Women with osteoarthritis may be able to slow the progression of the disease by drinking three to seven glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk per week. In a 2-year study of over 2,000 osteoarthritis patients, researchers measured milk consumption and joint width space. Joint width space is an indicator of disease advancement and joint deterioration.
Women who consumed no milk saw an average decrease in width of 0.38mm after two years. Women who consumed between one and six glasses per week showed an average loss of 0.29mm, and those who consumed seven or more glasses only had a 0.26mm decrease in joint space width. For men, milk consumption was not associated with changes in joint space. Interestingly, yogurt consumption did not factor into results, indicating that milk may contain something special for arthritis management that not every dairy product can offer.
Learn more about the study at www.sciencedaily.com.
A study into the dietary habits of 4,000 Taiwanese, begun in 1993, tracked participants’ incidence of mortality, body weight and blood pressure along with dairy consumption. The researchers found that those who consumed no dairy had higher blood pressure, greater body fatness and were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
According to this study’s results, only a small amount of dairy was needed to reap benefits – three to seven servings per week. The best results were for those who consumed five servings spread over the week.
See more on the study at www.sciencedaily.com.
A smaller study of 233 French Canadians supports the results of the above Taiwanese study. These researchers measured levels of trans-palmitoleic acid, a substance found in dairy products believed to offer health benefits. They found that those with higher levels of the acid exhibited lower blood pressure; in men, levels were associated with lower body weight. Researchers also noted that blood glucose levels were lower in those who consumed dairy.
The results suggest that moderate dairy consumption may help to prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity. See more on the study at www.sciencedaily.com.
While the above studies can’t be taken as proof positive that dairy consumption is solely responsible for the positive results, they at the very least suggest that low to moderate intake is not harmful to health. While more research is needed, people won’t likely be harmed by drinking a glass of milk a day or so, and they may be healthier for it.