OK first of all, the fact that humans are the only species that drinks another species milk is weird enough but when you actually think about it, we are basically consuming the food of a baby cow. Can you imagine if cows started drinking human milk and taking it away from our babies?
Besides this bizarre thought spiral, drinking milk or consuming dairy is generally thought of by the natural health community as something most of us should either not do or really limit and there are a few reasons why.
Firstly, most of us have an intolerance to the main sugar in dairy (lactose) and this can lead to all sorts of gut issues. Bloating, pain, diarrhoea, excessive gas and the list of fun digestive symptoms goes on. This is because lactose is unable to be broken down and therefore our gut microbes end up fermenting it.
Secondly, dairy has been linked to acne and other skin conditions. Growth hormones present in milk (intended for helping calves grow) have an effect on our own hormones which then increases sebum production. Much like human hormones, when the balance has been shifted, our body gives us signals.
Thirdly, the protein casein found in dairy causes an increase in mast cells and histamine which in turn results in inflammation. For those women out there who are suffering with period pain or heavy bleeds this may be your missing link. Many case studies have shown a reduction in PMS symptoms with the removal of dairy from the diet.
Finally, there is some controversial research I was a little hesitant to put on here that suggests consuming excessive amounts of dairy can actually reduce calcium levels and lead to lower bone density. Which implies that if you are going to consume dairy, don’t rely on it as your only source of calcium and eat it in moderation.
If you have any of the above concerns or chronic sinus issues or an autoimmune condition, going dairy free for a period of time may help identify one of your triggers and provide you with some answers.
Cutting out foods shouldn’t be done hastily to avoid any nutrient deficiencies so if you are interested in giving dairy free a go and don’t know where to start, best to speak to a practitioner who can guide you through.