Milk is a staple in the diets of many countries. From the time toddlers are born, Doctors and health experts emphasize the importance of “getting in enough milk” in the diet of children so that they can develop and build strong bones.

But what happens as we get older?

Do we need to drink milk?

If you do, what is the best kind of milk? I usually think of things from the perspective of gut-health ease, so let’s get started.

Here, you’ll explore what is the best milk for gut health.

It is found that the first line of defense in treating nutrition symptoms is to get rid of dairy (cow’s milk). Dairy is loaded with lactose, a sugar in milk that is not well tolerated by a significant portion of the populace.

Let’s get started with the best milk for gut health.

Best Milk for Gut Health: The Healthiest Milks Digestive Health

The belief is that it’s safe to drink or consume cow’s milk if you’re lactose intolerant. If you’re lactose intolerant or follow a dietary regimen (vegan or paleo, for example.) It’s possible to seek alternatives to milk made of plants.

A brief description of the various kinds of milk on the market, as well as their nutritional significance, is as follows:

Cow milk

Cow milk is extracted from cows’ mammary glands. It is rich in calcium and protein, and vitamin B12.

Extremely difficult to digest for those who suffer from lactose intolerance or have stomach problems.

Soy milk

It is made from soybean and purified water.

According to one study, an 8-ounce bottle contains about 80 calories and 7 grams of protein.

Almond milk

It is made from almonds that have been crushed using water that has been treated.

Also, it’s low on calories (as it’s not sweetened) and contains protein. It’s usually fortified with calcium/vitamin D and is a fantastic source of vitamin A and E.

Negative: typically has thickeners such as carrageenan. It can cause stomach pain.

Oat milk

It is produced by mixing and soaking Oats made from steel before forming Oats.

Allergen friendly: lactose-free/dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and typically gluten-free (if made with gluten-free oats). Eight ounces of a cup typically contains 120 calories and 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams fiber. It’s a good source of B-vitamins; however, it requires Vitamin D and calcium supplements.

Harmful Carbs and calories are higher. However, there is no protein.

Coconut milk

It is produced from both coconut’s clear and white flesh.

It’s not high in protein, calories and carbohydrates, yet it offers 4 grams of saturated fat in a cup. It’s lactose-free and dairy-free. However, it’s not widely accepted by people who suffer from IBS.

Rice milk

They are made of milled brown or white rice and water.

In most cases, it is made up of thickeners, such as carrageenan, which is difficult to be digested by your digestive system. It’s an excellent option for those with severe allergies since it isn’t made up of dairy, gluten, soy or nuts.

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Effects of Milk on Gut Health

Do you love cheese, milk, butter, milk, and cream?

It’s not just you. But you might be thinking about what these foods do to the health of your gut, even in small quantities.

Much of the recent research has focused on the diversity comprised of millions of bacteria and other animals that live in the human guts, also known as the microbiome, or the microbiome of the gut and how it impacts the health of humans.

The findings have been thorough: the microbiome is believed to have been connected to everything from heart diseases and mental health problems. So how does the milk you drink alter it?

The food we consume affects the microbiome in our digestive tracts, and milk is no exception.

Recent studies have revealed that the relationship between the health of your gut and milk products is quite complex in ways that we hadn’t thought of previously.

For example, we have learned that the microflora in the gut of healthy babies may “cure” milk allergies when implanted into mice. There is no evidence to suggest that those who are dairy-lovers need to cut their dairy intake immediately and totally. Moderation seems to be the best for the gut microbiome due to the numerous impacts that various dairy products have on health and bacteria. 

best milk for gut health - The Healthiest Milks

Breast Milk forms your Gut Health after Birth

A study from 2016 showed that breast milk was the most nutritious food source. It creates bacteria in babies’ gut, which helps protect them and their developing immune systems.

“Human milk transmits lactoferrin; an iron-binding glycoprotein that protects the infant’s gut that isn’t developed from colonization by pathogens,” was noted—by science in 2018.

In 2017, a single gut bacterium, Bifidobacterium longum, evolved to live on sugar and can only be found exclusively in infant’s milk.

Breast milk is responsible for an entirely different number of gut microbes when you’re breastfeeding. If you’re a breastmilk-feeding mom, you’ll have a gut microbiome that’s distinct from those who eat with formula. It’s unknown whether this can significantly impact human health, but it does indicate that breast milk is evolving to have a distinct influence on infants’ guts since the moment we’re born.

Milk Protein Has a Big Effect on Gut Amino Acids

Milk is a source of many different components that affect your digestive tract.

The most common protein present in dairy is casein. It is used as a supplement to aid the growth of muscles.

Research has found that casein has many amino acids, also known as BCAAs. The more BCAAs you’ve got in your gut, the greater the levels of Akkermansia and Bifidobacterium organisms, and the younger the microbiome of your gut appears (yes, it demonstrates aging like us).

Milk Probiotics Are Beneficial for Gut Functions

Much of the press coverage that is positive about dairy items and the gut’s health centers on the process of fermentation.

