Milk today is considered delicacy for many. Specially for vegetarian people milk and milk products is considered key source of protein. Milk along with cereals makes wonderful breakfast. Milk can be enjoyed raw, hot or cold, or along with different flavours. Still in any form milk provides important nutrients to the body.
Health benefits of milk can be attributed to various nutrients like protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Health benefits of milk not only include good supply of health nutrients for human body, but also for preventions of various diseases. Health benefits of milk include excellent health of bones, skin, strong immune system. Milk also benefits in prevention of diseases like hypertension, dental decay, respiratory problems, obesity, dehydration, osteoporosis and others.
We obtain this vital health booster, milk from various animals like cow, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, reindeer, yak, and even horse or donkey. However cow’s milk is considered best wholesome supplement. Nutrient source from milk vary depending its source.
Nutritional value of milk
Milk is essential source of key amino acids. About a cup of milk provides around 15% of daily requirement of protein. However it also contains same amount of fats. Milk is source of Lactose sugar. Many people are intolerant to digestion of Lactose, as it is difficult to digest. Milk contains beneficial omega 3 fatty acid conjugated linolenic acid (CLA). Milk is also good source of vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin and Pantothenic Acid. Milk also supplies essential minerals like calcium, Phosphorus , potassium, selenium and zinc. Apart from all above nutrients, milk is also a source of water which is required for body balance.
CLA has been attributed to help lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis. Calcium and vitamin D in milk promotes strong bones and teeth. Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B are necessary for good cardiovascular health.
Milk can be consumed in various other forms like cheese, butter, curd, yoghurt, clarified butter, milk powder, ice cream, cottage chees, flavoured milk, sweets or along with tea or coffee. Health benefits of milk can be obtained directly or any of its products or forms.
Benefits for strong bones: Milk is natural source of dietary calcium. Calcium forms major part of our body bones. It is essential for growth and proper development of bone structure. Disorders such as osteoporosis can also be prevented by consuming milk daily in adequate quantity. Calcium apart from protecting bones, it protects body from various ailments like arthritis, migraine, premenstrual effects, high blood pressure and obesity.
Healthy teeth: Since childhood, we have been told to drink milk for stronger teeth. Drinking milk as a beverage is not only healthy but also reduces risk of decaying teeth and weak gums by consuming soft drinks. Milk essentially protects the enamel surface of teeth.
Calcium cannot be absorbed by the body without Vitamin D. Milk contains vitamin D and can be fortified with extra Vitamin D to ensure body absorbs calcium required for healthy bones and teeth.
Rehydration: Cold fruit milk shake is so refreshing during summer. Even cold milk coffee. Milk contains ample water content along with other vital minerals which rehydrate body.
Healthy and good looking skin with milk: Milk has been used since ages as moisturizing agent and to improve complexion of skin. Milk along with almonds, turmeric can make your skin fairer and brighter. Milk is extremely beneficial for dry skin. In case your skin is very dry, apply cold milk and honey and let it remain on face for 15-20 minutes, and then wash your face. Cleopatra, the queen of Nile , considered one of the beautiful women of all times, used to bath with milk daily. Use of honey and milk helped her maintain soft and beautiful skin. Even today, milk and milk products are used in number of cosmetics. The lactic acid present in milk is known to aid in removing the dead skin cells, thereby rejuvenating your skin. Along with cow’s milk which is commonly used for skin care, people also use goat’s milk. Although Cleopatra used camel’s milk, other kinds of milk are equally effective for skincare. Goat’s milk has the same pH as human skin and makes skin smooth. Milk along with is good for sensitive skin. Milk along with soy and rice, is considered rehydrating and promotes new skin cell.
Healthy beverage: As found by medical researchers, drinking milk improves intake of vital vitamins and minerals in body. Other carbonated drinks can lower your calcium levels, while consuming milk helps provide body essential calcium.
Drinking cold milk is considered good for stomach acidity.
Gain or lose weight: Milk is such a wholesome food product. It can be used by all people, people who want to lose weight and people who want to gain weight. Milk provides ample supply of fats as well as proteins. Milk proteins help rebuild muscles. Drinking milk after your workout is refreshing too. Along with providing vital minerals and fluids, milk also provides for proteins for rebuilding muscles and tissues. Milk along with banana is considered diet for increasing weight. Toned milk or fat free milk is considered by people who want to lose weight. Milk is good appetizer too.
Drinking milk also de stresses body. Drinking warm milk before going to sleep would relax tense muscles and soothe nerves and provide good sleep. Milk along with almonds is also considered aphrodisiac in ancient Indian civilization.
Despite all these health benefits of milk, some people cannot digest milk. This is due to lactose intolerance. Lactose is sugar present in milk. Human small intestine with help of enzyme lactase, splits lactase into simpler sugars like galactose and glucose which are easier to digest. In some humans, production of lactase is not adequate due to various reasons. This leads to undigested lactose which passes through gastrointestinal tract and serves as nourishment for intestinal microbes, resulting gas, bloating of stomach.
Is organic milk more beneficial than regular milk?
Going organic way has now been a trend. Health benefits of organic milk and that of milk are very much same. Organic milk is milk from cows that have been fed by only organic feed and not treated with any synthetic hormones. Both organic milk and milk have similar nutrients, only difference being absence of any external inorganic constituent. Hence it is difficult to say whether health benefits of organic milk are more that of organic milk.
Having said so, health benefits of milk can be attributed to presence of various nutrients fat, protein, vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and calcium. So enjoy this wonderful wholesome food.