(NaturalNews) There are many myths that we are led to believe, particularly where food is concerned. One of the most controversial is that we need dairy to be healthy, and to have strong bones.
Milk, cheese and butter are promoted as having health benefits, despite the mounting evidence that suggests they may be doing us more harm than good.
Here are four reasons you may want to ditch the dairy from your diet.
For lasting health and disease protection, we should maintain a slightly alkali pH balance in the body, between 7.3 and 7.45.
Dairy foods are generally acidic, with a pH ranging between 4 and 6.85. This acidity can put the body in an inflammatory state, increasing the risk of heart disease, cancers and diabetes.
To neutralize the acidity, alkali minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and calcium are extracted from the skeletal system. So even though dairy contains calcium and is said to build strong bones, over the long term it may be causing osteoporosis through the loss of these alkali minerals.
Dairy products are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, which have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So-called low-fat dairy products are not so, as 2% milk actually gets 35% of its calories from fat. The number shown on cartons is calculated by weight, not by the percentage of calories.
Studies suggest that dairy leads to an increased risk of cancer, particularly ovarian and prostate.[6, 7] It contains insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has been linked to cancer and early mortality.
Dairy naturally contains hormones produced within the cow’s body, along with synthetic hormones used to increase milk production, which can influence the natural human hormone function.
Antibiotics are often used to treat cows for inflammation and diseases such as mastitis, traces of which can sometimes be found in dairy samples. Contaminants such as pesticides, PCBs and dioxins have also been recorded.
Dairy can also contain iodine, which itself is not toxic and is needed by the body in small amounts. However, it is mainly found in dairy due to contamination from cleaning products.
4. We are not baby cows.
Interestingly, no other species drinks milk after infancy or drinks the milk of another species. Cow’s milk is meant to be consumed by the calf, to help them grow quickly. It has very different characteristics from human milk.
Ag industry calves are generally used for veal or fattened for beef, while the mother is stored in a cramped feedlot and has her milk extracted by machinery. Genetic manipulation and drug use can mean cows produce up to four times as much milk as they would naturally, placing undue stress on the animal.
What can we have instead?
The beneficial nutrients found in dairy products are readily available in plant foods — fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Some leafy greens actually contain more calcium per calorie than any dairy product, with cabbages such as bok choy packing more than 1,000 mg per 100 calories, compared to about 200 mg in 100 calories of milk. Plant foods are generally alkali forming and are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that protect us against disease.
There are many dairy substitutes out there too. Instead of cow’s milk, try hemp, oat, almond or coconut. Substitute traditional cheese with cashew or almond cheese. Even some soy cheeses are fine, providing that they’re non-GMO and free from trans fats. There are also yogurts made from soy or coconut milk.
As awareness spreads and people take charge of their health, these types of products are becoming more affordable. It really is a case of voting with your dollar. You can influence the food industry in a positive way by the choices you make.