Globally, a number of observational studies have been conducted to establish the relationship between consumption of milk and milk products and reduced risk of various cancers. While some research studies have indicated a positive relationship, others have not been able to establish any such links. Let’s take a look at some of the cancers that can possibly be prevented with regular intake of fresh milk and milk products.
Colorectal Cancer – This involves cancerous growth in the colon or rectum, which is the extreme end of the digestive tract. This type of cancer is one of the most prevalent in the world. Various research studies have pointed out that regular consumption of milk and milk products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. The primary components that fight such type of cancer include calcium, vitamin D and lactic acid bacteria (found in yogurt), which are present in abundant quantities in milk and milk products. Majority of studies have confirmed that milk and milk products have the potential to cut down the risk of colorectal cancer.
Stomach cancer – Also called gastric cancer, this is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer in the world. This type of cancer starts from the inner lining of the stomach. It may later spread to other areas such as the lining of the abdomen, lymph nodes, liver, lungs and bones. Research studies that have indicated a positive link between consumption of milk and milk products and reduced risk of stomach cancer have attributed it to the presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and certain probiotic bacteria in fermented milk products. It has also been found that milk and milk products should be completely free from pesticides and other harmful toxins to derive maximum benefits.
Breast cancer – This type of cancer is the most prevalent among women. Results have been a mixed bag here, with almost an equal number of studies claiming and repudiating the link between consumption of milk and milk products and reduced risk of breast cancer. Studies that have found a positive link have indicated the benefits of milk products such as yogurt in helping prevent the risk of developing breast cancer.
How much milk and milk products to consume
Consumption of milk and milk products should be as per the dietary guidelines. The existing guidelines recommend 2–3 servings or cups of milk and milk products per day. There is no upper limit, but that does not mean that you should increase consumption unnecessary. Stick to 2–3 servings or cups of milk and milk products per day and you shall be fine.