Should we be drinking cow’s milk
Like all mammals, we drink breast milk when we’re born, It’s advised that human babies drink breast milk for up to six months to provide them with essential nutrients and help build their immune system. During these months our body produces an enzyme called lactase. Lactase helps to break down lactose, a sugar abundantly found in milk.
As we grow older, we start to produce less and less lactase. Why? Because we no longer need breast milk to survive because we’re now strong enough to get our nutrients from other foods, such as vegetables, fruit and meat. This is why you may start having issues digesting milk even later in life. Your body can gradually lose the ability to break down lactose properly. You can develop lactose intolerance or lactose maldigestion at any stage in your life you don’t have to be born with it.
Cows (and other mammals) are much like us. When calves are born, they suckle for seven to ten months. After this nursing period they eat grass to sustain them, and stop drinking milk altogether. Naturally, we should be doing the same. But we seem convinced that, after weaning, we need to continue drinking the milk of another animal to stay healthy. It seems a bit odd to me, and to many leading nutritionists it is becoming a clear danger area for health.
But Isn’t cows’ milk full of nutrients? Yes. It contains fat, sugar, protein and many important vitamins and minerals. However, most of the milk we drink is pasteurized, which means it’s heat-treated to kill possibly harmful bacteria. This process also kills a lot of the valuable vitamins, enzymes and other beneficial bacteria present in raw milk. We then often take out most of the fat to make skimmed milk, which removes many fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D.
More to the point, though, milk contains lots of things that probably shouldn’t be in our body.
Don’t we need the calcium in milk for strong bones? This is a bit of a myth. Strong bones require loads of nutrients, of which calcium is just one. One of the most important is magnesium, which is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of calcium. You can consume all the calcium you want if there’s no magnesium, it won’t be absorbed properly. Milk is not the greatest source of magnesium. Vegetables especially dark, leafy greens, as well as fruit, nuts and seeds are a better and easier-toabsorb way of getting both calcium and magnesium into the body. So if you want strong bones, get some greens down you!
In several Asian countries, milk is not part of the staple diet. These countries often have much lower rates of osteoporosis than countries where milk is consumed.
Other health problems related to dairy consumption If dairy gives you digestive issues, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are lactose-intolerant. Lactose is the sugar found in milk, but it also contains two proteins called casein and whey. Many people have an adverse reaction to these substances. For them, drinking lactose-free milk
is not always the solution. Cutting out dairy and dairyrelated products is.
Recent research also tells us that the following health problems are possibly related to dairy consumption: asthma, acne, eczema, arthritis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, diabetes and acid reflux.
Be warned: milk, lactose, casein and whey are added to many non-dairy items such as some crisps, processed meat,
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