What Is The Effect Of Dairy Product On The Gut?



Published on: 11-Mar-2023


10 min read


Updated on : 30-Nov-2023




Kajal Tharwani


What Is The Effect Of Dairy Product On The Gut?

What Is The Effect Of Dairy Product On The Gut?

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Growing evidence points to the importance of gut health in overall health and well-being. For example, the gut microbiome (the collective name for bacteria and their genetic material in the digestive tract) is essential for digestion and nutrition absorption. Besides, the gut microbiota has been linked to the development of illnesses such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and several medical conditions.

Table Of Contents

1. What Is Gut Health? 

2. The Relation Between Diet, Diary And Gut 

3. Foods To Consume For Gut Health 

4. Dietitian’s Recommendation 

5. The Final Say 

What Is Gut Health? 

Your gut, known as the microbiome, is home to millions of bacteria and other healthy and harmful microorganisms that can impact your health in various ways. The idea is to maintain a healthy mix of beneficial and harmful germs. 

According to a 2019 study published in Microorganisms, the correct balance is different for everyone since everyone has their microbiome profile, which is first impacted by birth gestational date, manner of delivery, newborn milk feeding practices, and weaning phase. 

Aside from that, various other factors affect the health of your microbiome, such as antibiotic usage, the types of microorganisms that inhabit your gut, exercise, and other lifestyle decisions, such as nutrition.

According to a comprehensive 2019 study published in the Journal Nutrients, what you eat directly impacts the composition of bacteria in your gut. 

A healthy gut aids in the prevention of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, as well as the reduction of inflammation, the health of your brain, and the maintenance of a healthy weight. 

The Relation Between Diet, Diary And Gut 

Our diet is integral to sustaining our gut's variety and good functioning. There is an expanding amount of studies on the relationship between nutrition and gut health, including the significance of fermented foods in supporting digestive health.

Dairy and dairy-derived products are ubiquitous in many diets and impact physiological functioning. Dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese, are nutrient-dense foods that include proteins, calcium, and other critical elements such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins, and their consumption is linked to better diet quality. 

The health benefits of dairy foods have piqued the interest of researchers, as seen by the large number of published studies studying the links between dairy intake and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obesity, and osteoporosis.

Dairy has gained a poor reputation in recent years as an increasing number of individuals - around 68% of the world's population - acquire lactose intolerance. Furthermore, there needs to be more research regarding dairy's health advantages. Here are some of the ways dairy impacts your body.

1. Breast Milk Enhances Intestinal Health 

Breast milk is frequently our first introduction to dairy. Breast milk provides nutrients to newborns and includes a varied microbiota that aids in developing the gut microbiome. According to studies, beneficial bacteria from the mother's gut can pass to her newborn via breast milk.

Furthermore, nursing helps to promote intestinal health in the newborn since breast tissue includes germs. The bacteria transmitted from mother to baby benefits the gut-bacteria population and improves the newborn's immunological health. This also minimises the severity of future bacterial infections.

2. Probiotics Can Help In Balancing Gut Bacteria 

Fermentation is essential for maintaining the bacterial growth cycle in your gut. Probiotics are live bacteria strains that are commonly found in fermented foods.

Fermented dairy products are an excellent source of probiotics and beneficial microorganisms. Yoghurt, kefir, and cheese may also help to keep pathogenic organisms at bay.

3. A Low Diary, High Fat Diet Balances Bacteria

A Mediterranean diet is high in plant-based foods and healthy fats. Fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, almonds, olive oil, lentils, and seafood. Dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sweets are consumed sparingly. A diet low in dairy and healthy fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, has been demonstrated in studies to balance gut flora.

This diet may also help to minimise intestinal irritation caused by overeating dairy and red meat. This benefits irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease.

Foods To Consume For Gut Health 

A healthy stomach can boost your immune system and help you avoid sickness. Here are some meals that can help increase your gut bacteria and boost your overall health.

1. Probiotics 

Probiotic bacteria are present in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and yoghurt. Consuming probiotic-rich meals increases the number of beneficial bacteria in your stomach. 

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most frequent forms of beneficial bacteria, each with its unique strains. Probiotics can assist with diarrhoea, increase your immunity, and keep your heart and skin healthy, in addition to helping balance your gut bacteria and prevent chronic disease.

2. Yoghurt 

Yoghurt is the most popular probiotic food, and for a good reason. When introduced to milk, healthy bacteria metabolise lactose to produce lactic acid and other helpful germs. Yogurt's probiotics aid in the digestion of lactose (milk sugar), so if you're lactose intolerant, you may enjoy it. Numerous firms now manufacture dairy-free and vegan yoghourt with probiotics.

3. Prebiotics 

Once you have developed good bacteria in your stomach, you must feed them so they may thrive and continue to produce beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are fibres that nourish the good bacteria in your gut.

Concentrate on a range of whole foods. It is all about variety, eating as many different plant-based meals as possible and meeting our daily fibre needs of 30 grams. Prebiotics are abundant in apricots, dried mango, artichokes, leeks, almonds, pistachios, legumes, and polyphenol-rich foods, including blueberries and strawberries, prunes, apples, flaxseed, olives, and extra-virgin olive oil.

4. Onions 

Onions contain inulin, fructans, and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS is prebiotic that helps build gut flora but also helps improve various conditions, including diarrhoea, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, according to a 2022 review of the literature published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

5. Garlic

Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and may help lessen the risk of heart disease. Garlic's primary fibres are inulin and fructooligosaccharides, a powerful prebiotic combination. But garlic is not just for cooking, according to a review published in the journal Antioxidants in 2020, because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering effects.

Dietitian’s Recommendation

Dairy is a mixed bag for gut health. It appears to aid in certain areas while hindering in others. If you must exclude dairy from your diet, study options that will improve gut function and vitamin levels; otherwise, concentrate on fermented and cultured goods.

Dietitian Lavina Chauhan

The Final Say  

Although dairy can harm intestinal health, it does include essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, protein, and vitamin D. If you are allergic to dairy or lactose, there are fantastic alternative options for keeping your gut healthy.

Fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi (fermented cabbage), and sauerkraut are examples. Finally, keep in mind that moderation is essential.

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