Love milk, cheese, butter, and cream? You're not alone — but you may be wondering what dairy does to your gut health, even in small doses. A lot of science recently has focussed on the population of millions of bacteria and other creatures that live inside human guts, known as the gut microflora or microbiome, and how it affects human health. The results have been pretty comprehensive: the microbiome has been linked to everything from heart disease to mental health issues. So how does a dose of dairy affect it?
What we eat actively shapes the microbiome in our guts, and dairy is no exception. Recent studies have found that the link between gut health and dairy products is pretty complex, in ways we didn't anticipate before; for instance, we now know that the gut microflora of healthy infants can "cure" milk allergies when implanted into mice. And evidence doesn't suggest that dairy-lovers should cut out their intake of dairy immediately and completely. Moderation seems to be best for the gut microbiome, because of the many varied effects that different dairy products have on its bacteria and health. If you'd like to know how your ice cream has affected your gut, read on.