Dairy products mean those food articles that are produced from the milk. They are included in heavy food articles as they take time to get digested in the body. Generally they are the rich source of energy. Their main component is water, fat, carbohydrates and minerals. They are also enriched in other essential micronutrients such as vitamins, essential minerals and trace minerals. Water is the main constituent of milk it forms 90% of milk and another 10% constitutes essential components.
In ayurveda our acharya mentioned eight types of milk known as “ashta dugdha”. Dugdha is a sanskrit word that means “milk” and ashta means “eight”. There is detailed reference of eight types of beneficial milk in our ancient text and they are as follow:
Eight Types of Milk as Per Ayurveda
(Charka. sutra 1/106)
- Aavi ksheer (sheep milk)
- Ajja ksheer (she goat milk)
- Gau ksheer (cow milk)
- Mahish ksheer (she buffalo milk)
- Ushtrin ksheer (she camel milk)
- Nagina ksheer (she elephant milk)
- Vadva ksheer (mare milk)
- Stri dugdha (milk of lactating mother)
Classical Properties of Milk
As per our ancient classical text milk comprise various below mentioned properties and they are as follow
(Charaka. sutra 1/107-112)
- In general milk is madhur (sweet) in taste, sanigdha (unctuous), sheet (cold), galactogogue in action.
- It possesses preeran (refreshing), breehan(body promoting), vrishyay (spermatogenic), medhya (intellect promoting), balya (strength enhancer) and increase functioning of the brain.
- It contains natural vitaliser and fatigue alleviating property.
- Use in various pathologies such as –
- Internal hemorrhage
- Use as a great union promoting agent in injuries and fractures.
- It is a wholesome food for all living beings.
- Is a good pacifier of all tridoshas (vata, pitta and kapha), eliminator of malas (body waste products) and destroyer of thirst and is a very good appetizer.
- It is the most useful various ailments such as:
- Kshina (weakness), kshata(injuries), anemia, gastritis, emaciation, gaseous tumor, abdominal enlargement, diarrhea, fever, burning sensation, selling.
- Have very good results in disorders of female genital tract, semen, deficiency of urine, hardened stool and vata-pitta oriented disorders.
Acharya charaka included it in the best vitalisier food substance (jeevaniyanam) due to all above mentioned characteristic features.
Other Properties of Milk are
- It contains all essential amino acids and as we all know that amino acids are structural units of protein in our body. So it proves a good source of enhancing body mass as protein plays a major role in muscle mass formation.
- It is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus and they along with vitamin D play a major role in bone formation so it is said that milk is very important in growth years as it helps in healthy bone formation.
- It is a rich source of riboflavin, thiamine and cholecalciferol so assists in maintaining gut health, as per ayurveda it is considered as mild laxative so it is advised to drink it in constipation and flatulence problems.
Common forms of Dairy Products are
- Frozen desserts
- Frozen custard
- Frozen yogurt
- Powdered milk
- Whipped cream
- Cottage cheese
Risk Factors Associated with Eating too Much Dairy Products
Although milk had been given great importance in our ancient text, today due to increased adulteration in its natural form, it is presently available in unhealthy forms that make it even more dangerous for consumption on a daily basis. As too much of anything or any food item is bad for us. Same goes with dairy products, if you indulge yourself in regular consumption of such food products it will lead to generation of new pathology in your body. Over consumptions of dairy products leads to formation of various ailments as mentioned in below list:
1. Cardiovascular Disorders
As dairy products are extremely fatty and contain high proportions of saturated fats, over consumption of dairy products can lead to rise in bad cholesterol levels that will lead to generation of cardiovascular ailments such as coronary artery diseases, myocardial infarction etc.
As dairy products contain high amounts of calories; if we consume the excess amount and don’t exercise on a regular basis it will lead to an increase in body weight, which means a person will face a problem of obesity.
3. Digestion problems
Consuming an excess amount of dairy products can cause diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, bloating etc. So it is very important to consume it in the proper amount.
As dairy products are heavy in digestion, they contain excess amounts of saturated fats so excess consumption of them increases the amount of bad cholesterol in blood that will generate the problem of high blood pressure.
5. Lactose intolerance
Some individuals are lactose intolerant and they cannot digest the lactose, it is the sugar profoundly found in dairy items. So these individuals face certain health issues on consuming dairy products such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions etc.
As already mentioned that according to ayurveda dairy products are included in “guru aahar” so it is very important to know about the exact quantity we need to consume to sustain healthy and disease free living.
Ayurvedic Overview of “Guru Aahar”
- Guru Aahar is predominant in the properties of prithvi (mother earth) and jal (water) mahabhutas. Due to the presence of these two mahabhutas it makes them gritty in digestion due to that they took more time in digestion alongside and may also generate other associated health issues such as indigestion, bloating etc. So one should take food in the proper quantity. This quantity of food depends on the power of digestion.
- Acharya had mentioned that it is advised to take heavy food items such as dairy products as one third or half of the saturation point even in case of light articles not excessive saturation is advised in order to maintain proper strength of Agni.
- Food taken in proper quantity provides strength, complexion and happiness to the person without disturbing normalcy of bodily functions.
Now we can conclude that excess of everything is harmful for us same goes with consumption of dairy products. Although milk is considered as a whole meal, in the present era due to over consumption of processed dairy products it gives rise to other health issues such as digestion problems, malabsorption syndromes etc. So it’s better to consume them in a healthy proportion so stay fit and fine. To know more about benefits of healthy dietary regime you can also watch the blogs of Dr. Vikram Chauhan from Planet Ayurveda, his blogs are packed with authentic medicinal knowledge with classical touch of ayurveda.