The benefits and harms of milk: which is greater?

Milk brings both benefits and harm. It is rich in calcium and amino acids. At the same time, dairy products can cause allergic reactions and other health problems.

Milk is a source of vitamins, and it also contains easily digestible proteins, carbohydrates and fats. However, despite this, scientists from all over the world are still arguing about its benefits. Why? Could this product be harmful?

Any product can harm the body because of its individual characteristics, and milk is no exception, regardless of its type (e.g., cow’s, goat’s). The American social activist and pediatrician Benjamin Spock, throughout his medical career, believed that cows’ milk should not be introduced into the diet of children under one year of age (it can cause eating disorders, including colic). In his opinion, the only milk that is good for a baby can be mother’s milk. After all, a woman’s milk contains everything that a newborn baby needs to develop fully. Spock expounded his views in his book “Baby and Child Care”, which for over 50 years was a reference book for many parents.

At the same time, Swiss scientists say that consumption of milk and dairy products is recommended for many diseases. For example, caries. In particular, cow’s milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which has a pH of 6.0. Note that a safe pH for dental enamel is pH 5.5 or higher. Calcium contained in milk prevents deterioration of teeth and protects the oral cavity from plaque.

Also Swiss researchers believe that dairy products are indispensable for an unbalanced diet. Because it is a quality supplier of B vitamins and phosphorus, as well as dairy bacteria that can synthesize folic acid and riboflavin (such as sheep’s milk).

However, with cardiovascular disease, the consumption of dairy products should be limited. The fact is that the consumption of “dairy products” increases cholesterol levels, which increases the strain on the heart and blood vessels. In this regard, scientists recommend not giving it up, but giving preference to nonfat versions.

The same applies to inflammatory rheumatic diseases. With such a diagnosis, you should forget about butter, cream and cheese, which contain arachidonic acid. This compound promotes the development of inflammatory processes. For this reason, Swiss doctors recommend preferring non-fat dairy products.

Milk does contain useful substances, which is pointless to deny. For example, potassium, which strengthens the walls of blood vessels, and vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system. But if you are hypersensitive to milk, you can get these nutrients from other sources.

In contrast, Harvard scientists say that any milk, including cow’s milk, has a negative effect on health. Because of lactose intolerance, some people may experience diarrhea, bloating, or increased gas. U.S. researchers believe that milk is not the only source of calcium that many people think. It is also found in green vegetables (garlic, Brussels and white cabbage, celery, rutabaga, broccoli, turnip leaves) and some legumes (white beans, soybeans, tofu, natto).

Often milk provokes allergies (rashes, skin irritations, itching, vomiting, flatulence). This is usually a reaction of the immune system to milk proteins. In order to be sure that this product is the cause of the unpleasant symptoms, exclude it from your diet for a while.

To drink or not to drink?

If there are no contraindications to eating “dairy,” it can balance your diet. If there are, it is better to get advice from your doctor. You may have to exclude some dairy products or replace them with other, safer products, which the doctor will approve. Draw up your menu preferably with the participation of a nutritionist, so that the products you consume are really beneficial.

How often and how should you drink milk?

Those who are prone to obesity should forget about the daily consumption of milk. This also applies to allergy sufferers and those with lactose intolerance (a pathological condition provoked by a decrease in the level of lactase enzyme in the human body, thanks to which lactose contained in dairy products is digested), if they are allowed to include this product in their menu. Remember that the excessive consumption of dairy products is not absorbed even by a healthy body, and with the above health problems all the more so.

I should note that many dietitians advise to drink warm milk before going to bed, especially with the addition of honey, if there are no contraindications. It’s not for nothing that the well-known book character Mary Poppins advised this drink before going to bed for both children and adults. And indeed, the milk contains the amino acids phenylalanine and tryptophan, which calm the nervous system and ensure a sound sleep.

And here are some other valuable recommendations:

Do not drink milk as a drink, that is, to quench your thirst, because it is said to be food for a reason;

try to drink it after a meal or on an empty stomach, otherwise it will complicate digestion;

drink only warm milk, otherwise drinking cold milk will lead to problems with the digestive tract;

if dairy products are contraindicated, you can find alternatives: soy, oatmeal, rice, coconut or almond milk, tofu.