Dairy products appear to protect rather than promote inflammation, according to a new study involving researchers from the Nutrition Research at National Dairy Council. The study was published in the English language Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Dairy products are often considered to be inflammation-promoting foods, but recent research suggests that the exact opposite may be true. Milk, cheese and yoghurt even seem to protect against inflammation in some cases.
The systematic review study evaluated the results of 27 randomized control trials that investigated the influence of dairy products and milk proteins on inflammation in the body. Of the 19 studies that analyzed the effect of dairy products on the body, ten reported no effect on inflammation, and eight reported a reduction of at least one biomarker of inflammation.
Of the eight studies that examined only the relationship between the consumption of milk proteins and inflammation, all reported no such relationship, the researchers emphasize. Nevertheless, milk products are often associated with inflammation, mainly because of the saturated fatty acids and lactose contained in these foods.
27 studies were evaluated
The researchers emphasize that the new study is the third systematic review in the last three years indicating that dairy foods have a neutral to beneficial effect on inflammation.
Milk contains nine essential nutrients, including vitamin D, calcium and potassium, all of which contribute to maintaining bone health. In addition, the consumption of dairy products has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. These diseases are all believed to be at least partially caused by chronic inflammation.
A diet consisting mainly of plant foods seems to be the key to fighting inflammation. On the other hand, processed foods such as meat products and snacks with a high content of added sugar and refined grains can contribute to chronic inflammation if consumed regularly and over a longer period of time. Dairy products were also suspected here, but this has not been confirmed and they actually seem to be more likely to have anti-inflammatory effects. (as)
Influence of dairy products on inflammation
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