Many people suffer digestive issues after consuming milk, often leading them to assume they are lactose-intolerant. They might give up on dairy or simply believe there’s nothing they can do, when in reality how they drink milk might be the problem. Heat and timing can influence how your body reacts to food or drink. Below are things to keep in mind when drinking milk, especially if you have digestive issues after consuming it.
1. Drink It At Room Temperature
Temperature plays a very important process in digestion, the warmer being the better. Warmth causes liquids to be more fluid & light, allowing them to mix with digestive fluids and digested better. The body specifically warms up when you eat to aid in this process. Nutrients are absorbed through blood vessels in the small intestine, and since cold constricts blood vessels, digestion is slowed and nutrients are absorbed less efficiently. Milk needs to be emulsified with bile, a liquid that helps breakdown fats, in order to be digested. The colder the milk, the harder it is to emulsify, thus causing digestive issues. Imagine washing grease off your hands with soap & cold water. Warm water works much better.
When people traditionally drank milk, or any liquid for that matter, it was warm or room temperature. This, in addition to the quality of milk, is why most of our ancestors didn’t have lactose-intolerance as we do now.
2. Don’t Drink It With Salty Foods
Milk has to be curdled by the body and the milk fat which tends to coagulate has to become emulsified with bile liquid. Milk contains a specific protein-calcium compound called calcium-caseinat which is responsible for the curdling effect of milk as soon as the calcium bond is broken by the interaction of acids. If salt, which is a sodium salt, is added to milk it could interfere with the calcium ions of the calcium-caseinat and thus impede with the digestion of milk. Milk can then take longer to digest or not digest properly at all, causing indigestion, bloating, and inefficient absorption of nutrients.
Have milk 1-2 hours before or after a meal containing salt to avoid complications.
3. Drink Raw Milk, or At Least Organic
It’s no secret modern farming practices produce poor, and often unhealthy milk. Most milk is produced from cows that never move, eat corn & soy instead of grass, and are pumped full of unnatural hormones & antibiotics. This produces a milk full of estrogen, antibiotics, and devoid of proper nutrients. If you’re going to drink milk, make sure it’s raw or organic, grass-fed. Many claim that raw milk, along with raw eggs, is full bacteria & disease. This is false.
- 1. Milk is produced from the body, meaning it isn’t exposed to any bacteria.
- 2. It is produced solely for a new calf, an animal without a developed immune system.
If milk was chock full of bacteria, cows would have died out long ago. Diseased milk only comes from diseased cows. Speak to local farmers that you trust for raw milk and other produce. Fresh, organic produce as well as eggs & meat will easily change your life. Build a relationship with farmers and you’ll get a discount.
4. Don’t Blend It With Fruits
Although it’s popular and more nutritious to drink smoothies, if you’re having digestive issues you’ll want to avoid it. Milk & fruits digest differently in the body, making it a mess when combined. Milk requires a lot of digestive processing, the fruit is given second priority in the gut, causing it to ferment which leads to indigestion and bloating. The acids in fruit also cause milk to curdle like a cheese, which can give off gas and cause bloating. It’s difficult to say whether less-acidic fruits like Bananas are compatible with milk, so I simply recommend not combining milk with fruits altogether.
5. Don’t Drink With Meals
Milk is essentially a meal in itself containing fat, protein, carbohydrates, and almost every nutrient essential to human health. Milk isn’t like water or juice, it needs time to digest. When you drink it during or around a meal, it can put a big strain on your digestive system, causing upset stomach and bloating. Another reason not to drink it with meals is that it dilutes your stomach acid. When your stomach acid is diluted, 2 things happen:
- 1. Your stomach produces more acid, causing heartburn
- 2. Your body doesn’t digest food or absorb nutrients properly.
Only drink it in your protein smoothies as it’s own meal or roughly 1-2 hours after a meal. I’ve completely replaced the milk in my protein shakes with raw eggs which you may want to look into.
If you incorporate all these ideas into your diet when you consume milk, you’re sure to see most, if not all, of your digestive issues and bloating disappear.