Milk probably tops the more complete liquid food options available today and the benefits of milk are many. A lactating mother’s milk is the first food item ingested by an infant and milk has an equally important role to play in the later years of an individual’s life. Most lactating animals’ milk can be ingested and is capable of being digested by the body. Milk is obtained from various sources and the most famous source of milk is the humble cow. Buffalo milk, goat’s milk as well as sheep milk is also widely available. Camel milk, yak milk and reindeer milk are considered exotic in most parts of the world as they are available only in the regions where these animals thrive.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium as well as the necessary vitamins and potassium. Milk is usually pasteurized, homogenized and toned before it is packaged. Homogenization of milk is basically to even out and equally distribute the fat content present in the milk to give a uniform taste and flavoring. Pasteurization is mainly done to remove any harmful bacterial content that might develop in the milk as it serves as an excellent substratum for bacterial growth if left untreated. Pasteurization is the main reason behind the extended shelf life of packaged milk.
Milk and dairy products are instrumental in fulfilling the calcium and protein requirements of the body that play an important role in strengthening the bones as well as the teeth. It is recommended to consume milk thrice a day to fulfill the dietary requirements of calcium and vitamin and also to realize the wholesome benefit of milk intake.
Milk is a colloid composed of various enzymes, vitamins, minerals, protein as well as fat. Since it has a varied combination of different essential nutrients, both adults as well as children stand to benefit from this wholesome, power packed, balanced liquid food item. The health benefits of milk consumption are mainly due to the following constituents:
- Enzymes: Some of the important enzymes present in cow’s milk include lactase, lipase, and proteinase.
- Vitamins: Except for Vitamin C, milk contains most other essential vitamins required by the body. Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 are found in milk, both of which have extremely beneficial effects on the cardio vascular system.
- Carbohydrates: Lactose present in milk consists of simple sugars galactose and glucose. Sugar components are essential for providing the necessary energy for the various functions of the body.
- Beneficial bacteria: Several beneficial bacteria are added to raw milk. These bacteria help in making milk more acceptable by the body and the digestive system.
- Fat: Milk contains a decent proportion of fat and cholesterol the three different types of fatty acids are present in milk –Saturated, Monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acid in cow’s milk is around 2.5 grams per 100 grams of milk.
The Benefits of Milk in our Everyday Diet – Why Milk should be made an Integral Part
A balanced diet is essential to fulfill the nutrient requirements of the body. Macro as well are micro nutrients should be included in one’s everyday diet. Milk could be dubbed as a wholesome choice as in contains a good amount of vitamins and calcium necessary for the body. The most prominent things which are missing in milk are probably vitamin C and iron. Except for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and who are allergic to cow’s milk, most people can benefit greatly from this extremely affordable package of good health.
Children are probably the ones who are urged the most to consume milk on a regular basis. Inculcating the habit of including milk in one’s breakfast is a very healthy diet habit that has positive effects on one’s health not only during childhood, but for the days to come as well.
- Milk contains various micro nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and phosphates that are required by the body to regulate the various functions of the different organ systems. Potassium is essential for the proper function of the circulatory system and helps in maintaining optimum blood pressure. Milk is one of the best sources of everyday potassium that is required to be supplanted via diet.
- Milk is probably one of the most preferred options of calcium intake. Calcium is required by the body, mainly for strengthening the skeletal system.
- Milk is one of the best protein sources for vegetarians who do not have the benefit of the various animal sources of protein.
- Cow’s milk contains around 66 kilo calories of energy while buffalo and sheep’s milk have higher energy content.
Benefits of Calcium Intake through Milk – Healthy Bones and Teeth
Apart from the obvious benefits to the skeletal system and bone strengthening, calcium plays an important role in shielding the body from a host of different ailments such as migraine, arthritis as well as obesity. The calcium content of cow’s milk stands at around 120 milligrams per 100 grams of milk, while it is around 200 mg for per 100 grams of buffalo’s milk.
Calcium is important both for men as well as women, but women need to concentrate more on calcium and milk intake as the chances of contracting osteoporosis is greater in women than in men. Osteoporosis refers to the condition where the bone density decreases drastically and the bones become highly vulnerable to cracks and fractures. The calcium present in milk helps in strengthening the bones and regular intake of milk enhances the calcium cache of the body and helps prevent or at least, delay the onset of osteoporosis.
Calcium intake is also associated with positive results for people suffering from kidney disorders. Studies point to the benefits of kidney stone prevention with calcium intake and milk consumption.
Milk and Weight Loss
Calcium rich foods are known to have a positive effect on one’s weight and cow’s milk should be incorporated into the diet plan to see the desired effects at the earliest. The benefits of milk consumption with respect to weight loss can be witnessed gradually over the weeks. Diets that include milk show better results when it comes to weight reduction, especially in the abdomen area. This directly is related to the reduced risk of various other weight and obesity related health issues that may arise later on.
High Quality Protein Intake and Rich source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Forget artificial protein supplement capsules and shakes; Milk is one of the easily available low cost protein rich food items. Cow and goat’s milk contain approximately 3.2 grams of protein per 100 grams of milk, while buffalo and sheep’s milk have a higher percentage.
Cow’s milk is one of the best sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids that help in maintaining a healthy and balanced nervous system.
Milk and Glowing Skin
Milk works wonders on the skin, both when ingested as well as the topical treatment and the benefits of milk when it comes to skin care was realized and utilized since the fabled times of Cleopatra. Milk and honey is considered to be the open secret to glowing and healthy skin and this combination is used in several cosmetic preparations such as lotions, creams and cleansers as well.
Milk also has anti oxidant and anti ageing property and is believed to postpone the ageing process. Regular consumption of milk and dairy products helps in keeping the skin well hydrated, supple and soft.
Milk Consumption and Cancer Prevention
Milk is believed to guard the body against cancer attacks. Calcium plays an important role in reducing the incidence of cancer, especially that of the colon as well as the rectum. The Conjugated Linoleic Acids present in milk are believed to serve as the protecting agents against cancerous growth and proliferation.
Benefits of Milk When Consumed Raw
Raw milk is rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acids as well as mega 6 fatty acids essential for a healthy immune system. It also contains various beneficial bacteria as well as a host of amino acids required by the body for healthy metabolism. The cancer fighting properties of raw milk are much stronger than that of pasteurized milk and the health benefits are greater when consumed raw.