For years, we’ve been told that cow’s milk and dairy products must be part of a healthy anti-aging diet, and these claims have mostly been based on one nutrient: calcium. Without it, how could we maintain strong bones or avoid osteoporosis as we age? The truth is that we can get calcium from a plethora of plant-based foods in our anti-aging diet, including kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and sesame seeds.
The famous Food Guide pyramids have been telling you that milk and dairy are an essential part of a complete and balanced diet, but a lot of people don’t realize that, in order to ensure that you’re truly aging well, you may need to adjust the milk component of your anti-aging diet.
In fact, there are many reasons why traditional cow’s milk in your anti-aging diet may actually be harming your health as you get older. Processed milk contains antibiotics and genetically engineered hormones, which can cause weak infertility and muscle growth.
Also, cow’s milk can actually reduce calcium absorption in your bones, according to scientific studies, because it contains high levels of phosphorus. You may even notice feeling bloating or other digestive health issues if you regularly consume cow’s milk in your anti-aging diet. That’s because you may be lactose intolerant—the most common food allergen today is milk. Considering all this, what other milk options actually benefit your anti-aging diet then?
Organic Whole Cow’s Milk
PROS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Grass-fed organic cow’s milk is good for your anti-aging diet because it contains more omega-3 essential fatty acids than your conventional milk. It also contains at least 75 mg of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in an eight-ounce serving, which is typically two to five times greater than CLA from conventionally fed cows. CLA is ideal for an anti-aging diet because it’s known to support the immune and inflammatory systems, improve bone mass and blood sugar regulation, reduce the risk of body mass and heart attack, and also maintain lean body mass. The best type of organically grass-fed cow’s milk for your anti-aging diet is the non-homogenized variety. When milk is homogenized, the protein enzyme xanthine oxidase gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and some research shows it may trigger heart disease.
CONS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Cow’s milk is still considered a common allergen, and those who can’t tolerate lactose and/or casein (the primary protein in milk) should avoid it in their anti-aging diet. There are other concerns with cow’s milk production and processing with pasteurization. Pasteurization will contribute to the destruction and inactivation of enzymes, as well as the loss of valuable vitamins.
PROS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Soymilk is lactose-free, rich in calcium and protein, and doesn’t have any saturated fat, which has made this mixture of soybeans and water the perfect addition to an anti-aging diet, especially for vegans. Soymilk also contains high phytoestrogen levels, which mimic the function of the female sex hormone estrogen in humans; the phytoestrogen can help postmenopausal women balance hormone levels. These women are more at risk of obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and mood swings, and soy in the anti-aging diet can help prevent such adverse side effects.
CONS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: It is best to consume organic soymilk in your anti-aging diet, because almost all conventional soy is considered highly genetically modified, and it may lead to negative health issues. The DNA structure has been altered, which creates similarity to other allergens. The phytoestrogen in soy may also increase breast cancer risks for woman.
PROS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Almond milk is another option for vegans and vegetarians’ anti-aging diets, or anyone who’s concerned about allergies and aging well. Almond milk can slow signs of aging and even help with cancer prevention, because it’s a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Almond milk is also high in omega-3, which improves cognitive function and helps protect your heart, as well as other essential minerals for your anti-aging diet, like copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
CONS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Almond milk in the grocery store often contains lots of added sugar and carrageenan, a natural additive that may possibly be a human carcinogen that can cause inflammation and digestive problems. The best option for your anti-aging diet is to make your own almond milk at home. Blend a cup of whole almonds, four cups of water, a small pinch of natural sea salt, and a natural sweetener, like a couple pitted dates or honey. It’s best to avoid almond milk if you suffer from a tree nut allergy.
PROS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Many people with allergies can tolerate goat’s milk in their anti-aging diet, because it only contains very small amounts of the casein protein. Goat’s milk can be easier to digest, because the fat molecules are easier for the body to break down. Goat’s milk also helps increase metabolism and decrease cholesterol levels better than cow’s milk can. Plus, goat’s milk calcium can benefit bone health; it’s better absorbed because there is a better phosphorus-calcium ratio, and its lactose molecules are smaller. It’s even better for your anti-aging diet, because it’s high in zinc, essential fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
CONS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Goat’s milk can sometimes be hard to find, although some health food stores and grocery stores may carry it. While some people with lactose intolerance can consume goat dairy products in their anti-aging diet, others cannot. Because goat’s milk is still a processed product, always go with the organic option for your anti-aging diet.
PROS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Nutrient wise, your anti-aging diet is on the right track with sheep’s milk. It often contains double the calcium, phosphorus, and zinc of goat or cow’s milk. Overall, it contains higher levels of riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B12, and vitamin C as well. It can also help people with thyroid problems, because sheep’s milk is high in iodine, and is better for digestion, because it contains smaller fat globules.
CONS for Your Anti-Aging Diet: Sheep’s milk may be rather expensive and difficult to find compared to most other milk options. It isn’t the best alternative for people who suffer from lactose intolerance, and it’s higher in calories and contains twice as much fat than cow’s milk, which can be a problem for those who are concerned about weight loss.
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