The Many Benefits of Milk
It's one of the most common beverages, but not many
know how important an adequate intake really is. We
track down the myriad health benefits of milk.
Often taken for granted, the benefits of drinking
milk are numerous. Milk provides many of the
nutrients necessary for good health and well-being.
These include calcium, of course, as well as vitamin
D and protein.
Calcium is a must-have nutrient as it plays a role
in many bodily functions. These functions range from
strengthening bones and teeth, to clotting of blood
and transmitting nerve impulses, and even regulating
There are only two ways for the body to acquire
calcium - consuming calcium rich foods or taking
supplements. Dairy products are the best way to
obtain your daily requirement as they have the
highest concentration per serving of absorbable
The main job of vitamin D is to sustain the right
levels 9f both calcium and phosphorus in the body.
Contrary to its name, vitamin D acts more like a
hormone than a Vitamin.
The most active form of vitamin D is calcitriol. It
works together with the parathyroid hormone to
maintain the necessary amount of calcium in the
blood. Calcitriol is also important in the
production and growth of cells.
A single cup of milk is equivalent to about
one-fourth of your daily requirement of vitamin D.
Cow's milk is also a very good source of protein,
with each cup containing 16.3% of our daily
requirement. Protein is crucial in building muscles
and organs, and plays an important role in
maintaining a healthy immune system to fight
You may be surprised to learn that milk is also a
good source of potassium. This electrolyte has an
important part to play in muscle contraction and
nerve transmission. Potassium also helps balance out
fluids and minerals in the body, and regulates blood
Eight ounces of low-fat milk is equivalent to
350-400 mg of potassium. About 3-4 servings of milk
each day provides one-third of your daily potassium
Don't be fooled!
Some people treated for kidney believe they should
avoid milk. This is not surprising, as most kidney
stones are made up of calcium. But the idea that
drinking milk helps in the formation of kidney
stones is a misconception! People who steer clear of
milk actually have an increased risk of developing
brittle bones or osteoporosis.
A study, published in the journal Archives of
Internal Medicine, of 96,000 women aged 27-44 found
that those who consumed a lot of calcium-rich foods
actually had a lower chance of developing kidney
What with those different terms?
terms, like 'low fat', 'skim' and 'full cream'. on
the milk carton, it is sometimes confusing to know
what is inside.
◊ FULL CREAM
This type of milk contains about 4% fat and is good
source of vitamins, A and D.
◊ REDUCED FAT (LOW FAT)
Low-fat milk contains roughly half the amount of fat
as full cream milk.
Flavoured milk may be more palatable, but be warned
that it could have a high sugar content.
◊ SKIM MILK
The amount of fat is significantly lower. less than
1%. Vitamins A and D are added after the fat removal
process to maintain its nutritional value.
The milk in your fridge may be UHT, but what does
that means? UHT means
ultra-high-temperature-treated, meaning it can be
kept for longer periods.
The name says it all. This type of milk has added
calcium-about 420-450mg in a 250ml glass.
◊ UNPASTEURISED MILK
Most commercially available milk and milk-based
products are pasteurized. This process involves
heating the milk to remove bacteria and then cooling
it. Unpasteurized milk is risky as it may contain