Throughout history, people have been enjoying milk in every part of the world. Essentially, it is the nutrient-rich fluid which female mammals produce in order to feed their young. There are many types of milk produced in the world, but cow, sheep and goat milk are the most popular types consumed in western countries. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the consumption of milk in the nutrition world, so you may wonder whether milk is healthy or not.
Here are 5 science-supported health benefits of milk, allowing you to make an informed decision regarding whether or not milk is for you.
1. Milk Is A Rich Source Of Nutrients
In terms of nutrition, milk has an impressive profile.
As a matter of fact, it is designed to fully nourish newborn animals.
One cup (244 grams) of whole cow's milk contains the following nutrients:
Protein: 8 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Calcium: 28% of the RDA
Vitamin D: 24% of the RDA
Riboflavin (B2): 26% of the RDA
Vitamin B12: 18% of the RDA
Potassium: 10% of the RDA
Phosphorus: 22% of the RDA
Selenium: 13% of the RDA
In addition to vitamins and minerals, milk is an excellent source of nutrients, including "nutrients of concern," which are under-consumed by many populations.
Potassium, B12, calcium, and vitamin D are present in this product, three nutrients that are lacking in many society's diets today.
Vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, and thiamine are also present in milk.
Also, it contains a variety of fatty acids, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids.
Several health benefits have been linked to the consumption of linoleic acid and omega-3 essential fatty acids, including a reduction in diabetes and heart disease risk.
There is a wide range of nutrition content in milk depending on factors such as the amount of fat it contains, the diet it grew in and the treatment it received.
The milk from cows that eat mainly grass, for example, contains significantly higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
Moreover, organic and grass-fed cow's milk contain higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, both of which help reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress.
2. It is a good source of high-quality protein
One cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
A protein is an important component of many vital functions in the body, including growth and development, cellular repair and immune system regulation.
The milk we consume is considered a "complete protein," meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids in which our bodies can perform at their best.
There are two main types of proteins that are found in milk - casein and whey protein. Both of these proteins are considered to be high-quality proteins.
The majority of the protein in cow's milk consists of casein, which makes up 70-80% of the total protein contents. Whey makes up about 20%.
The branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine found in whey protein have been linked to health benefits.
There is some evidence that branch-chain amino acids can significantly help build muscle, prevent muscle loss, and provide fuel for the exercise that we perform.
In several studies, it has been found that drinking milk reduces the risk of age-related muscle loss.
As a matter of fact, it has been found that full-body muscle mass and better physical performance in older adults have been associated with greater consumption of milk and milk products .
In addition, milk has been shown to have the ability to boost muscle repair in athletes.
Many studies have been conducted that have proven that drinking milk after a workout will reduce muscle damage, promote muscle repair, increase strength and even decrease muscle soreness.
Furthermore, it provides a natural alternative to highly processed protein drinks that are marketed toward post-workout recovery purposes.
3. Milk is beneficial to bone health
A healthy bone is one of the many benefits associated with drinking milk.
The reason for this is that it contains a combination of highly nutritious nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and (when it comes to grass-fed, full-fat dairy, Vitamin K2), among others.
The nutrients listed above are essential for the maintenance of strong, healthy bones.
It is estimated that 99% of your body's calcium is stored in your bones and teeth.
The nutrients your body needs for calcium absorption are in milk, including vitamin D, vitamin K, phosphorus, and magnesium.
If you add milk and dairy products to your diet, you might be able to prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Milk and dairy products have been linked to a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially in older adults.
Furthermore, milk is also a good source of protein, a nutrient that is essential for bone health.
The fact is, protein actually makes up about 50% of the volume of a bone along with around one third of its mass.
It has been suggested that eating more protein may protect you from bone loss, especially if you are among the women that don't consume enough dietary calcium.
4. Prevents weight gain
Milk consumption has been linked to a lower risk of obesity in several studies.
In an interesting twist, this benefit has only been linked to whole milk.
In a study of 145 Latino children aged three to five, higher milk fat consumption was significantly associated with a reduced risk of childhood obesity.
It was also found in another study including over 18,000 middle-aged and elderly women that eating high-fat dairy products was associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity.
It is known that milk contains a variety of nutrients that may contribute to weight loss and prevent weight gain.
Its high protein content, for instance, can help you feel full for a longer period of time, which could prevent you from overeating.
In addition, conjugated linoleic acid, found in milk, has been studied for its ability to stimulate weight loss by stimulating fat breakdown and inhibiting fat synthesis.
In addition, many studies have found a link between diets rich in calcium and a lower risk of obesity.
Studies have shown that people with a higher intake of dietary calcium are at a lower risk of being overweight or obese.
Studies have shown an increase in calcium intake contributes to fat breakdown and fat absorption in the body, as well as a reduction of blood cholesterol levels as well.
5. Milk Has a Wide Range of Uses
Milk is a nutritious beverage with many health benefits.
Furthermore, it can be easily incorporated into your dietary plan.
Try these ideas for incorporating milk into your daily routine:
Smoothies: It is an excellent, high-protein base for healthy smoothies. Combine it with greens and fruit for a healthy snack.
Breakfast cereals or hot oatmeal: A tasty, more nutrient-dense alternative to water when making breakfast cereals or hot oatmeal in the morning.
You can add it to your morning cup of coffee or tea to give it a boost of beneficial nutrients in the morning.
If you're making soup, try adding it to your favorite soup recipe for a boost of flavor and nutrition.
Even if you're not a fan of milk, there are other dairy products that have similar nutritional profiles.
For instance, unsweetened yogurt made from milk contains the same amount of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.
The use of yogurt is a good replacement for processed dips and toppings.
It's Not for Everyone
Some may think milk is a good choice because they are able to digest it, whereas others cannot digest it or choose not to consume it.
There are many people who are unable to tolerate dairy products, including milk, because they are not able to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk.
Around 65% of the world's population suffers from lactose intolerance, making it one of the most common nutritional disorders.
There are many people who choose not to consume milk or dairy products due to dietary restrictions, health concerns, or ethical concerns.
The result of this has led to a wide variety of nondairy milk alternatives, including:
The almond milk, made from almonds, is a plant-based alternative that is relatively low in fat and calories compared to cow's milk.
The coconut milk has a creamy texture and mild flavor because it is made from the flesh of coconuts blended with water.
-Cashew milk: The combination of cashews and water makes this subtly sweet and rich substitute for milk.
Soy milk: Low in saturated fat, high in protein, and mild in taste.
The hemp milk alternative is derived from hemp seeds and provides a variety of high quality, plant-based protein in a concentrated form.
oat milk: this type of milk substitute is very mild in flavor, thicker in consistency, and can be added to coffee to make it more enjoyable.
Rice milk is an excellent option for those with sensitivities or allergies, because it is the least allergenic of all the nondairy milks.
If you are looking for a dairy-free milk substitute, keep in mind that many of these products contain additives such as sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives, and thickeners.
When comparing brands, choosing a product with a limited amount of ingredients is a good move. Make sure to read the labels carefully to determine which one best suits your needs.
Try to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet by choosing unsweetened varieties where possible.
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