Have you ever thought about going dairy free? There are all kinds of reasons why you might like to try…
It’s likely that you’ve known people who are allergic to dairy, and have to leave cow’s milk out of their diets altogether, and you might also know people who are lactose intolerant. But did you realise how prevalent is really is? Lactose intolerance affects approx. 1 in every 10 people in the UK, and more likely to occur as we get older, as ageing aging lessens our ability to produce the essential enzyme, lactase, which breaks down lactose, a milk-sugar. Symptoms are generally gut related; diarrhea, gas and bloating can be triggered. The major milk protein, casein, can also create gut issues but other more diverse symptoms can arise. However, a more serious allergy to both casein and milk can occur through immune system response and, for these people, finding alternatives to dairy products helps to keep their diet varied and nutrient-rich.
If you’re a dairy lover, you’d have to have a pretty good reason to to ditch your favourite cheese and a Saturday night tub of ice-cream for good. So why would anyone who didn’t have a medical reason switch to a dairy alternative?
- Full fat dairy products which are naturally high in saturated fat may contribute to metabolic conditions such as obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Dropping these products can help banish the bulge as part of a healthy, wholefood diet and can contribute to better metabolic health.
- Dairy-free can be used as a focal point for a low-allergenic diet, which can not only reduce the amount of calories to help with weight loss
- Many dairy alternatives are fortified with calcium, so still help to maintain healthy bones and teeth, as well as all of the other biochemical functions of calcium such as neurotransmitter (brain chemical) and muscle function.
- You could choose lactose free milk as an easy switch from dairy. These also include lactose-free cheeses, ice-creams and other tasty treats
- Many companies declare whether their products are dairy free on the labels, so become an avid label-reader. Look for dairy-free milks, yogurts and drinks which are free from additives and ideally sugar free.
- Whilst the jury is out about whether dairy free diets are beneficial to those who have acne, naturopaths and nutritional therapists often consider whether a dairy-free diet might be followed, especially if the person with acne seems to be displaying symptoms of intolerance of inflammation.
- A dairy-free diet might be recommended for people with skin conditions such as eczema, and this might be supervised by a dietitian, nutritionist or nutritional therapist.
- If you’re avoiding cow’s milk, there are all kinds of great organic goat or sheep’s milks available from your local health food store. Find your nearest health store here…
Did you know: You don’t have to rely on dairy for your calcium intakes. Foods such as sardines, salmon, tempeh, tofu, spinach, avocados, nuts and seeds can all supply generous quantities of calcium.