Nutrition: Dairy Wars

A discussion of the great milk controversy.

Nili Abrahams, CHHC, M.B.A.,

Milk (illustrative)
Milk (illustrative)
Israel news photo: (file)

Are dairy products good for you or bad for you? The information out there is just plain confusing.

Research itself is inconclusive as milk can be either beneficial or highly problematic. We now need to understand our options and be more educated about milk and milk products.

Milk is a source of protein, vitamin D and calcium. Cultured milk products like yogurt and kefir have probiotic properties that balance out the bacteria in the digestive systems. This helps normalize our immune systems and may improve inflammatory conditions with an autoimmune component, such as asthma, eczema and Crohn's disease.

On the other hand, milk is one of the most commonly reported food allergies and for many is milk can cause bloating, stomach cramping and even reflux. Clinically, milk may also be linked to increased eczema, worsening sinus problems, migraine headaches and joint pain. It is considered a mucus-producing food and is thought to aggravate congestion.

Dr. Frank Oski from Johns Hopkins has even written a book that shares his experiences of decreased rates of strep throat infection once children removed milk from their diets.

If you wish to keep dairy in your diet try to find grass-fed hormone free sources as cows fed exclusively grass will themselves be healthier and produce healthier milk.

Another growing trend is drinking raw milk, which has not been pasteurized, a process that is believed to destroy the good bacteria damaging the natural structures of the proteins in the milk, making them harder to digest. But be sure the facility is clean and the cows are as healthy as possible.

My recommendation is to listen to what your body is telling you about milk and always respect the answer that is given.

And remember you can choose your best life one step at a time.

Nili Abrahams, Certified Holistic Health Coach at ChooseLifeNutrition, integrating Health and Wellness with Torah’s Wisdom.