Science consistently shows that a Mediterranean-type diet is the healthiest for you, your heart, your brain, your metabolism—and your lifespan.
But, all too often, the mainstream seems to conveniently omit one key food group from this healthy diet—even though people who actually live in the Mediterranean enjoy this food at almost every meal.
Of course, I’m talking about dairy. And a new study has found that people who regularly eat it have a lower risk of dying from ANY cause!
I’ll tell you all about that important, new study in a moment. But first, let’s back up to explore why there are still so many lingering biases against dairy…
Bias against dairy stems from bad science
I suppose the mainstream’s continued bias against dairy is a hold-over from the days when they blamed dietary cholesterol and saturated fats (as found in dairy and meat) for cardiovascular disease.
Of course, there was never any evidence to support that claim. And now, they recognize that they were all wrong, all along.
Granted, in the Mediterranean itself, drinking fresh milk is rare—for a combination of reasons. For one, refrigeration wasn’t available to keep milk fresh until the 20th century. So, while dairy goes back 10,000 years, drinking fresh cow, sheep, or even goat milk is actually a relatively new pattern of consumption for humans, limited primarily to the 20th century in the U.S. Many populations in the world still can’t tolerate the lactose found in fresh milk (which gets broken down in cheeses, yogurts, and other dairy products).
However, humans HAVE been consuming other types of dairy for thousands of years…
In fact, around 8,000 B.C., people learned they could raise ruminant animals (such as cows, goats, and sheep) on grasslands not suited for farming crops. Then, they fermented the animals’ milk into more digestible dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, which don’t require refrigeration. Lactose-intolerant people typically find that these fermented dairy products are much easier to digest.
Of course, we now know these fermented dairy products also contain billions of healthy probiotic bacteria that support your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome. And experts now consider your GI microbiome “ground zero” for your health, affecting everything from your weight, to your immune system, to your mood, to your cognition.
Cheese and yogurt also contain healthy, essential fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, such as calcium, which you should only ever obtain from food sources alone (not from dietary supplements).
Unfortunately, I still see gallons of “no-fat” and “low-fat” milks and other dairy products in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, as well as imitation milks and cheeses. But people who eat these low-fat dairy products run a much higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and other health problems!
Plus, as I reported last week, some people who follow the suddenly popular, but unhealthy “plant-based” diet think they need to shun real dairy altogether. So they opt for imitation cheeses, yogurts, and milks. But these unpalatable, processed foods typically contain added sugars and numerous artificial ingredients to make them taste better. Which actually makes them a less healthy option.
Of course, real, full-fat dairy products, such as plain yogurt and cheeses, are naturally low in sugar. In fact, the fermentation process transforms the sugars in milk into the tangy biochemicals in cheeses and yogurts. (This is the same basic kind process of fermentation that transforms the sugar in grape juice to make wine.)
Now, let’s explore the exciting, new study I mentioned at this beginning of this Dispatch…
Science-backed health benefits of eating real dairy
For this huge, new analysis of 29 previously published studies, researchers examined data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) on nearly 24,500 adults, with a mean age of 48 years, from 1999 to 2010.
During the six-year follow-up period, there were 3,520 deaths, including 827 from cancer, 709 from heart disease, and 228 from strokes.
But it turns out, the regular consumption of dairy products in general was associated with up to a 5 percent lower mortality risk and up to a 6 percent lower stroke risk. In addition, eating cheese specifically was associated with a 13 percent lower mortality risk. And drinking milk specifically was associated with up to a 9 percent lower stroke risk.
The researchers went a step further and performed an additional analysis of 12 other long-term cohort studies that followed more than 600,000 participants for 15 years. Again, there was a strong association between the consumption of dairy products and lower mortality risk. And this time, they specifically found that eating yogurt was associated with a 3 percent lower mortality risk.
Clearly, as this study shows—and as men and women in the greater Mediterranean have known for thousands of years—eating wholesome, full-fat dairy should be a regular part of a healthy, balanced diet.
So, go ahead and enjoy several full-fat servings of dairy each day. Personally, I enjoy full-fat, plain yogurt with berries, and/or powdered blueberry extract, in the morning. Cheeses and olives make an excellent mid-afternoon snack. And there are several ways to incorporate dairy at dinner as well. One of my personal favorites is adding a dollop of full-fat sour cream to my wild-caught fish tacos or to anything with hot salsa. These wholesome additions to your diet not only taste good, but clearly, they are good for you.
Of course, eating more full-fat dairy is just one measure you can take to support your overall health and well-being. To discover other simple strategies for staying healthy well into your 70s, 80s, and beyond, I encourage you to sign up for The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Current advice to limit dairy intake should be reconsidered,” European Society of Cardiology, 8/28/2019. (escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Current-advice-to-limit-dairy-intake-should-be-reconsidered)