June is National Dairy Month. But before you head off to the local supermarket to pick up a gallon of milk to celebrate, remember that not all dairy products are created equal.
Despite the health claims pushed by the famous “Got Milk?” advertising campaign, if you are looking for dairy products that promote good health, the supermarket version of milk should be at the bottom of the list.
The milk that you buy from your local grocery comes from cows fed high-protein soybean meal and growth hormones to increase milk production. While these agricultural tools increase a dairy farmer’s profits, they also increase the cow’s chances of developing mastitis, liver problems and pituitary gland dysfunction. For this reason, cows are also given frequent doses of antibiotics and residues of these drugs can end up in milk. Clearly, “Got Synthetic Growth Hormone?” and “Got Antibiotic Residues?” are not questions you want to ponder as you sip your next milkshake.
Even though it may not leave you with much of a mustache, a better choice to celebrate National Dairy Month, if you’re hooked on dairy, is a tub of gut-healthy yogurt. Even many people who cannot tolerate milk’s proteins or lactose can usually digest yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt easier for the digestive system to handle.
Benefits you can expect from the friendly probiotic bacteria in yogurt:
- Improved colon health: Yogurt’s lactobacteria foster a healthier colon function and may lower the risk of colon cancer.
- More nutrient absorption: The active cultures in yogurt aid your body in the process of breaking down calcium and B-vitamins.
- Increased immunity from illness: Probiotics, the active cultures in yogurt, can boost the number of disease-fighting cells in the body.
- Healthier intestinal lining: Many gastrointestinal disorders can severely damage the lining of your intestines, leading to stomach aches and diarrhea. Yogurt can sometimes remedy irritable bowel syndrome, gas and bloating.
To be sure you’re getting the most out of your yogurt, opt for plain (no sugar added) yogurt and add your own honey and fruit.