Next week, we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and many of us are hoping to eat the traditional dairy foods of cheese cake, blintzes and ice cream. So are dairy products good for you or bad for you? The information out there is just plain confusing.
The research itself is inconclusive. Milk can be either a beneficial or highly problematic food. We 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 items like yogurt and kefir have probiotic properties that balance out the bacteria in the digestive systems. This can help 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 people milk can cause bloating, stomach cramping and even reflux. Clinically, milk may also be linked to increased psoriasis, worsening sinus problems, migraine headaches and joint pain. It is considered a mucus-producing food and is possibly thought to aggravate congestion.
Dr. Frank Oski, the noted former head of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published his findings in a book that shared his experiences of observing decreased rates of strep throat infection once children have removed milk from their diets.
If you wish to consume dairy products, try and find grass-fed, hormone free sources. These cows are healthier, live in more wholesome settings and in turn produce healthier milk. Another growing trend is drinking raw milk which has not been pasteurized. This process is believed to destroy the good bacteria damaging the natural structures of the proteins in the milk, making them harder to digest. However, one must be very sure that the milking facility is clean and the cows are as healthy as possible.
My recommendation is to listen to what your body is telling you about your milk consumption and always respect the answer that is given.
Nili Abrahams, Certified Holistic Health Coach at ChooseLifeNutrition, integrating Health and Wellness with Torah’s Wisdom.
And remember you can choose your best life one step at a time.