Got Milk? Dairy Is Good for Your Health
Oct. 8, 2014|652 views
Milk and dairy have been getting a bad rap in recent years. A lot of milk’s public relations problems stem from the perception that milk is a high-fat treat that’s not very good for you. And then there’s the issue of lactose intolerance. Many people lack a mutation that would allow them to break down milk sugar. When these folks—who are in the majority, globally—drink too much milk they suffer problems ranging from the embarrassing (bloating, flatulence) to the downright alarming (cramps, diarrhea, etc.).
But according to a growing body of evidence, dairy deserves another look. That’s because research shows that consuming dairy products just might do a body good. For instance, recently published research out of Canada shows that dairy is not only a good source of calcium and other minerals (for strong bones), but it also has favorable effects on metabolism.
A nutrient derived from dairy products, such as milk, cheeses, yogurt, and butter, has been linked to lower blood pressure in men and women, and lower body weight in men. Dairy intake was also linked to lower blood sugar levels. At the very least, say researchers, the study showed that higher intakes of dairy do not cause detrimental health effects, as once believed. On the contrary, 2-4 servings of full-fat dairy each day may improve metabolic health.
Trans-palmitoleic acid is a fatty acid in dairy that has been credited with the blood-pressure-lowering effects of milk and dairy products. In Canada, where the research was conducted, health guidelines promoted by the government recommend 2-4 servings of dairy per day for optimal health. Lactose-intolerant people should know that dairy foods like hard cheeses and yogurt contain very little lactose, and thus should be well tolerated.
Last year, U.S. researchers reported that college students who do not consume at least three servings of dairy per day could be at increased risk for the metabolic syndrome. The disorder greatly increases a person’s chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Marine S. Da Silva, Pierre Julien, Patrick Couture, Simone Lemieux, Marie-Claude Vohl, Iwona Rudkowska. Associations between dairy intake and metabolic risk parameters in a healthy French-Canadian population. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0154
Michelle A. Mosley. Consumption of Dairy and Metabolic Syndrome Risk in a Convenient Sample of Mexican College Applicants. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2013; 04 (01): 56 DOI: 10.4236/fns.2013.41009