Milk and dairy products: some tips for those who follow the endometriosis diet

Author of the blog I Love Being Healthy


⏰ READING TIME: 5 minutes

Hi, it’s so nice to see you on this blog!

Today, I’d like to talk about milk and dairy products… They are so good, aren’t they? No need to tell me that, I go crazy for everything cheesy! There are various food groups to start with, explaining whether you should include them in your daily life and why (in the viewpoint of an anti-inflammatory diet combined with proper dietary supplements, such as Endoplus). However, I decided to begin from right here because milk is the first food that I replaced when, a year and a half ago by now, I chose to change my nutrition habits.

If this is your first time around here, I recommend you to look first at my aprevious article/a> [1], where I illustrate the relationship between endometriosis and nutrition, along with the reasons for trying to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

Instead, if you are already informed about the basic principles of the diet, maybe you know that, in the endometriosis case, milk and dairy products are generally not advisable. Below are two of the scientific studies I have read.

  • “Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study” [2]: this study states that the consumption of dairy products is associated with lower endometriosis risk.
  • “Diet and risk of endometriosis in a population-based case–control study” [3]: this work also reports about a possible reduction of the endometriosis risk in response to the consumption of dairy products. Nonetheless, this correlation is not statistically significant.

Thus, according to these studies, there is apparently no problem in consuming milk and dairy products (on the contrary!). However, note that both these works (along with many others on this topic) analysed the consumption of vitamin D simultaneously with that of milk and dairy products. Therefore, the positive effect on the disease development should probably be attributed to the introduction of vitamin D (which helps the immune system) rather than to the consumption of milk and dairy products.

The endometriosis condition is often associated with a prevalence of estrogen hormones. This means that the women suffering from endometriosis usually have too many estrogens, in general or with respect to the progesterone level. Most dairy products are contaminated by growth hormones and antibiotics, which can increase the toxic loading, consequently enhancing the endometriosis causes.

For this reason, milk and dairy products might have a pro-inflammatory effect and, hence, they are discouraged in an anti-inflammatory diet. Let’s try to understand what to do and which foods to prefer.


Is lactose-free milk OK?

This point is crucial, and I want to make some clarity because it often generates confusion. Lactose is a natural sugar found, in variable concentrations, in milk and dairy products. Lactose-free milk (or delactosed milk) presents all the characteristics of “normal” cow milk. The only difference is that the main sugar present in it (lactose) is already split into its two components (glucose and galactose). Thus, this milk is not less calorific and doesn’t contain fewer sugars since these are just already “separated”. Many people, recently, are choosing to limit or exclude milk and dairy products from their nutrition, often because of food intolerances or digestive problems, which may induce various discomforts (gas, diarrhoea, swelling and/or abdominal pain, nausea, etc.). Lactose-free milk is therefore becoming quite common in the market as an alternative for those who cannot tolerate lactose. Be careful, though! Lactose isn’t necessarily the component that cannot be tolerated! Other milk components or characteristics are often the true responsible for such problems (read this for further information: [4]).


It is demonstrated that milk and dairy products containing β-casein A1 (cow) induce higher inflammation levels than those with β-casein A2 (goat, sheep and buffalo). Thus, the latter ones, except for undesirable effects in singular cases, can still be consumed even within an endometriosis diet, but moderately.

Therefore, in the endometriosis case, where the problems come from casein and not lactose, CONSUMING LACTOSE-FREE MILK IS LIKE CONSUMING COMMON MILK.

Don’t worry, though! There are so many alternatives to taste and test in order to understand what you prefer and can be more suitable for you.

For the daily consumption, I recommend you choosing a vegetal drink, such as the “milk” of almond, coconut, rice, hazelnut, cashew, etc. Besides, did you know that some of these beverages can be easily prepared at home, by using food scraps? Here is what I commonly use!

  1. Almond milk is probably my favourite. Carefully read the label before buying it to verify that the ingredients do not include added sugars (you can also check the grams of sugars present directly in the table reporting the nutritional values). Common supermarkets do not offer many sugar-free options, but you will surely find some alternatives in organic shops. You can even make it directly at home!

    This is my recipe to prepare a half-litre of almond milk:

    📍100 g of almonds
    📍500 g of natural water (filtered or bottled)
    📍1 date (optional, as a sweetener)

    👉 Put the almonds (and the pitted date, if you want to use it) in a bowl and cover them with water.
    👉 Leave the almonds to soak for some hours, better if overnight.
    👉 On the morning, drain the almonds from the soaking water and transfer them into a blender.
    👉 Add part of the half-litre of water and start blending.
    👉 After a minute, add the remaining water and continue blending.
    👉 Filter the mixture. For this purpose, you could use a filtering bag for plant milk as the one available here:! Otherwise, you can just use a bowl and a colander covered with a cotton cloth, in which to pour the obtained liquid.
    👉 An almond powder will remain in the filtering bag (or in the cotton cloth); it is called okara, and you can use it to prepare cakes of biscuits, for breading, add a spoon of it in your smoothie, etc.
    👉 The bowl, instead, will contain your almond milk filtered, ready to be poured in a bottle or the container you want, and kept in the fridge.
    👉 Shake it well before drinking, since the solid part tends to deposit at the bottom!

