Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Dairy is a food group that we love and love to hate. In recent years, there’s a stigma that has been circulating around dairy, and whether it’s good for you. Growing up, we were told to drink milk to make our bones strong, but, recently, dairy products have been attacked for allegedly causing health issues.
Dairy Dangers (supposedly)
Dairy contributes to heart disease -- while dairy does contribute a significant amount of saturated fat to the diet (1 glass of whole milk contains 4.6 g), studies show there is no correlation between dairy consumption and heart disease. The only exception is for individuals who consume very high amounts of full fat dairy. In this case you can substitute some lower fat options throughout your day to decrease total saturated fat intake.
Dairy is associated with cancer -- milk contains hormones, and extra hormones, like estrogen, in the body can lead to increased rates of cancer. However, during the digestive process, these hormones are broken down by your liver, and never make it to your bloodstream.
Dairy products have a lot of nutritional benefits, including -
Good source of protein, calcium, Vitamin D (when fortified) and potassium, which are important to muscle building and bone health
Fermented dairy products like Kefir and yogurt contain probiotics which maintain gut health
So don’t ditch dairy! . . . Unless you’re lactose intolerant, which about 65% of the world’s population is. If you experience GI distress after a bowl of ice cream or glass of milk, you may be lactose intolerant. Fortunately, there are so many alternative dairy sources now (soy, almond, cashew, oat, hemp, flax, coconut, and more!).
Try this easy recipe for a Pina Colada Yogurt Parfait to incorporate some dairy into your day.
1/3 reduced-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
1. To toast coconut: Place coconut in a small dry skillet and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes or spread in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350°F until light golden and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Top yogurt with pineapple, coconut, and chia seeds.