20110225

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Hemp Milk

Last weekend I was daring enough to try what is now my new favorite beverage:



Hemp Milk



First, let me tell you why it is worth talking about:

Hemp seeds contain a three-to-one ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids and other nutrients include magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin.


Hemp milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a good vegetarian source of protein as hemp protein does not contain phytates, enzyme inhibitors found in some soy protein that can interfere with the assimilation of essential minerals.


Source: Wikipedia - Hemp Milk



Hemp milk may be good for you!



Second, let me tell you why this may be better than cow's milk.



Reasons to consider limiting your dairy intake



Lactose Intolerance



Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Certain groups are much more likely to have lactose intolerance. For example, 90 percent of Asians, 70 percent of blacks and Native Americans, and 50 percent of Hispanics are lactose intolerant, compared to only about 15 percent of people of Northern European descent.



One alternative for those who are lactose intolerant but who still enjoy consuming dairy products is to take a pill containing enzymes that digest milk sugar along with the dairy product, or to consume milk that has the lactase enzyme added to it.



High Saturated Fat Content



Many dairy products are high in saturated fats, and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease. And while it's true that most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or nonfat options, the saturated fat that's removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of premium ice cream, butter, or baked goods.



Strangely, it's often the same people who purchase these higher fat products who also purchase the low-fat dairy products, so it's not clear that they're making great strides in cutting back on their saturated fat consumption. (For more information on dietary fats, read the Nutrition Source article Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good.)



Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer



High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer. Although such associations have not been reported in all studies, there may be potential harm in consuming high amounts of lactose. A recent pooled analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies, which included more than 500,000 women, found that women with high intakes of lactose—equivalent to that found in 3 cups of milk per day—had a modestly higher risk of ovarian cancer, compared to women with the lowest lactose intakes. The study did not find any association between overall milk or dairy product intake and ovarian cancer. Some researchers have hypothesized, however, that modern industrial milk production practices have changed milk's hormone composition in ways that could increase the risk of ovarian and other hormone-related cancers. More research is needed.



Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer



A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. In a Harvard study of male health professionals, men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day were almost twice as likely to develop advanced prostate cancer as those who didn't drink milk at all. The association appears to be with calcium itself, rather than with dairy products in general: A more recent analysis of the Harvard study participants found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day).



Clearly, although more research is needed, we cannot be confident that high milk or calcium intake is safe.



Learn more about dairy by visiting this page from the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source: Calcium and Milk: What's Best for Your Bones and Health?

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