Is dairy good for you?

The push for increasing calcium in your diet has been on the forefront of dairy producers for the last ten years.

Calcium, calcium, calcium. All we have been hearing about is drinking more milk and eating more dairy products to get the calcium levels up.

Dairy, does it really do a body good?

While calcium is good for you, the process in which we put it into our bodies is rather terrible. Dairy today is much different than it was 20 years ago and because of these differences, dairy may not be as good for you as you have been led to believe.

Problems with milk

Most dairy found in grocery stores is terrible for your health because it comes from cows that are fed high-protein grains and are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to increase productivity. Everything they are putting into the cow gets transferred into your dairy. Does this sound like it is as good for you as the dairy producers want you to believe?

Many dairy producers use pasteurized and homogenized milk to produce their dairy products. These processes remove the proteins from milk making them un-useful for your body and even border on being harmful. Because these enzymes are broken down at high temperatures, they destroy phosphatase, which is an enzyme that helps your body absorb the calcium found in milk. It also destroys the vitamins B12, B6 and C while killing off all of the good bacteria.

Homogenization of milk alters the fatty contents and good cholesterol found in milk, making it easier to form free radicals, which can cause cancer. Producers homogenize the milk to give it a more universal texture and to keep globules of fat from floating to the surface (think about the layer of film produced on the top of buttermilk).

Cows are often bred to have an overactive milk supply, so that farmers can get the most out of the cow as possible. This can lead to mastitis as well as milk duct infections. To solve this problem, cows are just fed more antibiotics and hormones in order to keep producing.

Good milk

Milk is a healthy food choice when it comes from cows that are grass-fed, like Jerseys and Guernsey, not modern Holsteins which are forced to over-produce. The good bacteria and healthy diet in the grass-fed cattle reduce the risk of milk-producing infections. This milk is usually not pasteurized, killing off all of the benefits of the milk since the cows are better kept using modern day controls to help ensure clean and safe production.

Because this milk is not homogenized either, the calcium remains intact and allows our bodies to absorb more of the nutrients we need. Of course, the milk tastes different than we are used to because all of the nutrients were processed out of it.

You see, calcium is found in almost every food that we eat. Little sesame seeds have a level of calcium, cup for cup, that is almost ten times as much as milk, but the Dairy Board does not like to advertise this fact.

Non fat dairy products help you slim, not only because they have less calories, but because calcium helps to break down body fat, as well. Choose low fat or non fat dairy products when on a weight loss diet.

Dairy is not a bad thing; the process of how it is made, however, is horrible for our bodies. Go out and try raw milk, or goat's milk to see what nature intended this healthy drink to taste like. Try other types of dairy, like raw milk cheeses. They have amazing textures and are extremely rich in flavor. Keep an open mind, a delicate pallet and go try the right kind of dairy.