Many people question if there are health benefits to going dairy free. In my last article, I attempted to give you some clarity on the subject of dairy and whether or not it actually is all we thought it was. Now there is never a one-size-fits-all to achieving great health, but I just want you to think of the last time you consumed dairy, whether it was Greek yogurt, Ice Cream, a glass of milk or whatever. Did you experience or have you been experiencing any Congestion, Fatigue, Bloating, Stomach Pain, Sluggishness, or Acne?
If you feel or experience any of the above, dairy may be the reason! Cutting out dairy can seem daunting at first, but there are many dairy substitutes available to make the process easier. Many people who ditch dairy end up noticing the impacts quickly, while for some it may take more time, depending on how much dairy products were in the diet and how the body was affected by regular dairy consumption. Listed below are the Top 10 benefits I have seen over the years in people who have decided to “Quit Dairy”.
Ten Health Benefits of Going ” DAIRY FREE “
Eliminating dairy may aid in weight loss as many dairy products we know and love contain high amounts of sugar and saturated fat.
Reduce exposure to antibiotics and hormones.
Conventional dairy products may contain residual amounts of antibiotics, used to keep cows free from infection, and hormones, used to ensure cows are able to produce enough milk. Unfortunately, this can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can make their way into our food system.
Acne can have many causes, but some people find their acne clears up without dairy. As mentioned above, hormones found in milk can possibly contribute to an increased prevalence of acne, especially in women who experience hormone fluctuations throughout their cycle.
Improve digestion issues.
Digestion or GI issues related to dairy consumption is often due to lactose intolerance, the inability to digest lactose (cow’s milk sugar) because of the lack of the enzyme lactase in the intestinal tract. In fact, approximately 70% of the global population are deficient in lactase! When someone who is lactose intolerant eats lactose, their intestines aren’t able to properly digest and assimilate it, resulting in gas and bloating. Upon removing dairy products from the diet, this is often one of the first noticeable effects.
Having a sensitivity or allergy to milk can contribute to inflammation in the gut and in the body. An allergy to milk occurs when the body attacks casein, the protein found in dairy products, igniting an immune system response, aka inflammation.
Crowd out certain foods.
Contrary to popular belief, you can get your daily requirement for calcium without consuming dairy. By removing dairy products from your diet, you’ll make more room for foods that have not only calcium but other important vitamins and minerals you may be missing.
Improve bone health.
There’s no question that calcium is required for the health of our bones, but it’s not necessary to get calcium from dairy sources. The amount of calcium we need, however, is up for debate.
It may reduce your risk for some cancers.
Certain foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, have been known to fight cancer cells. Other foods, like sugar, have been known to feed cancer cells. Today, there have been many studies done on the relationship between dairy consumption and cancer. As of now, the results are mixed. However, there are certain types of cancers that researchers believe dairy can contribute to. For example, most large studies link high dairy consumption with increased risk of prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer among men in the United States.
Dairy products naturally contain hormones, such as estrogen, but there’s likely small amounts of hormones found in dairy products that are able to be absorbed by our bodies. There are some studies that link the presence of the growth hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) in dairy products to an increased risk of cancer, but “correlation is not causation,” meaning that consuming dairy products that have IGF-1 will not cause cancer.
However, if you’re eating many servings of dairy a day, especially dairy products that contain high amounts of sugar, your blood sugar can be affected. Insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar, is vulnerable to fluctuations that can eventually lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Improve symptoms of brain fog.
The research is inconclusive on an association between dairy intake and psychological effects, such as brain fog, anxiety, and depression, but if you’re sensitive to dairy, your body is creating an inflammatory response that can manifest in a variety of ways, both physically and emotionally. And because we’re all bio-individuals, it’s important to remember that while you may experience certain physical or emotional symptoms after eating a certain food, it may not necessarily happen for others.