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Want to keep the intestines in order? Don't binge on milk and cheese

Experts say that portion control may help keep the gastrointestinal tract in place.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 02.23 PM IST
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Milk and cheese
If you cannot have or don’t want to have dairy products in your diet, make sure you get the nutrients from other sources. If you love your milk moustache, get only quality stuff and have it in the right quantity.

Giving up dairy is increasingly becoming common for reasons ranging from allergy to ethics. Many are left staring at a big question — am I foregoing something healthy if I give up dairy products?

There is a wide range of opinions about milk and other dairy products. Though they are known to be good for human health, “we need to ensure (the quality) of the fodder given to the animals. They should be fed greens and given good nutrition to get nourishing milk,” said Ushakiran Sisodia, dietician, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai. On the other hand, Anita Lamba, dietician at Intelligent Ageing, a functional medicine clinic in New Delhi, said: “Dairy is not necessary.”

There are other substitutes for milk products, such as soyabean milk, coconut milk, almond milk, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. These can be included in the daily diet to be healthy, according to her. Dr Philip Abraham, consultant gastroenterologist, PD Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, too said: “Milk and dairy products are not essential for adults, they do not have any unique ingredients.” However, he added that they are a good source of calcium and vitamins A and D.

Who Should Not Have It?
Those having gastrointestinal infection should not be given milk. Even those who have heart problems, high cholesterol as well as abdominal distension should avoid milk and dairy products. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients too should avoid milk and dairy products. Further complicating the matter is our inability to digest the milk sugar lactose as humans are deficient in the enzyme lactase, explained Sisodia.

Milk is one of the most common offenders for those with digestive, allergic, hormonal and autoimmune conditions. The proteins in cow’s milk (casein, whey and lacto-albumins) are particularly offensive, which is why dairy is one of the most common food allergens seen in medical practice, she said. Lamba said people who are lactose intolerant will have digestive issues like vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea, if they consume milk products.

Changed Times, New Problems
Dairy for humans is not bad per se, but in today’s scenario, dairy products have become a health hazard given the practices of artificial insemination and injecting cows with hormones.

Cow’s milk nowadays is brimming with estrogens and growth hormones that are problematic for humans, Sisodia said. “This contributes to a variety of health issues not only for the cow (mastitis, infertility, shortened lifespan) but also for humans who consume the milk,” she said. It is one of the reasons why girls are now entering puberty at an early age. Studies have reported an overall decline in the average age of menarche from 14-15 to an average of 12 today. The consumption of dairy products and the hormones they contain is likely one factor involved in this recent trend, according to Sisodia.
Stomach ache

Various studies say that cow milk contains steroid hormones such as estradiol and testosterone, and peptide hormones such as IGF-1. In fact, drinking milk has been shown to boost serum levels of certain hormones, particularly IGF-1, in humans.

Sisodia said IGF-1 is a potent hormone that acts on the pituitary gland to produce powerful metabolic and endocrine effects, including cell growth and replication. Elevated IGF-1 is associated with breast and other cancers.

In some people, dairy consumption can also stimulate the release of IGF-1 and insulin, increasing the chances of acne and prostate cancer, Lamba said.

Know What Is Healthy
“If the milk is pure, then it works wonders in recovering from illnesses such as fever, fractures and tuberculosis. Pregnant and lactating women can benefit too. Curd, especially, is a good source of probiotics and is good for all gastrointestinal diseases,” said Sisodia. As a rule of thumb, children and adults, including the elderly, can have one cup of milk every day.

Dairy products are beneficial for children, said Lamba. It is good for their bones and teeth.

She added: “Dairy products are nutrient rich; they are a good source of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, phosphorus and potassium. Reduced risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease are some of the benefits a person will have if he/she consumes low-fat dairy products and that too in moderation.”

Say Yes To Water, No To Coffee: How To Keep Your Stomach Healthy This Summer

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24 Mar, 2018
Summer brings along various digestive issues. Not only do the high temperatures make us sweat more, they also reduce our immunity, so make sure you eat properly this season. Kirti Chadha, Head of Global Reference laboratories, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. says, "Summer brings a majority of digestion related illnesses. Considering the rise in temperature every year, it is very important to manage our food habits to avoid stomach illnesses." Here are a few tips by Chadha to keep your stomach healthy this summer:

Some kinds of cheese also contain good levels of protein. It also can be used to soothe the stomach during acidity attacks. A nightcap of milk encourages sound sleep, said Abraham.

Mind The Quantity
An excess of anything is bad and this is true for milk and milk products as well, said Lamba. Intake of excessive dairy products increases the chances of breast and prostate cancer. It also causes many digestive problems and aggravates irritable bowel syndrome. Since milk products are full of saturated fats, it increases the chances of heart issues. It also aggravates the sinus.

Those who have milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance can overcome their problem by restricting the amount of milk consumed per serving. They do not have an issue with curd or buttermilk and other dairy products. “Of course, sterility (pasteurisation or boiling) is important, and using low-fat-content milk is advisable for adults,” added Abraham.
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