Can Dairy Cause Inflammation?

Do you feel like your stomach is always on fire or bloating is an every day occurrence? Does it seem like no matter what you do, no amount of medicine or diet changes can make it go away? Dairy products may be the culprit. Let’s explore why dairy could be causing inflammation in your body, and how reducing consumption can help. 

Inflammation is a natural response from the body when something is wrong. It happens when the immune system senses something—a virus, bacteria, or allergen—that doesn’t belong in the body and launches an attack to get rid of it. The problem with inflammation is that it can become chronic if it goes unchecked for too long. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. 

One link between dairy products and inflammation comes down to a hormone called IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1). This hormone is found naturally in dairy products and research has linked increased levels of IGF-1 to increased levels of inflammation in the body. Another concern with dairy products is their high cholesterol content; consuming too much cholesterol can also lead to chronically elevated levels of inflammation throughout the body. 
The good news is that reducing your consumption of dairy products can help reduce inflammation in your body. Cutting back on dairy won’t just mean cutting out ice cream; even things like cheese, butter and yogurt should be avoided if possible - anything that is derived from cow's milk is dairy. If you focus on eating nutritious whole foods instead, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains, you will have taken a giant step towards reducing inflammatory triggers in your diet.  

Dairy products are one of many sources of inflammation in our diets; other sources include processed foods containing additives and preservatives as well as unhealthy fats like trans fats or saturated fats from animal sources. Reducing our intake of these foods can help reduce overall inflammation levels in our bodies. If you think that dairy may be contributing to your chronic inflammation issues, try cutting back on your consumption for 1-3 months to see if there’s any improvement in how you feel! Good luck!
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