I've been trying to steer clear of cow's milk for a few years. I have the impression that when I drink it, my head fills up with mucus and I get very uncomfortable. But I may just have to reexamine those feelings, because new research being done in England shows that there is a significant health benefit to drinking milk.
Research undertaken by the Universities of Reading, Cardiff and Bristol has found that drinking milk can lessen the chances of dying from illnesses such as coronary heart disease and stroke by up to 15-20%.
As I mentioned, milk has often been portrayed as an unhealthy food. The study, led by Prof. Peter Elwood (Cardiff) together with Prof. Ian Givens (Reading), aimed to establish whether the health benefits of drinking milk outweigh any dangers that lie in its consumption. This is the first time that disease risk associated with drinking milk has been looked at in relation to the number of deaths which the diseases are responsible for.
The review brought together published evidence from 324 studies of milk consumption as predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and, diabetes. Data on milk consumption and cancer were based on the recent World Cancer Research Fund report. The outcomes were then compared with current death rates from these diseases.
Dr. Givens explained: “While growth and bone health are of great importance to health and function, it is the effects of milk and dairy consumption on chronic disease that are of the greatest relevance to reduced morbidity and survival. Our review made it possible to assess overall whether increased milk consumption provides a survival advantage or not. We believe it does."
He continued, “Our findings clearly show that when the numbers of deaths from CHD, stroke and colorectal cancer were taken into account, there is strong evidence of an overall reduction in the risk of dying from these chronic diseases due to milk consumption. We certainly found no evidence that drinking milk might increase the risk of developing any condition, with the exception of prostate cancer. Put together, there is convincing overall evidence that milk consumption is associated with an increase in survival in Western communities.”