Is Dairy good for your health?

Although people tend to accept that fruits and vegetables as more healthier foods , other food groups, such as dairy, reflects more discussion and seem to have conflicting answers.

Examples of typical servings of dairy include:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 ounce of hard cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack
  • half a cup of cottage cheese or ground cheese

The USDA have advised people to consume milk every day. However, some health advocates believe that people do not need to eat dairy to be healthy. Others believe that dairy may even be bad for health if people consume too much of it.

These mixed messages can be confusing. In this article, we break down what the evidence says.

Dairy milk and Bones health

Couple buying milk and wondering if dairy is bad for you

Calcium helps build strong bones and is necessary for other functions, such as muscle contraction and nerve transmission.

Dairy also contains other important nutrients for bone health, such as phosphorus and protein.

Without enough calcium, a person may be at risk of calcium deficiency. This condition causes bones to weaken and leaves them prone to breaking.

Although dairy products may contain more calcium than many other foods, evidence suggesting that consuming dairy can prevent bone fractures seems conflicting.

However, this was not the case in all the studies included in the analysis.

It is also important to explain that many other factors can affect bone health, including exercise, smoking status, alcohol use, and changes in hormone levels during aging.

One that involved more than 61,000 women and 45,000 men found a potential link between higher milk intake and higher mortality and higher incidence of bone fractures.

However, this association does not indicate a “cause and effect” relationship. For example, the women who had hip fractures and higher milk intake may have been drinking more milk because they were at risk of hip fractures.

The study authors caution that the results do not take into consideration other lifestyle factors and health conditions.

Another of 94,980 Japanese people found the opposite association, with a lower risk of mortality tied to increased milk consumption.

Overall, the majority of research on dairy suggests that milk is beneficial for bone health and cardiovascular health.

One thing that is clear is that calcium and the other nutrients that milk provides are necessary for bone health.

Those who cannot or choose not to consume dairy should consume speak to a doctor about whether they need a calcium supplement.

Dairy and Heart Health

Saturated fats are present in full fat dairy products such as whole milk, butter, and cream, and to a lesser extent, in reduced fat dairy products such as 1% milk. Saturated fats are also present in meat, some processed foods, coconut oil and palm oil.

The AHA say that saturated fats can lead to high cholestrol and heart diseases . As a result, many full fat dairy products do not appear in heart-healthy diet recommendations.

The AHA advise people to choose fat free or low fat dairy products to obtain calcium without the saturated fat.

However, recent evidence suggests that the link between saturated fat and heart disease is not as strong as people once believed. saturated fat in heart disease. Again, many other lifestyle factors are important when it comes to evaluating heart disease risk.

Although the links between full fat dairy and heart disease are no longer clear, there are other things a person can do to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, including:

  • eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • exercising regularly
  • not smoking
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • getting adequate amounts of sleep
  • controlling blood sugar levels, if they have diabetes

People should also speak with a health professional about how often they need checks, cholesterol and glucose tests, and other measures that can predict heart disease risk.

Diabetes and Dairy

Diabetes is a common health condition, with diabetes and prediabetes . Although many factors influence whether or not a person will develop diabetes, diet is one important aspect.

found that consuming dairy, particularly yogurt, could have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes. Another study found that the people who consumed the most high fat dairy products had  than those who consumed the least amount of high fat dairy.

Dairy may fit into a healthful diet for many people who have type 2 diabetes. As each person is different, it is best to speak with a doctor or nutritionist about diet recommendations for good blood glucose control and management of diabetes.

Nutrients in dairy

Milk contains a number of nutrients that are beneficial to health. It contains a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids that are essential for health. It also contains other vitamins and minerals that other foods provide limited amounts of.

 Whole milk contains:

  • Calories: 149
  • Protein: 7.69 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrate: 11.7 g
  • Fat: 7.93 g
  • Calcium: 276 milligrams (mg)
  • Vitamin D: 3.7 international units (IU)
  • Vitamin B-12: 1.1 mcg
  • Vitamin A: 112 IU
  • Magnesium: 24.4 mg
  • Potassium: 322 mg
  • Folate: 12.2 IU
  • Phosphorus: 205 mg

Most milk manufacturers fortify their products with vitamins A and D. A person can see whether milk is fortified by reading the ingredients label. The label will list the added vitamins, such as vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D-3, as ingredients.

Milk is a nutrient-rich drink, offering many nutrients that other beverages such as sports drinks, sodas, and other nondairy milk substitutes are lacking.

Lactose Intolerant

Dairy products contain a sugar called lactose. To digest lactose, a person’s small intestine must produce an enzyme called lactase.

Without enough lactase, a person will not be able to digest dairy products that contain lactose. This leads to symptoms of it which may include:

  • bloating
  • stomach pain
  • nausea

Lactose is also present in human breast milk. Most babies are able to digest it without issues.

However, many people become lactose intolerant as their body slows down its production of lactase.

Some dairy products that are fermented, such as yogurt and certain hard cheeses, contain lower amounts of lactose than a glass of milk. These types of fermented products may be suitable choices for some people who are sensitive to lactose.

Other people find that almost any amount of dairy causes symptoms. People who cannot digest dairy may wish to consume lactose reduced dairy milk or fortified soy milk alternatives. Other nondairy milk alternatives do not provide similar nutrition.

sum up

The majority of reliable evidence suggests that dairy can be an important nutrient-rich choice for a healthful diet. However, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to consume it.

People who do not or cannot consume dairy should obtain calcium from other sources, such as fortified nondairy soy milk, leafy green vegetables, and other calcium-rich foods.

