One of the most important foods to consume in order to maintain a balanced diet is dairy products. From milk to cheese and yogurt, dairy products have long been considered nutritionally beneficial. However, due to advances in medical research, some doctors are questioning the benefits of dairy products. While there’s no doubt that dairy products deliver healthy vitamins and nutrients like calcium to build up our bodies, dairy products can also cause health issues for some people along the way. As such, here are some pros and cons of dairy products for the elderly.
Pro: Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a health condition that occurs when the bones’ mineral density and mass decrease drastically, leading to fragile bones. This disease is why many of our parents would constantly tell us to consume foods rich in calcium when we were younger. For many elderly, old age can speed up the process and increase the likelihood of bones becoming weaker. In such cases, dairy products are hugely beneficial as they’re packed with calcium and vitamin D, which help to strengthen the bones, preventing osteoporosis in the long run. An increase in bone strength will come in handy as it decreases the risk for fractures in case your loved ones fall or got injured.
Pro: Boost Gastrointestinal Health
As we grow older, we need to consume higher levels of probiotics, which are essentially good bacteria that aids in better digestion and overall stomach health. If your loved ones are constantly facing gastric problems, they’re most likely lacking in probiotics. A good source of probiotics comes from fermented products, such as fermented vegetables like kimchi and dairy products. However, some elderly may not enjoy fermented vegetables, which in this case, is where dairy products come in. Your loved ones can consider including yogurt and cheeses into their diets in order to improve their gastric and gut health.
Con: Unsuitable for Lactose-Intolerant Loved Ones
The biggest issue with dairy products is that they aren’t suitable for people who are lactose-intolerant. Most dairy products contain high amounts of lactose, which is a form of sugar that our bodies used for energy and other functions. While some loved ones are lactose-intolerant from young, our bodies naturally lack the ability to produce the enzyme, Lactase, to break down lactose as we grow older. As such, people who start out lactose-tolerant may become intolerant in the years to come. Lactose intolerance can cause your loved ones to have diarrhea, excessive bloating and gas, as well as uncomfortable stomach cramps.
Con: Dairy Products Contain High Hormone Levels
These days, dairy farmers would often inject hormones into cows in order to promote faster growth. The problem is that these hormones can get into the milk we drink, which has a negative impact on our bodies. In fact, studies have shown that these hormones can increase the likelihood of breast and prostate cancers. However, this does not mean that your loved ones should completely stay away from dairy products. While grocery shopping, your loved ones should purchase dairy products that are not made from cows with BST. This can be found by checking the labels. Usually, locally produced dairy products contain lesser hormones than those that are factory produced.