An Ayurvedic Explanation of the Health Benefits of Milk and Milk Products

Milk is not a cleansing agent in ayurveda, it is a builder.  Milk, according to ayurveda, is highly recommended for pregnant women, lactating women and children in their growing stages. However, milk should not be taken cold as it is not easy to digest.

Milk preparation pays a key role in bringing out the health benefits of milk. Boiling milk before consuming it destroys the bad bacteria and helps in breaking down the amino acids in it. The health benefits of milk are multiplied when herbs like cinnamon; black pepper and cardamom are added in it.

Ayurveda recommends fresh cow’s milk and goat’s milk only, however, people may not be able to get it easily especially in cities. You can still enjoy maximum health benefits of milk if you prepare it in accordance with the Ayurvedic tips given in this post.

Here is an Ayurvedic take on some milk based products:

1. Cheese:
Cheese is one milk based product which Ayurveda does not completely support. It should be consumed occasionally only. Cheese is oily, salty and difficult to digest. If you must have cheese then you must add black pepper and red chilly on it. Cottage cheese is a better option than pure cheese. Traditionally, onions were added to sandwiches to help in digestion, now it is done for taste.

2. Sour Cream:
Sour cream is sour and hot and difficult to digest. People living in Asian countries, where it is hot and humid for most part of the year, must have less of sour cream as it is difficult to digest.

3. Buttermilk:
Buttermilk is extremely healthy for the body according to ayurveda. You must have it every day as it improves the functioning of small intestines. However, you must avoid commercially sold buttermilk as it has preservatives added in it.  You can have as much of home-made buttermilk as possible. Salty buttermilk is better that sweet buttermilk. You can add little ginger juice and coriander in it to enhance its cooling properties. Buttermilk is a great remedy to cure and avoid heat strokes.

4. Yogurt and curd:
Yogurt is one of the most helpful health benefits of milk based food in ayurveda. Yogurt is an amazing digestive aid in the entire world. Yogurt is a beneficial cure for diarrhea. Yogurt mixed with psyllium is a beneficial drink to treat constipation. Everyday consumption of yogurt helps maintain the balance of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. It helps cure stomach problems like indigestion and bloating. Yogurt must be prepared differently for people of different Doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

-Person who is predominantly Vata can have yogurt everyday in any manner.

-Person who is predominantly Pitta should have sweet yogurt by adding fruits to it to make it more digestible. To further improve the digestive properties add a pinch of turmeric powder to it.

-Person who is predominantly Kapha must have yogurt or curd in gravy form. One can add honey in it to enhance its astringent properties.

5. Ghee:
Ghee or clarified butter is a common food in Indian homes. Ghee has many health benefits of milk such as it helps in improving the bone health, make the mind sharp and make the skin shiny. Ghee is also helpful in a smooth birthing process for pregnant women. Ghee has rejuvenating properties. Ghee is cool in nature and provides the body with the required amount of fat which helps with digestion.

Additional Reading:

The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation

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