6 Incredible Cow Milk Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Cow milk seems to be everywhere and is often taken for granted, but it may have many important health benefits, possibly including its potential ability to aid in weight loss, build strong bones and teeth, boost the immune system, reduce fat, protect the heart, eliminate inflammation, and help stimulate growth.

Cow Milk

No matter where you are on the planet, you’ve almost certainly come across cow milk. In most parts of the world, it is the primary animal milk consumed by humans, although goat, sheep, and even camel milk are popular based on the availability of animals. Cow milk (derived from bovines) is intended for sucking by young cows, just as human infants are often nursed with human breast milk. However, the nutritional value and availability of cow’s milk have made it one of the most in-demand liquids on the planet. More than 6 billion people on the planet drink milk on a semi-regular basis, which means that these animals are an incredibly important part of our global nutritional needs. In fact, most governments have set recommendations for the amount of milk that children should consume on a daily basis. The role of milk in normal growth and development is extremely important, and parents around the world know it. [1]

A jar and 2 glasses of cow's milk on a red cloth

Cow milk is loaded with numerous essential nutrients and is known as a healing food. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Milk, fluid, 1% fat, without added vitamin A and vitamin D
Serving Size :
Water [g]89.92
Energy 42
Energy [kJ]177
Protein [g]3.37
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.97
Ash [g]0.75
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]4.99
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]5.2
Lactose [g]5.2
Calcium, Ca [mg]125
Iron, Fe [mg]0.03
Magnesium, Mg [mg]11
Phosphorus, P [mg]95
Potassium, K [mg]150
Sodium, Na [mg]44
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.42
Copper, Cu [mg]0.01
Manganese, Mn [mg]0
Selenium, Se [µg]3.3
Fluoride, F [µg]2.6
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.19
Niacin [mg]0.09
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.36
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.04
Folate, total [µg]5
Folate, food [µg]5
Folate, DFE [µg]5
Choline, total [mg]17.7
Betaine [mg]0.6
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0.47
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]14
Retinol [µg]13
Carotene, beta [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]47
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.01
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units [IU]1
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.63
4:0 [g]0.02
6:0 [g]0.02
8:0 [g]0.01
10:0 [g]0.03
12:0 [g]0.03
14:0 [g]0.09
15:0 [g]0.01
16:0 [g]0.29
17:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.13
20:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.28
14:1 [g]0.01
15:1 [g]0
16:1 [g]0.02
16:1 c [g]0.02
17:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.25
18:1 c [g]0.21
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
18:2 [g]0.03
18:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.03
18:2 i [g]0
18:3 [g]0
18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]0
18:1 t [g]0.04
Cholesterol [mg]5
Tryptophan [g]0.04
Threonine [g]0.14
Isoleucine [g]0.17
Leucine [g]0.32
Lysine [g]0.28
Methionine [g]0.09
Cystine [g]0.02
Phenylalanine [g]0.17
Tyrosine [g]0.17
Valine [g]0.22
Arginine [g]0.1
Histidine [g]0.1
Alanine [g]0.11
Aspartic acid [g]0.29
Glutamic acid [g]0.76
Glycine [g]0.07
Proline [g]0.33
Serine [g]0.2
Sources include : USDA [2]

Cow Milk Nutrition Facts

Cow milk is high in protein, vitamin B, vitamin D, various minerals, organic compounds, and antioxidants that can affect and stimulate the body in many ways. [3]

Health Benefits of Cow Milk

With the milk being packed with a range of nutrients, it is very difficult to not let it be a part of your life. Let’s take a detailed look at the health benefits of cow milk.

May Strengthen Bones and Teeth

Perhaps the most renowned benefit of drinking milk is to maintain your bone health. Entire advertising campaigns have been dedicated to the concept that milk builds strong bones, and it is indeed quite true. The potentially high content of calcium and other essential minerals necessary for bone density, in addition to proteins, are all available in cow milk, which makes it an important dietary consideration for not only your bones but also your teeth. As you age, the bone-mineral density increases, and consuming milk can help you keep up your strength. [4]

May Improve Heart Health

Grass-fed cows tend to have a high content of omega-3 fats in their milk, and while this varies depending on where the animal grazes, and on what, the benefits are still present in most varieties of milk. Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good” form of cholesterol in the body, which can actually help improve heart health and prevent the onset of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks or strokes. [5]

May Aid in Weight Loss

Research has shown that milk can aid in weight loss for a number of reasons. It can help satiate your hunger due to its high protein content, along with contributing a low level of calories. Also, due to its metabolic-boosting abilities and protein, it can help provide more energy and prevent one from developing a sedentary lifestyle. Higher metabolism and more activity lead to weight loss. [6]

May Aid in Inflammatory Issues

Milk has often been recommended as a remedy for everything from gout and arthritis to respiratory distress and burns on the skin. The combination of complete animal proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidant compounds in milk make it an incredible anti-inflammatory substance. There’s a reason why people drink milk following a spicy meal. The unique blend of nutrients can soothe inflammation as well, improving the efficiency of digestion and absorption of nutrients. [7]

May Facilitate Growth and Development

As you surely know, protein is an important part of our bodily functions, but there are different types of protein. Cow milk contains “complete” proteins, which means that they are directly useful to our body, both in the production of energy as well as in growth and natural development. As children, it is very important to drink milk on a regular basis, as research has largely concluded that growth and development, both physical and mental, can be boosted by this nutritious and natural drink. [8]

May Boost Immunity

Milk is about more than just calcium and protein; antioxidant compounds like vitamin E, selenium and zinc can also be found in milk and can seek out dangerous free radicals throughout the body that may be causing mutations or chronic illnesses. Research has already linked the consumption of natural grass-fed cow milk to improving immunity and protection against diseases. It can also improve the appearance and youthfulness of your skin. [9]

Word of Caution: There is some debate about the potential side effects of excessive milk consumption. From research on prostate cancer to Parkinson’s disease and CMA (Cow’s Milk Allergy), there are valid claims and research that show cow milk to be dangerous under very specific conditions and consumption levels. Before making a major boost to your milk intake, speak to your doctor, who may understand more about the possible effects of milk on your system. However, for most people, milk is a very wise choice for a daily diet. [10]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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