Milk To Boost Immune System
Milk has been the epitome of eating healthy in our country. Everyone’s childhood memories are of their mothers either running behind them to make them drink milk or that they enjoyed drinking milk. It was a non-negotiable part of breakfast, always has been and always will be. But have we ever asked ourselves that why is it so important to drink milk, what does it do? Let’s find out. Here is a list of five benefits of milk, according to various studies done across the world.
Good for diabetes patients
A study recently found that blood glucose levels can be kept in control by drinking milk in the morning. Those suffering from type 2 diabetes can benefit from this. Dr Douglas Goff, of the University of Guelph in Canada and the lead author of the study, says if high-protein milk is eaten first thing in the morning alongside high-carbohydrate cereal, it will release gastric hormones that slow down the process of digestion and induce a feeling of fullness. This would ensure that the person consumes less food which will keep their blood sugar and risk of obesity too.
Less chances of catching allergies
Raw milk, which is the unpasteurised and unhomogenised milk given by grass-fed cows, has always been criticised. But this milk has more benefits than anyone can imagine. An investigation into this had revealed that the chances of one being admitted into hospital from a bacterial illness caused by raw milk is three times less than their chances of dying in a plane crash. Milk contains nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D and immunoglobulins that boost the immune system and in turn reduce the risk of allergies.
Makes the heart healthy
While we mostly relate milk with bone-strengthening calcium, it can help reduce cardiovascular diseases and chances of one getting a stroke. Milk also has magnesium and potassium that can help lessen blood pressure and increase blood flow to vital organs that reduces the pressure on the heart as well as the cardiovascular system.
Betters brain functioning
For children, milk should be a staple as it is a good source of B vitamins, which facilitate the brain to function well and keep the sleep-wake cycles intact. Cow’s milk, specifically, is beneficial for children because it possesses a low content of linoleic acid while having a more favourable LA/alpha-linolenic ratio. This ensures that the DHA levels in milk are what the kids need.
Relaxes muscles and reduces heartburn
The potassium and magnesium content of milk act as vasodilators and calms nerves, relaxes muscles and even helps one sleep. For women, it is even more helpful as helps them during menstruation with cramps. Moreover, when consumption of spicy food gives way to heartburn, cold milk becomes the best remedy. The temperature and texture of milk, especially fat-free skimmed milk, calms the sensation.
5 Ways That Drinking Milk Can Improve Your Health
Milk has been enjoyed throughout the world for thousands of years (1Trusted Source).
By definition, it’s a nutrient-rich fluid that female mammals produce to feed their young.
The most commonly consumed types come from cows, sheep and goats.
Western countries drink cow’s milk most frequently.
Milk consumption is a hotly debated topic in the nutrition world, so you might wonder if it’s healthy or harmful.
Below are 5 science-backed health benefits of milk so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
The nutritional profile of milk is impressive.
After all, it’s designed to fully nourish newborn animals.
Just one cup (244 grams) of whole cow’s milk contains (2):
- Calories: 146
- 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
Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including “nutrients of concern,” which are under-consumed by many populations (3Trusted Source).
It provides potassium, B12, calcium and vitamin D, which are lacking in many diets (4Trusted Source).
Milk is also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, zinc and thiamine (B1).
Additionally, it’s an excellent source of protein and contains hundreds of different fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s (5Trusted Source).
Conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids are linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
The nutritional content of milk varies, depending on factors like its fat content and the diet and treatment of the cow it came from (10Trusted Source).
For example, milk from cows that eat mostly grass contains significantly higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids (11Trusted Source).
Also, organic and grass-fed cow’s milk contains higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress (12Trusted Source).
SUMMARY Milk contains a wide array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants. Keep in mind that its nutritional content can vary depending on many factors.
Milk is a rich source of protein, with just one cup containing 8 grams.
Protein is necessary for many vital functions in your body, including growth and development, cellular repair and immune system regulation (13Trusted Source).
Milk is considered a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for your body to function at an optimal level (14Trusted Source).
There are two main types of protein found in milk — casein and whey protein. Both are considered high-quality proteins.
Casein makes up the majority of the protein found in cow’s milk, comprising 70–80% of the total protein content. Whey accounts for around 20% (15Trusted Source).
Whey protein contains the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, all of which are linked to health benefits.
Branched-chain amino acids may be particularly helpful in building muscle, preventing muscle loss and providing fuel during exercise (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Drinking milk is associated with a lower risk of age-related muscle loss in several studies.
In fact, higher consumption of milk and milk products has been linked to greater whole-body muscle mass and better physical performance in older adults (18Trusted Source).
Milk has also been shown to boost muscle repair in athletes.
In fact, several studies have demonstrated that drinking milk after a workout can decrease muscle damage, promote muscle repair, increase strength and even decrease muscle soreness (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Plus, it’s a natural alternative to highly processed protein drinks marketed toward post-workout recovery.
