Dairy Products and Gut Health - How to Improve Your Digestion

Dairy Products and Gut Health – How to Improve Your Digestion

Gut health is tricky. Almost anything can negatively impact it, from the way we were fed as infants to our current diet, changing the water we drink or the daily stress we have in our lives. As a result, we end up feeling unwell (both physically and mentally) and forced to find supplements or meds that will help us fix our digestive system.

While we won’t claim that dairy is the solution to every problem, it can address many issues. We believe this because we’ve experienced it firsthand. Milk and fermented dairy can assist in making our gut work the way it should and maintaining our overall health. 

Let’s dive into the details of how dairy can improve your gut health.

What does the research say?

There are many studies showing that gut health impacts our overall health and that the gut microbiome is a cornerstone of digestive function.


The microbiome plays an important role in the way our body digests food and absorbs nutrients. Moreover, recent research has linked the health of our gut microbiome to inflammatory bowel disease and even obesity.

Moreover, there’s research on how the food we consume impacts our microbiome and thus our gut health. These studies also explored the impact of fermented foods and how they promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. The latter is one of the science-backed reasons we believe fermented dairy (such as yogurt, kefir, cheeses and other products) is good for our digestive system.

You’ve surely heard about “good” and “bad” bacteria. The latter negatively impact our gut health, while the “good” bacteria are known to benefit it. 

Fermentation, which was initially used as a way to increase the shelf life of food, involves the metabolic process of microorganisms. For instance, to make yogurt, you need to introduce live cultures (microorganisms) to milk. And as they start their metabolic activity, they turn milk into yogurt. Those microorganisms are the “good” bacteria that multiply while the fermented food is, well, fermenting. So when we consume fermented dairy, we also consume these good bacteria.

The microbiome plays an important role in the way our body digests food and absorbs nutrients. Moreover, recent research has linked the health of our gut microbiome to inflammatory bowel disease and even obesity.

Good bad bacteria

Research indicates that the active bacterial cultures found in fermented food are very beneficial to our gut microbiome, as they help it maintain a natural and healthy balance of bacteria.

There’s an easy way to make your own fermented dairy at home and enjoy its benefits. All you need is a pasteurizer! Discover our range of pasteurizers suited for both home needs and small-to-medium dairy farms. You can always drop us a line if you need any help with choosing the right machine!


Why does eating fermented dairy help gut health?

We’ve taken a look at how fermented foods can enrich our gut with good bacteria, but there’s another important detail. Not all good bacteria can survive in our gastrointestinal system because it’s quite aggressive. After all, its purpose is to digest food, which means it’s basically dissolving everything we eat and separating the valuable stuff from the waste.

Many studies have explored how fermented dairy performs in this regard—and the most commonly studied product is yogurt. Researchers examined how well probiotics (the good bacteria) survive, and they found a lot of that bacteria in fecal samples. This means they survive quite well.

Dairy product.

Another study confirmed that individuals who consume fermented dairy products develop greater microbial diversity in their digestive system, an increased amount of good gut bacteria and several different probiotics. In addition, research shows that if one consumes yogurt daily, the amount of pathogens in the gut decreases over time.

Of course, there are still many things that are unknown when it comes to probiotics, dairy and gut health in general. However, fermented dairy products have been proven to benefit our gastrointestinal system. Moreover, it’s better to consume thick fermented dairy (e.g. yogurt) than milk because the former takes longer to be digested. This raises the number of nutrients our body can actually absorb during digestion, while the chances of upsetting our stomach are lower too.

Want to make your own dairy at home? Here’s a recipe for delicious homemade kefir:

Daily stress and dairy

We recently wrote an extensive article on how dairy can lower our stress levels. You can read it here, but we’ll provide a quick recap right now.


Research shows that protein can help individuals fight depression and anxiety. This nutrient helps our nervous system repair itself and deal with stress. As you might already know, dairy is quite high in protein, so consuming it is a good idea. 

Additionally, dairy contains phospholipids that help us keep our brain healthy, improve our ability to focus and increase the amount of mental energy we have.

As mentioned earlier, another thing that helps improve our mental health and lower our stress levels is a healthy gut. So, it’s all connected. An unhealthy gut negatively impacts our mental health, dairy positively impacts our digestive system and a healthy digestive system positively impacts our mental state. Therefore, perhaps just by improving the health of your gut, you can make yourself feel less stressed in your daily life.

Milk Benefits

Finally, we feel happier when we eat something tasty—and dairy products are usually quite delicious. That’s all the more incentive to indulge in your favorite dairy treats.

Stress can take a physical toll too. As much as an unhealthy gut negatively impacts our mental health, lots of stress makes our digestive processes go awry, thus affecting our gut health. You might have noticed that worrying can cause an upset stomach or anxiety can keep us from eating as much as we should. That certainly doesn’t help our gut work properly.

If you want to maintain a healthy gut, you should lower your stress levels. Part of that is keeping your gut healthy. Everything is connected, and fermented dairy products can represent the answer to both issues.

impact health and beauty

Read our article on how dairy products impact your health and beauty: https://milkyday.com/blog/2022/04/26/how-dairy-products-impact-your-health-and-beauty/

What if you’re lactose intolerant?

Lactose intolerance makes your body unable to digest the lactose that’s found in dairy. That could be an issue if you want the digestive benefits of dairy products. These days, though, it’s no longer really a problem.

what is lactose intolerance

First of all, fermented dairy usually contains way less lactose, as it gets broken down by bacteria during the fermentation process. Obviously, the longer the fermentation process is, the less lactose is left in the final product. Greek yogurt is tolerated quite well by many individuals with lactose intolerance. The same goes for other fermented dairy products such as hard cheeses and kefir. 

If you have lactose intolerance, try some store-bought fermented dairy or make your own. For example, you can make homemade yogurt quite easily. Start by consuming fairly small amounts of such products and monitor how you feel. Assuming it goes well, you can gradually increase that amount to reach a specific daily goal. 

You can always go for lactose-free fermented dairy products too. They’re rather popular and often easily accessible in local stores. You can also learn to make your own lactose-free fermented dairy by adding lactase (the lactose-eating enzyme) along with living cultures to your fermented dairy products.

Finally, you can get lactase enzyme pills. These are usually sold over the counter in pharmacies. Take them before you want to indulge in your favorite dairy products so that you can enjoy all the taste and health benefits without experiencing the issues that lactose intolerance brings.

Do you need additional reasons to consume more yogurt and other fermented dairy? Here you go: https://milkyday.com/blog/2018/11/15/7-reasons-why-you-should-drink-yogurt-every-day/

The bottom line

Research suggests that fermented dairy helps improve our gut health, which in turn improves our mental health and general well-being. Therefore, incorporating fermented dairy products into your diet is always a good idea—even if you suffer from lactose intolerance because there are several solutions to this issue.

With that said, you shouldn’t consider dairy products a one-size-fits-all remedy and just mindlessly follow our advice. If you’re struggling with significant gut health issues, you should see your doctor first to figure out the problem. Not all digestive issues can be taken care of by consuming dairy. Some require you to actually take meds and stay under medical supervision.

Girl Drinking Milk

Our gut impacts pretty much every function in our body. As such, it makes perfect sense to pay as much attention to the health of our digestive system as possible. Never dismiss any gut-related symptoms you’re experiencing. Also, consider dairy as a healthy way to support your gut health.

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