Is Dairy Dangerous?

You know the slogan. Milk does a body good. Well, no, not really.

Dairy has been shown to have a negative affect on endothelial cells. This cell layer is a one cell thick lining of all of our blood vessels. Endothelial cells manufacture a protective molecule of gas called nitric oxide, which protects our blood vessels. It keeps our blood flowing smoothly, it is the strongest dilator of our blood vessels, it inhibits the formation of blockages, and it inhibits inflammation.

Dairy, along with all animal products, damage that layer of endothelial cells in our blood vessels. Without that functioning layer, nitric oxide cannot be produced. Without enough nitric oxide, the plaque blockages build up eventually creating heart disease and strokes.

Dairy is loaded with hormones. Even if you buy organic milk without recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), it will still have high hormone levels. Why? Because dairy cows are always kept pregnant so they have lots of circulating hormones that pass to the milk. This is not good news considering that hormones have been linked with an increased risk of breast, prostate, ovarian, and testicular cancer.

Dairy has been shown to increase hip fractures and high mortality. One study has shown that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women.

Dairy may very well leave you wanting more. It contains beta-casomorphins. These beta-casomorphins are designed for the calf to become "addicted" to it's mother's milk so it will continue to return for feeding and not be malnourished. Dairy milk was designed for cow's to feed their babies, not us. 

The last thing I want to talk about with the dangers of dairy is the treatment of conventional farm dairy cows. Now, I'm not one of those wild and crazy animal activists, BUT, I do think this should be noted. Conventional dairy cows are artificially inseminated and kept repeatedly pregnant for 4-5 yrs where she is then sent to slaughter because she is no longer good for making milk. The calves born to these mothers and stripped away at birth. The females are raised for milk like the mother and the males are sent to slaughter for veal. They can't have the baby drink up all that milk that is meant for us, can they? The mothers continue to search and call frantically for their babies for days after their calves have been taken away. Heartbreaking. This is where I am thankful for responsible, caring family farms.

So what's the alternative? You can substitute dairy milk for plant-based milks like almond, cashew, rice, hemp, or oat. You also get dairy from whole foods like broccoli, black beans, kale, collard greens, tofu, chia seeds, and fortified plant-based milks. 1 cup of almond milk gives you 45% of your daily calcium need! 

If you haven't made the step to eliminate dairy, please do some research (this is just the tip of the iceberg) and give it a try. You won't be sorry.