SUMMARY Milk is a rich source of quality protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. It may help reduce age-related muscle loss and promote muscle repair after exercise.
Drinking milk has long been associated with healthy bones.
This is due to its powerful combination of nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and (in grass-fed, full-fat dairy) vitamin K2.
All of these nutrients are essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones.
Approximately 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth (22Trusted Source).
Milk is an excellent source of the nutrients your body relies on to properly absorb calcium, including vitamin D, vitamin K, phosphorus and magnesium.
Adding milk and dairy products to your diet may prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Studies have linked milk and dairy to a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially in older adults (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
What’s more, milk is a good source of protein, a key nutrient for bone health.
In fact, protein makes up about 50% of bone volume and around one-third of bone mass (26Trusted Source).
Evidence suggests that eating more protein may protect against bone loss, especially in women who do not consume enough dietary calcium (27Trusted Source).
SUMMARY Milk contains a variety of nutrients that benefit bone health, such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium. Studies suggest that consuming milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.
Several studies have linked milk intake to a lower risk of obesity.
Interestingly, this benefit has only been associated with whole milk.
A study in 145 three-year-old Latino children found that higher milk-fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of childhood obesity (28Trusted Source).
Another study including over 18,000 middle-aged and elderly women showed that eating more high-fat dairy products was associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity (29Trusted Source).
Milk contains a variety of components that may contribute to weight loss and prevent weight gain.
For example, its high-protein content helps you feel full for a longer period of time, which may prevent overeating (30Trusted Source, 31).
Furthermore, the conjugated linoleic acid in milk has been studied for its ability to boost weight loss by promoting fat breakdown and inhibiting fat production (32Trusted Source).
Additionally, many studies have associated diets rich in calcium with a lower risk of obesity.
Evidence suggests that people with a higher intake of dietary calcium have a lower risk of being overweight or obese.
Studies have shown that high levels of dietary calcium promote fat breakdown and inhibit fat absorption in the body (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
SUMMARY Adding milk, especially whole milk, to your diet may prevent weight gain.
Milk is a nutritious beverage that provides a number of health benefits.
Moreover, it’s a versatile ingredient that can be easily added to your diet.
Aside from drinking milk, try these ideas for incorporating it into your daily routine:
- Smoothies: It makes an excellent, high-protein base for healthy smoothies. Try combining it with greens and a small amount of fruit for a nutritious snack.
- Oatmeal: It provides a tasty, more nutritious alternative to water when making your morning oatmeal or hot cereal.
- Coffee: Adding it to your morning coffee or tea will give your beverage a boost of beneficial nutrients.
- Soups: Try adding it to your favorite soup recipe for added flavor and nutrition.
If you’re not a fan of milk, there are other dairy products that have similar nutrient profiles.
For example, unsweetened yogurt made from milk contains the same amount of protein, calcium and phosphorus.
Yogurt is a healthy and versatile alternative to processed dips and toppings.
SUMMARY Milk is a versatile ingredient that can be added to your diet in a number of ways. Try adding it to smoothies, coffee or your morning oatmeal.
Although milk may be a good choice for some, others can’t digest it or choose not to consume it.
Many people can’t tolerate milk because they’re unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.
Interestingly, lactose intolerance affects around 65% of the world’s population (35).
Others choose not to consume milk or dairy products due to dietary restrictions, health concerns or ethical reasons.
This has led to a wide variety of nondairy milk alternatives, including:
- Almond milk: Made from almonds, this plant-based alternative is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk.
- Coconut milk: This tropical drink made from coconut flesh and water has a creamy texture and mild flavor.
- Cashew milk: Cashews and water combine to make this subtly sweet and rich substitute.
- Soy milk: Contains a similar amount of protein as cow’s milk and has a mild flavor.
- Hemp milk: This alternative is made from hemp seeds and provides a good amount of high quality, plant-based protein.
- Oat milk: This substitute is very mild in flavor with a thicker consistency, making it a great addition to coffee.
- Rice milk: A great option for those with sensitivities or allergies, as it’s the least allergenic of all nondairy milks.
When choosing a nondairy milk substitute, keep in mind that many of these products contain added ingredients like sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives and thickeners.
Choosing a product with limited ingredients is a good choice when comparing brands. Read the labels to determine which best suits your needs.
If possible, stick to unsweetened varieties to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet.
SUMMARY There are many nondairy milk alternatives available for those who can’t or choose not to drink milk.
The Bottom Line
Milk is a nutrient-rich beverage that may benefit your health in several ways.
It’s packed with important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D. Plus, it’s an excellent source of protein.
Drinking milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Many people are unable to digest milk or choose to avoid it for personal reasons.
For those able to tolerate it, consuming high-quality milk and dairy products has been proven to provide a number of health benefits.