The Many Benefits of Milk   



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 heart rhythm.

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 calcium.

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 infections.

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 pressure.
 
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 requirement.

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 stones.

What with those different terms?
With various 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
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.

◊ UHT
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.

◊ CALCIUM-ENRICHED
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 harmful bacteria.
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Happy reading,
Evelyn


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