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Benefits of strawberry

Heart health

Heart disease is the most common cause of death worldwide.

Studies have found a relationship between berries — or berry anthocyanins — and improved heart health.

Large observational studies in thousands of people link berry consumption to a lower risk of heart-related deaths .

According to a study in middle-aged people with well-established risk factors for heart disease, berries may improve HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood platelets function .

Strawberries may also :

  • improve blood antioxidant status
  • decrease oxidative stress
  • reduce inflammation
  • improve vascular function
  • improve your blood lipid profile
  • reduce the harmful oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol

The effects of freeze-dried strawberry supplements on type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome have been studied intensely — mainly in overweight or obese individuals.

After 4–12 weeks of supplementing, participants experienced a significant decrease in several major risk factors, including LDL (bad) cholesterol, inflammatory markers, and oxidized LDL particles.

Blood sugar regulation

When carbs are digested, your body breaks them down into simple sugars and releases them into your bloodstream.

Your body then starts secreting insulin, which tells your cells to pick up the sugar from your bloodstream and use it for fuel or storage.

Imbalances in blood sugar regulation and high-sugar diets are associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Strawberries seem to slow down glucose digestion and reduce spikes in both glucose and insulin following a carb-rich meal, compared to a carb-rich meal without strawberries .

Thus, strawberries may be particularly useful for preventing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Cancer prevention

Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.

Cancer formation and progression is often linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation .

A number of studies suggest that berries may help prevent several types of cancer through their ability to fight oxidative stress.

Strawberries have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animals with mouth cancer and in human liver cancer.

The protective effects of strawberries may be driven by ellagic acid and ellagitannins, which have been shown to stop the growth of cancer.

More human research is needed to improve the understanding of the effects of strawberries on cancer before any solid conclusions can be reached.

Adverse effects

Strawberries are usually well tolerated, but allergy is fairly common — especially in young children.

Strawberries contain a protein that can cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to birch pollen or apples — a condition known as pollen-food allergy

Common symptoms include itching or tingling in the mouth, hives, headaches, and swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or throat, as well as breathing problems in severe cases .

The allergy-causing protein is believed to be linked to strawberries’ anthocyanins. Colorless, white strawberries are usually well tolerated by people who would otherwise be allergic.

Furthermore, strawberries contain goitrogens that may interfere with the function of the thyroid gland in people with thyroid problems.

Maintain your healthy vision

The antioxidant properties in strawberries may also help to prevent cataracts — the clouding over of the eye lens — which can lead to blindness in older age. Our eyes require vitamin C to protect them from exposure to free-radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens. Vitamin C also plays an important role in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina.

While high doses of vitamin C have been found to increase the risk of cataracts in women over 65, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm note that the risk pertains to vitamin C obtained from supplements, not the vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

 

Keep your wrinkles at bay

The power of vitamin C in strawberries continues, as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience. Since we lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C may result in healthier, younger-looking skin. But vitamin C isn’t the only naturally-occuring wrinkle fighter found in this fruit. Researchers at Hallym University in the Republic of Korea concluded that ellagic acid visibly prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory response — two major factors in the development of wrinkles — in human skin cells, after continued exposure to skin-damaging UV-B rays.  

Reduce pesky inflammation

 

The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) — an indication of inflammation in the body.  

The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) — an indication of inflammation in the body.  

Boost your fibre intake

Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion, and strawberries naturally contain about 2 g per serving. Problems that can arise from lack of fibre include constipation and diverticulitis — an inflammation of the intestines, which affects approximately 50 percent of people over 60. Fibre can also aid in fighting type 2 diabetes. “Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugars (i.e., glucose) in the blood,” says Edwards. “As a result, adults who are managing diabetes can enjoy strawberries — in moderation — in their diet.

Aid in weight management

 

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best defenses against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention just plain good for your overall well-being. “Strawberries are naturally low in calories (around 28 calories per serving), fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar,” says Edwards. “Strawberries do contain natural sugars, though total sugars are fairly low with 4 grams per serving — and the total carbohydrate content is equivalent to less than a half slice of bread. Triple your serving to 1.5 cups and you’ll have a snack that’s less than 100 calories and much healthier than those pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks!” Add strawberries to one of these low-cal smoothie recipes and you’ll have the perfect breakfast or snack.

 Help to promote pre-natal health

Folate is a B-vitamin recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, and strawberries are a good source with 21 mg per serving. Folate is necessary in the early stages of pregnancy to help in the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and the folic acid in strawberries may help to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.

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EXERCISES HELP DEALING WITH STRESS

Stress is an inevitable part of life. Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives, according to the most recent ADAA survey on stress and anxiety disorders. When the American Psychological Association surveyed people in 2008, more people reported physical and emotional symptoms due to stress than they did in 2007, and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.

While all of these are well-known coping techniques, exercise may be the one most recommended by health care professionals. And among ADAA poll takers who exercise, a healthy percentage is already on the right track: Walking (29 percent), running (20 percent), and yoga (11 percent) are their preferred strategies.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or frequent urination. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.

Many people have found that when they concentrate on repetitive muscle movements during exercise, they can clear their mind of the daily stresses of life.  According to an article published in the National Institutes of Health library, the best mental health improvements come from rhythmic, low to moderate intensity aerobic activities that use large muscle groups.  

Examples of these types of exercises include jogging, swimming, cycling and walking. The sessions should take place a minimum of three times per week and last for 15 to 30 minutes.

In addition to moderate exercise movements, the muscle stretching that you do before and after a workout can help relax both your body and mind, and can serve to ease tension and anxiety.