Benefits of Milk in Daily Life

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Milk wipes away heat from the heart. Milk and its related products are very important in the Food Pyramid and is very useful from the child's birth till old age. Everybody knows that milk helps in building strong bones. It contains calcium which is highl

A study published in one of issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, that  "The researchers found that children with low dietary calcium intake (in other words, kids who consumed less milk) had lower bone density and recorded more bone fractures. Additionally, the group who were not regularly exposed to dairy were generally overweight and exercised less."

Benefits of Milk

Milk is mainly composed of Calcium which plays important part far beyond building strong bones and teeth. It also helps in preventing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney stones and colon cancer. It also assist and manage weight loss because it's a fantastic hunger suppressant.

Composition of Milk

Milk is comprised with eight essential vitamins and minerals. These are;

  • Calcium,
  • Protein,
  • Vitamin A,
  • Vitamin B 12,
  • Vitamin D,
  • Potassium,
  • Phosphorus,
  • Niacin and
  • Riboflavin

Beneficial for all ages

Building a calcium reserves in early ages is almost like building a bank balance of good health for the rest of your life. Building stronger bones with a calcium-rich diet in twenties and thirties is more likely to prevent osteoporosis than preventive measures in 50s. Moreover, Calcium helps in proper functioning of nerve impulses (which transmit information between nerve fibers). So Calcium is the most vital mineral for optimal functioning of the human body.

Parathyroid, a hormone, oversees all the calcium activity in a body like a vigilant bank manager, keeping the calcium concentration balanced. This hormone stimulates vitamin D to increase absorption of calcium from the intestines when calcium levels fall, and to release calcium from the bone bank until a proper balance is restored.

Calcium is highly beneficial against breast cancer. It also plays an integral role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation and cell membrane function. 

Milk for Old Age persons: Calcium absorption by bones become less in old age. In old age, the bones begin to lose some of their strength, means bones become to fragile (this is called "osteoporosis "). Some medicines also decreases body's ability to absorb calcium. That's why, senior citizens must be conscious about the level of calcium in their diet and about which medications effects calcium absorption.

Some older people have trouble in digesting milk, even if they had no problem in their younger age. In old age, the small intestine sometimes dont produce lactase in suitable amount. Lactase is the enzyme that digests the natural sugar lactose in milk. Without adequate lactase, consumption of milk can cause gas, bloating and diarrhoea. But one drink milk in small quantity as the body can release enough lactase to digest a smaller amount of milk. Drinking milk with other foods will help to slow down digestion, making absorption of lactose easier.

During Pregnancy:  A pregnant woman must be full of energy and nutrients for the baby to grow and develop properly, and for her own body as well. Milk and vitamin D intake during pregnancy are independently associated with infant birth health and weight. Women with low milk intake also had reportedly significantly lower intakes of protein and vitamins so effects the health of child.

During pregnancy, mother’s body adapts to absorb more calcium from the foods eaten, and so dietary calcium requirements don't raise. Women who consume high levels of foods that block calcium absorption such as wholegrain and bran, must be very careful.

Children: Its helps in preventing obesity. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, children who consume less milk has lower bone density and recorded more bone fractures compared to those who consume considerable amount of milk in childhood. Teenage girls are at the greatest risk in case of lower calcium intake.

Types of Milk Different types of milk are identified according to the standards specified. Some of them are;

Whole milk Natural whole milk is the pure milk taken out from the animal, nothing added or removed. Whereas, Whole standardized milk,  is whole milk standardized to a minimum fat content of 3.5%. Moreover, Whole homogenized milk, is same in fat and nutrient content to whole standardized milk but it has undergone a specific process known as “homogenization” which breaks up the fat globules in the milk. This spreads the fat evenly throughout the milk and prevents a creamy layer forming at the top.

Natural whole milk is collected from the dairy herd and undergoes various processing techniques before it reaches the shelf for consumption by the general public. Milk consumed in Europe, Scandinavia, the USA, Australia and New Zealand is mostly pasteurized (the process in which milk is heated with the purpose of killing harmful micro-organisms such as pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and moulds which may likely be present in the milk after initial collection).  After pasteurization, the milk is rapidly cooled and is then stored in refrigerator to preserve its shelf life. Its also fortified with the addition of 2,000 units of vitamin A and 400 units of vitamin D.

Evaporated milk: it's a milk in which about half the water content is evaporated before canning. It is then homogenized with vitamin D-fortified milk, and then sterlized. Its also sometimes referred as Unsweetened condensed milk. One may find skim, low-fat and whole milk varieties of evaporated milk. Low-fat and skim versions are required to have added vitamin A, D and C.

Sweetened condensed milk is homogenized and fortified (vitamin D) milk product in which about half the water has been evaporated before canning. It differs with evaporated milk is that sugar is added in it. A high percentage of sucrose or  glucose (45 per cent) is added to help impede bacterial growth in order to increase flavour and viscosity.

Skimmed Milk has nearly all the fat removed, but contains slightly more calcium than whole milk and lower levels of fat soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Due to lower level of fat in skimmed milk, it is not recommended for children under the age of 5 years as they need the extra energy for growth, but ideal for old aged and fatty persons.

Instant Milk or Non-Dry Milk (NFDM) is made from pasteurized skimmed milk by removing about 2/3rd of the water content under a vacuum and then spray-drying the concentrated milk into a chamber of hot filtered air.

Ultra-high temperature processed milk (UHT): UHT milk can be stored for long periods of time. It is heated at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for two to six seconds. It is packaged into pre-sterilized containers to eliminate bacterial contamination. Sometimes, ‘off-flavours' can be developed due to residual enzyme activity and chemical changes, but after several months.

Flavoured milk includes sugar, colorings and (mostly inexpensive artificial) flavorings added to make it more appetizing, especially to children.

Cultured Milk: One of varieties of milk also known as "fermented milk". It include yoghurt, buttermilk and sour cream.

Milk producing animals

Goat Milk is easier to digest because of its low fat globules, contains less lactose than cow's milk. 

Cow Milk forms the basis of all types of dairy products. People have been drinking it since 6,000-8,000 BC. Cow’s milk is highly rich in calcium, contains riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin B12. Cow’s milk contains iodine in rich quantity, an integral component of the thyroid hormones. Milk, being rich in calcium and potassium, prevents the formation of kidney stones in the body.

African Buffalo

Buffalo Milk has more calcium and protein content than cow's milk with lesser cholesterol but more fat. Its widely used in Pakistan and India.

Camel Milk is slightly saltier than the traditional milk of cow, goat, sheep and buffalo. It is drunk across desert areas like Arab peninsula, Iran, Pakistan and India. It is rich in vitamins B, C and has around 10 times more iron than cow's milk.  It also contains antibodies, and these may help fight serious diseases like cancer, HIV/Aids, Alzheimer's and hepatitis B. It is also useful for back pain patients and activate your immune system. Many diabetic patients cured after drinking camel milk as it reportedly has quart of insulin in one liter of camel milk.