Childhood Nutrition and Integrative Pediatrics
What About Cows Milk???
Cows milk and children
Over the years cow's milk has been promoted as one of nature's "perfect foods". It is thought of as being nutritionally superior as a food for children due to its high content of protein, calcium, and "healthy calories".
However, many physicians, have found that milk is associated with many health problems in children. Cow's milk ingestion has been associated with allergies, anemia, autism, diabetes, and cancer.
What should you do as a parent? This issue is complex and needs some sorting out!
It is generally not recommended to give children cow's milk until the children are at least 18-24 months old (unless they still need a milk-based formula when weaning from breast milk). Ultimately, breast milk is the best food for babies - as nature intended. While many doctors will not encourage the consumption of dairy due to is potential to cause allergies, doctors will generally introduce yogurt first because its enzymes and bacteria result in a more digestible product.
Like most foods, the nutritional quality of milk suffers considerably during processing. Homogenized fat becomes inaccessible, and we need the fat in milk to absorb calcium. Pasteurizing milk kills bacteria essential for its digestion, converts lactose to an indigestible form, interferes with calcium absorption, and destroys vitamins A, C, and B complex.
Dangerous chemicals in milk
Avoid milk that contains bovine growth hormone, antibiotics, and pesticides. That means you should drink only organic milk. These chemicals may be responsible for some of the health problems associated with milk. Use organic dairy products (ice cream, cheese, yogurt) whenever possible.
Eight grams of protein in one cup of milk or yogurt, six grams of protein in one ounce of cheese. That is a concentrated protein food. A protein enzyme (xanthine oxidase) contained in milk has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease if the enzyme is absorbed intact into the bloodstream. This occurs when drinking homogenized milk because small fat globules surround the enzyme, preventing the body from breaking it down. Drink milk that has not been homogenized. Non-fat dried milk frequently added to low-fat milk is high in nitrites, so avoid milk with added dried milk.
Milk protein molecules are large and irritating to the intestinal tract, which can result in microscopic intestinal bleeding and anemia. When milk protein molecules leak through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream they can initiate an allergic response. Symptoms of milk allergy can include chronic nasal and sinus congestion, asthma, and frequent ear infections with persisting middle ear fluid congestion.
Butterfat contains a natural vitamin D complex. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption, and the body will produce vitamin D from sun exposure, therefore during winter months many people become deficient in vitamin D. A synthetic form of vitamin D is often added to milk (vitamin D2, ergocalciferol), but vitamin D2 is associated with liver toxicity. Those who live in areas with cloudy winter skies and cold weather should take natural vitamin D3 ergocalciferol, either in a supplement or in fish oil.
A cup of milk or yogurt contains more than 200 mg. of calcium. The problem is milk's high phosphorus to calcium ratio, which tends to cause calcium excretion. A solution to this problem is to supplement a child's diet with calcium citrate. Fat is required to absorb minerals and vitamins in milk, so children should drink only whole milk and eat whole milk yogurt, not low-fat products. Vitamin C assists in calcium absorption, so eating fruits that contain vitamin C or taking a supplement will help.
Recommended calcium intake for children is:
1-3 years old 500 mg
4-8 years old 800 mg
9-18 years old 1,200 mg
Our doctors can evaluate your child and provide you with a plan for optimizing their health and nutrition. Healthy happy children make a healthy happy home. The Doctors at Tru Health Medicine specialize in Naturopathic pediatrics and natural integrative therapies for supporting your child's health. Family medicine and well-child visits in Santa Rosa, CA.
For more information regarding childhood nutrition, please contact TRU HEALTH Medicine:
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article as well as the content of this website is not intended as a substitute for the clinical evaluation and care provided by your doctor and should in no way be construed as medical advice. This information is not the opinion of Tru Health Medicine or any of the Doctors at Tru Health Medicine and is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to cure or treat any medical condition. Always consult with your pediatrician or doctor for any advice pertaining to your child's medical care or needs.
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