done by Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock discovered that children consuming high levels of dairy were finding it harder to absorb the natural amounts of iron needed in the body, causing subtle blood loss in the digestive tract.
Potential Cancer Risk – As a baby, we need milk to boost our growth, particularly the IGF-1, or insulin growth factor. While this ingredient is key to our young bodies, studies have indicated that too much of this growth factor can lead to the speedy up process of cancerous cells.
Lactose Intolerance – While the number one reason most humans forego the consumption of dairy, people who suffer from varying degrees of lactose intolerance face an ongoing struggle of discomfort when they consume dairy products, making this a top reason to change your eating habits.
Throughout history, milk has been a highly desired and at times scarce food supply. There is no doubt that many benefits come with this milky concoction, but with so many alternatives out on the market today, one can only wonder if the risk vs benefit of consuming this once hard to find food group is beginning to loose it’s long term affect on the human body. No one can tell you if dairy is good or bad for you, and each person has to find the right balance of nutrients, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, however, if you are thinking about eliminating dairy from your diet, the we encourage you to do a little research on your own.
While these pro’s and con’s are only a small sample of the in-depth research being done on the impact of dairy on the human body, it does give you enough information to pique your own interest on the topic. Whether you are suffering from digestive problems, lack the proper amount of iron in your diet, or simply love dairy as a food group, finding the proper balance of health benefit and enjoyment is key to your long term health.