    📸 You can find the pictures and video of the recipe on my Instagram account ilovebeinghealthy_88, among the highlights!

    With the same procedure, you can prepare at home also the hazelnut, walnut or cashew milk, or you can have fun trying personalised combinations of dried fruits. 🙂

    TIP: I soak the almonds on Friday evening to prepare a litre of milk on Saturday morning, for the weekend. For the rest of the week, instead, I buy the almond milk directly at the supermarket!

  2. Coconut milk is a delicious alternative. Rather than for breakfast, I mainly use it to prepare smoothies – I think that the fresh taste of coconut milk works well! Or even for savoury recipes. For example, you can try the chicken with coconut milk, or prepare fish, shrimp, legumes and/or vegetable curry… The spices present in the curry will soften and counterbalance the sweet taste of the coconut milk, and I assure you that the balance of the dish will be perfect. Coconut yogurt, instead, is a valid vegetal alternative for breakfasts and/or snacks; again, be careful about the labels, you will find some brands that produce it without added sugars, and it could be topped with your favourite fresh and dried fruits.
  3. There are also various vegetal drinks based on cereals (such as rice, spelt, barley, millet and quinoa milks). If you have no gluten intolerance, you can safely include them in your diet; otherwise, you can use those based on gluten-free cereals (rice, millet and quinoa, for example). Rice milk is very rich in simple sugars and, thus, enough sweet on its own; I suggest to use it, for example, to prepare creams or plum cakes so as to reduce the amount of added sweeteners, but avoid to consume it daily. The secret, in any case, is as much variety as possible and to include on rotation all the alternatives allowed in your diet.


And which are the dairy products allowed?

We were saying that the consumption of foods containing only β-casein A2 (and, thus, the exclusion of those containing β-casein A1) could be positive for the health because the nutritional benefits of milk would be preserved, but we did not consider the negative effects of β-casein on the gastrointestinal functions.

Thus, let’s see the other options– without forgetting your personal tolerance to each food, of course! Parmigiano Reggiano, if aged for at least 3 years (36 months), is practically free of lactose and has also an extremely low casein content. All the variations of ricotta are prepared with whey and, hence, are totally free of casein. Milk and dairy products containing β-casein A2 represent another option; goat milk and yogurt are easily available on the market. In your diet, you could also include Pecorino cheeses or even Feta PDO, another tasty cheese produced mainly with sheep milk and a variable percentage of goat milk. And there is also the Buffalo mozzarella, of course!!

Be careful, though, it all depends on your tolerance level. For example, I consume some of the dairy products mentioned above (and, thus, “allowed”) no more than twice a week and, for the rest of the time, I prefer consuming vegetal products. Find your balance, what makes you feel good, possibly with the help of an expert that can support you through this journey.


What about butter?

As a general recommendation, I suggest avoiding it. Forget plant margarine and prefer extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil/butter (which I use mainly as a butter substitute for pastries and biscuits!) and ghee or clarified butter, which are free of lactose and casein, as well as perfect for high-temperature cooking (they can also be easily prepared at home!).


In conclusion…

Milk and its derivatives are rich in nutrients and, thus, should not be automatically banned from the diet, unless in the case of specific intolerances. There is not a unique solution for everybody, and the following aspects must be taken into consideration.

  1. Individual capacity of digesting dairy products: some of us can digest dairy products better than others. Sometimes, only some of these products are tolerated. Find the types and quantities that are good for you!
  2. Quality of the milk and dairy products consumed: it depends on their manufacturing (industrial products differ from those of local farms!) and type (a yogurt based on organic whole milk or kefir is not comparable with the cheese present in a burger!).
  3. General diet: many people can eat and tolerate only small amounts of dairy products. The tolerance and digestion capacity for various foods usually increases when the diet is “improved” on a general level.

I hope that this article helped you to better understand the relationship of milk and dairy products with endometriosis and make some clarity. Otherwise, feel free to ask me whatever you want, and I will be happy to answer the best I can.

See you next time!


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[1] Endometriosis and anti-inflammatory diet? What you need to know… URL consultato il 27 ottobre 2019.
[2] Harris, H. R., Chavarro, J. E., Malspeis, S., Willett, W. C., & Missmer, S. A. (2013). Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study. American journal of epidemiology, 177(5), 420-430.
[3] Trabert, B., Peters, U., De Roos, A. J., Scholes, D., & Holt, V. L. (2011). Diet and risk of endometriosis in a population-based case–control study. British journal of nutrition, 105(3), 459-467.
[4] La vera causa della intolleranza al latte e derivati, su URL consultato il 27 ottobre 2019.

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