Dairy products have become one of the most delicious parts of our diet over the years. But the problems related to them has led scientists to study a lot about the necessity of dairy products in our diet and its pros and cons.
If you are a woman with hormonal irregularities, if you have dairy consumption intolerance, you may have heard about the bad impacts of dairy in our health. Or you may have one of the many problems related to dairy products consumption but you don't know the root cause yet.
The objective of this article is to describe why we need to consume dairy products why we should not intake them and how we can substitute them with vegetarian foods, and also the effects of dairy food consumption on our hormone balance.
Problems related to dairy consumption
Lactose-intolerance symptoms begin 30 minutes after eating or drinking foods containing lactose. Common signs and symptoms include nausea, sinus congestion, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, and loose bowels.
People who have lactose-intolerance still can consume lactose-free products. Butter and cream have zero lactose, most of the lactose in yogurt also converts to lactic acid. Even if you are lactose-intolerance you should be able to consume cheese without any problem. In the process of making cheeses (like cottage cheese), lactose converts to lactic acid.
Hormone irregularities-Estrogen dominance
Hormone balance is an important factor to have a healthy life and fit body. In men and women in their pre-menopause ages, a condition can occur called estrogen dominance, which results in toxic fat gain, water retention, bloating, and a host of other health and wellness issues. This condition leads to gaining fat around the hip.
Whereas estrogen dominance causes premenopausal women to have a pear-shaped body, both men and menopausal women tend to have the apple-shaped body type with more fat accumulation in the abdominal area.
People with estrogen dominance likely have the following symptoms:
- too much body fat around the hips,
- difficulty losing weight,
- cervical dysplasia,
- varicose veins,
- uterine fibroids,
- or ovarian cysts.
For men the red flags are:
- Low libido,
- Poor motivation,
- Loss of muscle mass,
- And increased belly fat,
- In rare cases, breast development.
Estrogen dominance is very similar to symptoms of low testosterone and progesterone since an excessive amount of a hormone results in a lower amount of other hormones.
Estrogen dominance happens in result of excess estrogen in comparison with its opponent hormones (progesterone and testosterone).
Dairy products are a primary risk factor for fibroids. Increased estrogen in cow's milk is the result of feeding these cows by growth hormones to stimulate milk production. Women who consume dairy products can experience elevated estrogen level, which leads to the developments of fibroids.
Women with menstrual problems should avoid the consumption of dairy foods because dairy by nature contains estrogen. In most cases, high estrogen levels in women can cause problems ranging from irregular period to infertility. dairy consumption makes their problems worse.
There are two ways to accumulate estrogen in the body. We acquire it from our diet or environment. One of the disturbing causes is Xenoestrogens in dairy foods.
These compounds mimic estrogen. Hormones added to foods especially in dairy and beef bring this harmful compound to our body. Xenoestrogens also can be found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and even cosmetics.
Dairy products are highly inflammatory and increase mucus production in the body which may worsen many chronic diseases including acne, arthritis, ear infections in children, eczema, joint pain, and constipation.
How Dairy products benefit us
Indigenous bacteria are believed to enhance the immunity system by making a barrier against colonization by pathogenic bacteria in the gut. This barrier can be disrupted by disease and by using antibiotics.
Probiotics organisms are usually in fermented foods such as dairy products and some fermented kinds of milk. probiotics are thought to be able to influence immune function. However, the nature of this regulation is not very well understood.
In adults, some studies show a reduction in the risk of developing traveler's diarrhea. In children, probiotics have been shown to reduce the incidence and duration of diarrhea, although these effects depend on the nature of the disease.
There is also evidence showing the effect of probiotics on ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergy.
Calcium and Osteoporosis
Calcium is a mineral with special concern to women. Calcium has the duty of regulating heartbeat, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve conduction. Evidence also suggests this mineral has a major role in preventing high blood pressure.
One of the most important jobs of calcium is nourishing the bones, and Odontoblasts need calcium to build and maintain your teeth. If your teeth have a good condition, it’s a good sign of your overall health, because it's much more likely that your body is absorbing enough levels of calcium.
Osteoporosis can happen as a result of aging or lifestyle or diet. Calcium deficiency is a major contributor to osteoporosis.
When the amount of calcium in the blood is too low, the body needs to draw the mineral from the supply in the bones. This results in osteoporosis.
People who cannot meet the daily calcium intake must use calcium-fortified foods and supplements.
The trouble with calcium is that it can build up in the wrong places. It can cause anything of tooth decay to heart disease. The flow of calcium must be controlled to be fully utilized. Your body needs fat-soluble vitamins(A, D, E, and k) to do that.
Vitamin D in dairy foods is not sufficient, chronic deficiency of vitamin D causes calcium deficiency. Which in turn may be linked to bone density issues. Daily supplementation of vitamin d3 is highly recommended, especially in winters.
Take caution when taking calcium supplements because large amounts of calcium increase the risk of kidney stone formation, constipation, and poor kidney function as well as interfere with the absorption of other minerals.
Plant-based source of Calcium
Unlike most people believe dairy products are not the only source of calcium. Many studies show that bone health improves with a rich diet of plant-based foods, seeds, and dark leafy greens.
Dairy foods are rather acidic and can leach calcium from your bones. Instead of building them up, it may break them down. On the other side, plant sources are rich in calcium and magnesium and directly nourish the bones giving them the needed minerals and prevent them from breaking down.
Nature's best calcium sources are dark leafy greens such as kale and turnip greens. About 30 percent of the calcium in dairy products can be absorbed whereas about 60 percent of calcium from dark leafy greens is absorbed. Except spinach and some other greens which contain oxalates that prevent calcium absorption.
Plant-based source of calcium include:
- Beet greens
- Bok choy
- Carob, beans
- Legumes(peas and lentils)
- Sesame seed
- Hemp seed
- fortified unsweetened almonds milk, soy milk, oat milk, hemp milk, and rice milk.
About 1 cup of boiled collard greens contains 358 milligrams of highly absorbable calcium, and 10 medium dried figs contain 269 milligrams of calcium.
Some of best dairy-free products are nondairy yogurts(almonds, coconut, or soy), fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso, fermented nut or seed cheeses, fermented vegetables(saurekraut), fermented grains and some types of tea.
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