Research has repeatedly shown that fermented Dairy products, such as yogurt, milk and kefir, are a source of probiotics or other compounds that encourage bacterial growth and ingestion of these can aid improve the health of your gut.

Indeed, a study from 2015 showed that milk is among the most beneficial sources of “carrying” probiotics into the body.

What do fermented milk products do to the gut?

A study published in Nature in 2014 revealed that drinking fermented dairy products increased the gut production of butyrate, a substance well-known to improve digestion, and also reduce Bilophila wadsworthia bacteria. This is associated with intestinal problems such as IBS.

The fermented dairy product also decreased intestinal hypersensitivity in rats during a study in 2012.

If you are a fan of dairy, you should concentrate on these areas of the dairy products spectrum to ensure that your gut can thrive.

A Diet Low in Dairy and High in Healthy Fats Improves Gut Health

Moderation is the primary word used to describe dairy consumption. The Mediterranean diet consists of olive oil, assorted fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and nuts; moderate consumption of fish, poultry, and red wine; and a lower intake of dairy products.

A study from 2017 found that Western diets rich in dairy and red meat led to a substantial decrease in the number of bacteria from all kinds and beneficial Bifidobacterium as well as Eubacterium species” within the stomach.

Numerous studies have proven that dairy and meat diets can cause the digestive tract to become less balanced. This can be detrimental to general health, from digestive to immune systems. The scientific consensus is not to take a risk on dairy to make sure that your digestive health is kept in check.

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Probiotic Strains in Milk: Good Bacteria Found in Milk

The human gut microbiota is filled with billions of microorganisms. Sure have a positive effect and are believed to play an essential part in metabolism, digestion and brain function, as well as immunity and absorption of nutrients.

Certain foods may harm your health and can cause illnesses. Certain foods like soy, natto, pickles, sauerkraut, the milk derivatives are rich in beneficial bacteria that can help balance the gut flora. These microorganisms are referred to as probiotics and help maintain general well-being.

Following are the probiotics strains available in the milk.


Lactobacilli, a bacterium found in milk, is part of the family of Lactobacillus and is comprised of several species, like L. delbrueckii, L. acidophilus, and L. helveticus.

Based on the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Bifidum could dramatically reduce cholesterol levels within six weeks.

L. acidophilus can enhance the body’s capacity to absorb iron, folate, vitamin B-12, and other vital nutrients.

Clinical studies in Applied and Environmental Microbiology indicate that this bacterium blocks cholesterol absorption and protects against atherosclerosis.

In addition, it could aid in relieving symptoms of gastric ulcers and speed up healing. The microorganism can reduce inflammation, enhance the function of your liver and maintain your immune system’s strength.


Milk is also an excellent food source for Lactococcus. L. lactis is a good example. It fights against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms such as Enterococcus Faecium, guarding against infections. Through lab tests, the probiotic bacterium reduced the number of pathogens by 10,000-fold. It is also beneficial in fighting Candida, Aspergillus and other intestinal fungi.

L. lactis has been identified as a natural immune boost. It can help to prevent pneumococcal infections, lessen lung damage in those suffering from influenza (H1N1) and decrease the risk of contracting an illness known as the common cold. Milk could be your best protection against allergies, flu and certain immune-related diseases.


Bifidobacteria play an essential part in the health of your gut. It’s among the most frequently utilized Probiotics found in supplements for digestion, providing numerous advantages. This microorganism is being studied to determine its contribution to cancer treatment and prevention, digestion function and regularity of the colon.

Studies suggest that it could help relieve IBS symptoms, restore the gut flora and fight infections.

This bacteria is responsible for greater than 80 percent of all microorganisms in the digestive tract.

As you age, its levels decline. Certain diseases and allergies like obesity and diabetes have been associated with lower levels of Bifidobacteria.

Milk and dairy products can help you balance your microbiota and boost digestive health.

Let’s Summarize the Best Milk for Gut Health

What is the ideal kind of milk to nourish your digestive system?

Like most things in nutrition, it’s all in the details!

If you’re generally well and do not have issues in digestion, it’s OK to consume milk.

If you feel uncomfortable and bloated when you drink milk, you should try lactose-free dairy or an alternative from plants.

If you’d prefer to choose plant-based milk, ensure that you avoid the addition of carrageenan, sugar, and other thickeners. They are most likely to trigger digestive discomfort.

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Scientific Studies and References
  • Hoffman JR, Falvo MJ. Protein – Which is Best? J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep 1;3(3):118-30. PMID: 24482589; PMCID: PMC3905294.
  • Wu G. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food Funct. 2016 Mar;7(3):1251-65. doi: 10.1039/c5fo01530h. PMID: 26797090.
  • Aslam H, Marx W, Rocks T, Loughman A, Chandrasekaran V, Ruusunen A, Dawson SL, West M, Mullarkey E, Pasco JA, Jacka FN. The effects of dairy and dairy derivatives on the gut microbiota: a systematic literature review. Gut Microbes. 2020 Nov 9;12(1):1799533. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2020.1799533. PMID: 32835617; PMCID: PMC7524346.