I’ve never been a fan of cow milk. My stomach doesn’t process it well, I don’t like the way it makes me feel, and I’m not much for the taste. In my own diet, I choose almond milk or coconut milk the majority of the time and very rarely use milk in recipes.
However, the little people in my family love milk.
Before you decide on what you’ll serve at your table, here are 5 pros and cons about one of America’s favorite beverage.
5 Positive Facts about Milk
- It contains calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and is often fortified with vitamin D.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) touts the benefits to your bones from the calcium in milk (you can find even more in cheese, yogurt, and leafy greens).
- The majority of humans are deficient in potassium and milk is abundant in this vitamin necessary for heart health (other options are leafy greens, beans, and avocados).
- How you feel is often dependent on vitamin D and most cow’s milk is fortified with this crucial vitamin that keeps so many systems in your body running smoothly (the absolute best source is responsible exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes on bare skin each day).
- A good source of protein, milk is good for building strong muscles (eggs, beans, leafy greens, and seafood are other excellent ways to get the protein you need).
5 Not-So-Positive Facts about Milk
- The “does a body good” campaign was recently shaken when a study of more than 100,000 people in Sweden were followed for more than two decades. The results, published in the British Medical Journal, came as a complete shock to the medical community. Those who drank the most milk had the highest risk of heart disease and bone fractures.
- Milk might not be the best choice if you’re looking to control your weight or lose weight. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association from Harvard found that milk consumption was tied to weight gain and digestive distress such as irritable bowel syndrome.
- Casein, a pro-allergy protein in milk, has mutated with genetic modification of cattle. Where it once may have caused mild digestive discomfort to many humans, it is more powerful now. Researchers have discovered that modern day cow milk is pro-inflammatory, which can lead to immune system and metabolic malfunction.
- Researchers with the University of Iowa’s Department of Pediatrics published a study in 2007 that outlined health risks of cow milk to babies and children. They found that children who drank the recommended daily allowance of milk exhibited difficulty absorbing iron. The authors stated that approximately 40% of infants given cow milk experience intestinal blood loss, which decreases iron levels even further. Calcium and casein inhibited the natural absorption of iron, increased urine output, and raised the risk of dehydration.
- Unless you’re drinking organic, non-homogenized milk, you’re likely getting a toxic soup meant to counter the horrible condition of commercially raised cattle. They are rife with disease and mutations from mass-producing. Milk on your grocery shelf contains all manner of hormones and growth factors meant to settle the cows and change their growing pattern. I’m not going to talk about antibiotics meant to combat the pus, bacteria, and cow’s blood. Don’t worry though, the USDA only allows so much of those.
There are other options than cow’s milk. If almond and coconut milk aren’t to your liking, try goat’s milk. Goats aren’t as “popular” so they haven’t been overbred. Their living conditions are still far better than most dairy cows and they don’t require the counter-measures for as many diseases. Sheep’s milk is also beginning to make its’ way into the organic markets around the country.
Yogurt hasn’t been linked to the same issues as cow milk so get your dairy there and with cheese. The manufacturing process and contents are far different with these products than the gallons in the cold section.
Whenever I feel “off,” I remove a particular food (or food group) from my diet to determine the cause. It is usually a food I’ve started eating or a new brand I’ve never tried that doesn’t agree with me. This method may work for you if your system doesn’t seem to be functioning at peak.
If you’re a regular milk drinker and suffer from allergies, sinus issues, or other chronic irritations to your stomach or skin, lay off the moo juice for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.
In my life, I’ve found that the more I listen to my body, the better I feel.