8 Weird things that happen to your body when you give up dairy

A good nutritionist wouldn't recommend giving up an entire food group unless you have very good reason to. A good dieter (you) should understand that you shouldn't have to give up an entire food group or something you love to live a perceived healthy life. This is because each group provides different, vital nutrients and energy to enable our bodies to work properly.

But in the event that you don't have much choice but to give up dairy, or you just want to see what happens, you might well notice some changes to your body. Frida Harju-Westman, is a nutritionist and she helps explain eight weird things that happen when you give up dairy.

1. You can get fewer headaches

It's all to do with a natural chemical that's often found in cheeses, tyramine, which can for some people contribute to the onset of migraines and headaches. "If you suffer regularly from these then you may find that cutting dairy items such as cheese, from your diet, has a positive effect on this," suggests Frida.

However, it could also be the other way round. "Dairy products contain the important vitamin B2, and a deficiency of this vitamin is also associated with the possible side effect of migraines," the nutritionist points out. If you do decide to go dairy-free, make sure you don't become deficient in B2 by eating plenty of mushrooms, almonds and spinach.

2. You might become less bloated

You might not be officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant, but 65 percent of the world's population has difficulty digesting milk, according to the US National Library of Medicine. "This is due to the fact that many people lack lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest cow’s milk," explains Frida. "If you cut out dairy, you may find that your digestion improves, perhaps making you feel less bloated." Just like with headaches, though, it can go the other way.

3. You can miss out on essential nutrients 

Just like protein, fats and carbohydrates, dairy can be an essential component of a healthy diet. "Dairy products tend to be rich in important nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, so if you decide to eliminate this food group from your diet, then you need to ensure you do not miss out on your intake of these essential nutrients," says Frida. "Be sure to eat fatty fish such as sardines, which are a good source of calcium, as well as certain plant-based milks which are often fortified with vitamin D and calcium."

4. You can get sick more easily

"When you stop eating dairy, you might find that your immune system becomes considerably weaker," the nutritionist explains. "This may because you are lacking the important vitamin B12. If you lack B12 you may find that you feel weaker and may pick up unwanted illnesses more easily, so be sure to combat this deficiency by eating foods that are fortified with this vitamin, or consult your doctor about whether to take a B12 supplement," Frida adds.

Young woman having stomach problems, holding hands on tummy

5. Your skin can improve

It's quite widely known that cutting out dairy can improve a person's skin. "Cow’s milk often contains hormones, which may react to the hormones in your own body and lead to an increase in the production of sebum in your skin, responsible for clogging your pores," explains Frida. "As a result, you may find that cutting dairy out of your diet improves the look and feel of your skin."

6. You might have more energy

"When you give up dairy, you may find that you begin to think more carefully about the foods you eat. For example, in order to combat the lack of calcium in your diet traditionally gained from consuming dairy products, you will likely replace these with other calcium-rich foods such as spinach, kale and white beans. Eating vitamin-rich foods such as this may well lead to having more energy as your diet becomes packed with more nutrients," Frida explains.

7. Your moods can become more stable

"Due to the high number of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone found in cow's milk, when you consume dairy your body takes in these hormones as a bi-product," explains Frida. "These additional hormones, when mixed with your own, may cause mood swings that you might find are alleviated when you cut out dairy from your diet."

8. Your body can lack protein

"An important macronutrient you gain from dairy is protein, which is essential for building muscles and helping your organs and bones to correctly function," explains the expert. "While other foods can provide your necessary intake of protein, you may find if you decide to go dairy-free that you need to pay closer attention to this. Try to make a point to eat more protein-rich foods such as quinoa and almonds."

Dairy isn't all that its cracked up to be, but at the same time, you may find it more useful and beneficial than others do. Listen to your body and act accordingly. Maybe don't have a double malt Oreo milkshake every day.

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