These days, we’re not scared to cut out entire food groups for the sake of weight loss, which is often masked as “health”. From red meat to fats, gluten, grains and of course, dairy, many food types are banished because of their effects on some poor, unsuspecting rats in one random study.
Many people also claim that its “unnatural” to consume dairy as we humans are the only species that drink milk in adulthood from another animal.
Therefore, it doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective that dairy is “needed” for optimal health.
That being said, we humans have been eating dairy for thousands of years, with several studies showing how we’ve evolved to digest dairy.
Many health organisations also hail dairy as essential food for bone health, so what’s the truth? Should we be avoiding dairy or ordering another grande latte?
Milk contains all the proteins, fatty acids and micronutrients needed to nurture a growing calf, and given that human muscles, cells and organs are similar to a calf’s, it makes sense that dairy products are also a good source of nutrients for humans.
One glass of milk contains:
Calcium: 276mg (28% of the RDA)
Vitamin D: 24% of the RDA
Riboflavin (B2): 26% of the RDA
Vitamin B12: 18% of the RDA
Potassium: 10% of the RDA
Phosphorus: 22% of the RDA
It also contains decent amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamins B1 and B6, Selenium, Zinc and Magnesium.
This makes milk pretty nutritious, with a little bit of everything we need.
Of course, not all dairy products are created equal, and the nutrient composition varies depending on what the cows ate and how they were raised, especially when it comes to the fatty components.
Cows that are pasture raised and grass fed have more Omega-3 fatty acids, and are much higher in fat soluble vitamins, especially Vitamin K2, a nutrient that is incredibly important for regulating calcium metabolism, heart health and bone density.
Dairy is also the best food source of calcium, the body’s main mineral for healthy bones and teeth. In fact, many mainstream health organisations recommend that people consume 2-3 servings of dairy per day, to get enough calcium for the bones.
But many experts don’t think this is a good idea because countries where dairy consumption is low often have low rates of osteoporosis, while countries that consume lots of dairy (like the U.S.) have higher rates of osteoporosis.
The Best Types of Dairy
Full-cream dairy from grass fed, pasture raised cows, are the best products as these have more nutrients and vitamins.
Fermented dairy products like yoghurt and kefir may be even better because they contain probiotic bacteria.
If you tolerate dairy products and enjoy them, then, by all means, eat dairy. There certainly is no compelling evidence that people should avoid it and quite a bit of evidence of benefits.
Numerous studies show that dairy products have clear benefits for bone health. They improve bone density in the young and lower the risk of fractures in the elderly.
Full fat dairy has also been associated with a lower risk of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and improved metabolic health.
If you tolerate dairy products and enjoy them, then just keep doing you (and moo).
To make sure you get enough calcium, take Releaf Calcium Complex (with Vitamin D3), a product of natural origin that may assist with the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
Calcium intake may reduce the risk of osteoporosis when combined with sufficient vitamin D, a healthy diet and regular exercise.