The health benefits of milk include increased bone strength, smoother skin, stronger immune system, prevention of illnesses such as hypertension, dental decay, dehydration, respiratory problems, obesity, osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer. The beneficial health nutrients obtained from milk are essential for the human body and help prevent a number of chronic ailments.
Introduction to Milk
Milk, quite simply, is a liquid that mammals can create in mammary glands in order to feed their young. The reason mammals have this is because this is what their young are naturally supposed to consume until they are strong enough or old enough to hunt for themselves or eat what their parents typically eat. Humans also have this ability, which is why we have begun to explore the interesting world of milk from other animals, in the hopes that milk could continue to nourish us throughout our lives, rather than simply at the beginning of it. Spoiler Alert…we were right! Milk can be very beneficial to us at all times of our life!
Many animals can provide us with this vital health substance, but cow’s milk is considered the best wholesome supplement for children as well as for adults. It is also the most accessible, while the milk of other animals like buffalo, goats, sheep, camels, reindeer and yak is much more difficult to acquire.
Milk from horses and donkeys can also be consumed by humans, but that is even less common, and much less pleasant to extract.
The health benefits of milk can be achieved from drinking milk directly or by consuming dairy products such as cheese, butter, curd, clarified butter or ghee, dairy whitener, ice cream, cottage cheese or paneer, flavored milk, or milk sweets.
Put it this way, around the world, there are more than 6 billion people who regularly consume some type of food that is based on milk from an animal; it is one of the most essential elements of the human diet, since these animals that create milk are on almost every continent and country.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has clearly mentioned in its Dietary Guidelines to include milk and milk products to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.
Nutritional Facts About Milk
The nutritional value of milk is so well known that people all around the world include it as a staple part of their diet. Adding milk to your daily diet can also help you to achieve a well-balanced diet. Milk is an ideal source of nutrients such as vitamin A, B12, D calcium, carbohydrates, phosphorous, selenium, magnesium, protein, zinc and riboflavin. The Teagasc Dairy Products Research Center at Moorepark, Fermoy has reported recent research on using milk to neutralize the cholesterol content of the body. Most of the caloric content in milk comes from the natural sugars found in it. These are essential to the overall functioning and health of the body, and they reduce the chances of a number of deficiencies, and boost health in a variety of ways! Let’s explore more about the important impact of milk and milk-based products on our health!
Milk deficiency can cause severe anemia, osteoporosis and other related illnesses. The consumption of milk is essential for maintaining good health and having the energy and strength to do normal activities.
It is the best source of calcium for all age groups, and since calcium is considered the most important mineral in the healthy growth, functioning, repair, and durability of the bones and skeletal system, milk will always have a significant role in people’s diets, as a way of preventing calcium deficiency or osteoporosis.
Health Benefits of Milk
Milk is an extremely beneficial drink for the health of the human body. Some of the advantages of drinking this life-giving nectar are as follows:
Calcium: Milk is the best source of calcium that we can supply to our body. Calcium protects the body from major chronic ailments such as cancer, bone loss, arthritic conditions, migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome, and obesity in children. It also functions as a healthy aid in losing unwanted fats and reducing weight. Calcium is an essential mineral in the creation of bone matter, and bone mineral density measurements rely highly on calcium as the main support structure of our body. Milk is the quickest, least expensive, and most readily available source of calcium on the market.
Heart Health: Although most of the focus of calcium is on bones, it has also been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and the chances of strokes. Two long-term studies in Japan have positively shown a correlation between daily calcium intake and a reduction in stroke, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, grab some milk for a healthier heart! Furthermore, the magnesium and potassium content in milk both act as vasodilators, which reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow to vital organs, and reduces the stress on the heart and cardiovascular system. The peptides found in milk are also believed to inhibit the creation of ACEs, (angiotensin-converting enzymes), which increase blood pressure.
Healthy Bones: As mentioned above, milk is rich in calcium, which is essential for growth and the proper development of strong bone structure. Bone disorders such as osteoporosis can be prevented with a significant daily intake of milk. Children deprived of cow’s milk have an increased chance of suffering from bone fractures when injured, and their healing time will be significantly higher if they don’t have a steady stream of calcium to aid in the regrowth of bone matter.
Healthy Teeth: Encouraging children and youngsters to drink milk will give them excellent dental health, as milk protects the enamel surface against acidic substances. Drinking milk for energy and health would also lessen the frequency of children consuming soft drinks, thus reducing the risk of decaying teeth and weak gums.
Rehydration: Fluids are an integral part of the human body, and the body needs to be frequently replenished with liquids as they are used up within the body.
Water is essential for growing children and they must drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid every day. Milk contains a good quantity of water molecules and is considered the best fluid for rehydration, outside of drinking actual water. Water makes up more than 80% of our body mass, and the balance of fluids in our body is essential for every single process in our body. That is why dehydration is such a major and dangerous problem, as it threatens all of our metabolic functions. So, if you can’t find any water, grab a glass of milk!
Skin Care: Have you heard of Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile? She was considered to be one of the most beautiful women of all time. Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that she had a tradition of taking a milk bath every single day!
She used to mix honey and milk in the bath, which enabled her to maintain soft and beautiful skin. For thousands of years, milk has been known to benefit our skin by helping us maintain a fair and smooth complexion. Therefore, milk and milk products are used in a number of cosmetic preparations to this day!
Milk is also good for treating dry skin, so if you have dry skin, apply milk on your face and other affected areas, leave it on for about 15 minutes and then wash it off.
The milk solids nourish and smooth your skin. The lactic acid present in milk is known to aid in removing dead skin cells, thereby rejuvenating your skin and keeping it fresh. Finally, simply drinking milk, due to its impressive content of vitamin A, helps to boost the health of the skin from inside the body, particularly since the antioxidant potential of milk helps to eliminate free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that are partially responsible for premature aging of the skin, resulting in wrinkles and age spots.
Improving Diet and Vitamin Intake: According to medical research, drinking milk considerably improves our intake of vital minerals and vitamins.
A person who consumes a carton of whole milk doubles his chances of fulfilling his calcium requirement for the day, whereas another person consuming a can of carbonated soda may actually lower his calcium levels by 1/3. Calcium, along with all of the other essential minerals listed above, are necessary for the daily diet in order to ensure proper functioning of every aspect of our body.
Acidity Reduction: Consumption of milk products can also help in reducing acidity throughout the body. Drinking cold milk specifically provides relief from acidity.
Wholesome Food: It contains many vitamins and minerals to keep you fit, healthy and strong. A full glass of milk contains vitamins A and B for good eyesight and increasing red blood cell count, carbohydrates for vitality and energy, potassium for proper nerve function, magnesium for muscular function, phosphorous for energy release, and proteins for body repair and growth. It also keeps your body functioning at a youthful level as you get older, more so than some other vitamins and minerals.
A Word of Caution: Some people may have lactose intolerance and may have trouble digesting milk. Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk. The symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, stomach pain, gas and diarrhea. For kids it is advisable to consult your health care provider since this is not so common among children. For adults, lactose free milk and milk products are readily available on the market. You can also drink varieties of soy milk or almond milk to avoid lactose, yet still receive many of the same benefits as mammal-derived milk.
References: Teagasc Dairy Products Research Centre and US Department of Agriculture