Do you enjoy thick milkshakes, cheesy pizzas, buttery toasts, cool ice cream in summer, etc., as a part of your daily lives? What category does this all fall under? Yes, you guessed it right! Different types of Dairy Foods.
Today's world is obsessed with the diet it consumes, and rightly so! In a much more accurate sense, the impact of the food we consume on our health decides the quality of life we shall live. People now know that all food under a specific food group will not interact with their bodies the way it does for others. Similarly, dairy food may not have the same benefits or repercussions for many different bio- individuals.
In this article, we shall focus on food that comes under dairy, their health benefits, when one should avoid dairy foods, and their link to hypothyroidism.
All products made out of animal-produced milk- primarily Cow's milk, including butter, cheese, ice cream, cream, condensed and dried milk, and yogurt come under dairy foods. Milk products can also be obtained from the milk of other mammals like goats, sheep, buffalo (in some parts of Asia), and reindeer (in Northern Europe).
Different types of dairy foods may have different characteristics. Some milk products like cheese and yogurt that require a separate fermentation process may offer other health benefits. Many other health benefits or issues associated with dairy foods are also based on how people eat and choose to consume dairy foods.
SHOULD YOU AVOID DAIRY?
All studies may not always have a straightforward answer for everyone to avoid a specific food group - but there are a few conditions and aspects that one must consider, on an individual level, in terms of consuming dairy.
The carbohydrate found in milk and milk products is known as lactose. Some people experience difficulty digesting animal milk and such milk products due to difficulty breaking down the lactose present in dairy products. This may happen for people deficient in a lactose-digesting enzyme that helps break down the lactose.
Such a deficiency can lead to symptoms like bloating, flatulence, abdominal pains, and diarrhea - things that can be severe enough to prompt avoidance of all kinds of dairy foods. But all in all, even in lactose tolerant people, there are varying levels of the quantity of dairy they can consume.
Milk fat is composed mainly of triglycerides—three fatty acid chains attached to a single glycerol molecule. It contains 65 percent saturated, 32 percent monounsaturated, and 3 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fat droplets carry most of the cholesterol and vitamin A. Therefore, skim milk, which has more than 99.5 percent of the milk fat removed, is significantly lower in cholesterol than whole milk
A rule of thumb is to have no more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day for the average 2,000-calorie diet, says Dr. Hu, The Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Hence it is advised to consume dairy in moderation between low fat and full-fat combinations.
Dairy and Inflammation:
Many people tend to have a food sensitivity to dairy proteins, and this is where the body becomes explicitly reactive to proteins found in dairy products. This food sensitivity leads to the production of inflammation chemicals by the immune system when you eat dairy. These inflammation chemicals can affect your energy and your mental and physical health.
Ghee is one type of dairy food, even with its high composition of saturated fats, has proved to work wonders in health as a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Apart from being anti-inflammatory, it is also a lactose-free dairy food. It doesn’t cause allergies in those who suffer from dairy or casein intolerance. Ghee works in balancing hormones of the body and can work as a great thyroid hormone balancing food. To add to it, Ghee revs up the body’s metabolism making it an ideal medium for weight loss. Consumption of ghee makes it burn the other fats in the body and thus causes weight loss.
DAIRY FOOD AND HYPOTHYROIDISM
Hypothyroidism is a condition where there isn't enough thyroid hormone in one's bloodstream, which causes their metabolism to slow down. Hypothyroidism can affect people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities and have primary and secondary root causes.
It becomes imperative to treat the thyroid by first understanding its root cause.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease where antibodies created by the immune system tend to attack the thyroid gland. The antigens present in dairy products can cause inflammation and trigger an immune response. So, if you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; it would be best if you don’t consume any dairy products.
In hypothyroidism, something that becomes really important is understanding the products we consume and how we consume them. A diet may not answer everything, but things to avoid in any of the diets being followed must always be kept in mind. Many dairy products are bought for convenience and at convenience stores- being commercially available, such products are also at risk of toxins and hormone contamination, factors that are very important for any person, especially those on thyroid medications.
To treat thyroid-related diseases, by reaching out to a functional doctor, you may be asked to manage your dairy intake so that none of its elements interfere with the medicines prescribed to you. And the hypothyroidism expert will also help identify which foods in the dairy food group may suit you and the ones that won't.
There may not be any 'one diet fits all' for hypothyroidism. An overall healthy diet with dairy food/ or equally beneficial substitutes and other food groups is recommended to maintain a varied and healthy diet. If you need a personalized diet plan, you can reach out to us.
HEALTHY DAIRY ALTERNATIVES?
Healthy dairy alternatives exist, but these are supplements that may or may not fulfill all the mineral and nutrients requirements without anything and everything dairy.
Even in dairy, lactose-intolerant people have an option of lactose-free milk made out of real dairy; this kind of milk contains lactase that helps break down the lactose present in dairy milk.
Apart from dairy, there are few plant-based options if someone wants to cut on dairy completely. The proportion and combinations to justify the other nutrients needed for the body that could otherwise be achieved by dairy consumption - would be based on the individual.
Alternative milk options: Coconut milk, nut milk, almond milk, oats milk, etc. Vegetables for minerals and a calcium-rich diet also provide the required nutrients.
"Dairy isn't necessary for the diet for optimal health, but for many people, it is the easiest way to get the calcium, vitamin D, and protein they need to keep their heart, muscles, and bones healthy and functioning properly," says Vasanti Malik, a nutrition research scientist with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Cutting out dairy products and foods may help sort out digestive issues in general, but putting all dairy consumption under an umbrella bucket of 'foods to avoid' may not be the right way to go. Functional medicine and understanding the bio-individuality of people ultimately decide the diet that should be followed by a person afflicted with hypothyroidism.
It is advised that one consult a medical professional to understand the root cause of hypothyroidism that holistically focuses on the patient's health over and above the conventional way of treatments.