There is a growing number of people who refuse to consume dairy for various reasons. Some avoid meat and animal by-products in their diet as part of the vegan lifestyle. Others are lactose intolerant which means they cannot digest milk. Whatever your reason is for avoiding dairy, it might be time to reconsider the importance of adding these foods into your diet.
Milk is one of the most popular items in grocery stores across America and many alternatives to this nutritious drink have appeared on store shelves, including rice milk, soy milk, and almond milk. Although these products are perceived as a healthier option, they contain less protein and calcium than cow’s milk. In addition, soy can also affect hormones in some people.
Also called “the cheese group,” dairy products such as cheddar cheese and cottage cheese can play an important role in your diet if you choose to eat them. When choosing between low-fat and full-fat versions of dairy products, always go for the lower fat option because it contains fewer calories and maintains all the nutritional value found in its original state.
Here are the benefits of dairy products to your health.
Stronger Bones and Teeth
Calcium plays an important role in the strength of your bones and teeth. Although milk is not the only source of calcium, eating cheese can help you absorb the mineral even better than drinking milk.
Regularly eating cheese helps your body maintain stronger, healthier bones and prevents osteoporosis later on in life. As long as you choose low-fat dairy items like mozzarella or Swiss cheese, these products can provide nutritional benefits that help improve your overall well-being.
Heart Disease Prevention
In addition to strengthening your bones and reducing your risk of osteoporosis, calcium plays a role in lowering the risk of heart disease. According to expert opinions, consuming dairy products can help reduce blood pressure which is good for your cardiovascular health because it prevents against heart attacks and strokes. Cheese contains fewer calories than other products such as ice cream or butter so you can enjoy the flavor without worrying about weight gain.
Support Normal Brain Development
Calcium and vitamin D are both beneficial for brain health and function. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that the human body can synthesize naturally, and it has many benefits for your physical health. Calcium-rich foods like cheese help your body absorb this important ingredient which is helpful in preventing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most surprising benefits of eating dairy products such as cheese or drinking milk is its ability to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer significantly. Researchers attribute this to the calcium found in dairy products because calcium binds bile acids which protect against colon cancer. Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which provides an added benefit when trying to prevent cancer.
Finding the Balance
Dairy is good for health, but consumption of it should be in moderation. People should consume cheese, milk, and other dairy products in moderation to avoid gaining excess weight.
Cheese contains saturated fat which is more than the unsaturated fat found in milk. This type of fat is known for causing weight gain so consuming cheese on a daily basis can lead you to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle.
There are other ways to get the benefits of dairy. There are manufacturers who extract the protein of milk to add to food such as ice cream and yogurt.
There are also other, non-dairy food items that offer the nutritional benefits that come from milk or cheese. Protein, for example, has several plant-based sources such as peas, beans, and nuts.
On the other hand, you can get calcium from vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and spinach. Although it doesn’t have as much calcium as cheese or yogurt, you can still reap the nutritional benefits that come from dairy products without consuming them every day.
In addition, there are supplements that would give the right dose of vitamins and minerals that you need, including those that are often found in dairy. It’s best to consult your doctor or a nutritionist to seek advice before you start taking supplements and on what is the best diet plan for you.
It is clear that dairy products can play a significant role in your diet if you are not lactose intolerant or vegan. Whether you choose to eat yogurt, drink milk, or eat cheese, adding these foods into your daily routine will have many benefits for your health and well-being