Magical Health Benefits Of Milk!Dr. Nitin Gupte
Milk Is A Treasure of Excellent Nutrition!
Milk is a fabulous treasure of wide ranging vital nutrients that few foods can match.
It is a rich source of excellent quality proteins, minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins like Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
Buffalo milk provides about 4.25 gm of excellent quality proteins per 100 ml. Buffalo milk with 8 gm fat provides about 110 calories per 100 ml. Thus a 200 ml cup of skimmed buffalo milk provides a mere 76 calories.
It is a rich source of calcium and a good source of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains iron, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese in small amounts. It is also a rich source of Riboflavin and Vitamin B12 and a good source of Vitamin A, C and Thiamine. It also has small amounts of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Niacin.
Cow milk provides 3.2 gm high quality proteins per 100 ml. Cow milk with 3.9 % fat provides about 66 calories per 100 ml. A 200 ml cup of skim cow milk provides just about 62 calories.
It is a rich source of iodine and a good source of calcium and phosphorus. It also has small amount of potassium in it. It has Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Riboflavin in good amounts. It also has Vitamin K and Vitamin A in small amount.
The main sugar present in milk is lactose. Lactose helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and the synthesis of some B complex vitamins in the small intestine.
Milk proteins mainly consist of casein (about 80%) and whey (about 20%). The milk proteins are of a high biological value. Thus milk provides us with invaluable proteins of high quality. In fact milk constitutes the most important protein source of a lacto-vegan diet, apart from the fact that it is the only source of Vitamin B12 in this diet. Thus it is imperative that every pure vegetarian diet must include ample milk in it. In fact researchers recommend that we drink 750 ml low fat or skimmed milk a day.
Whole milk and skimmed milk: When fat is removed from the whole milk, you get skimmed milk. There is some difference in the nutritional composition of whole milk and skimmed milk. When fat is removed, most of the cholesterol and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are also largely removed from the whole milk. Thus skimmed milk is much lower in calories, fat, cholesterol and vitamin A, D, E and K than the whole milk. Skimmed milk retains all the protein and carbohydrates present in whole milk as well as the water soluble vitamins like the B vitamins and all the minerals including calcium completely.
A cup of whole milk contains 24 mg of cholesterol, while the same serving of skim milk contains 5 mg of cholesterol. Thus it makes sense to drink skim milk as it provides most of the healthy nutrition of whole milk while it is much lower in calories and cholesterol. The only downside is that you lose out on some vital fat soluble vitamins present in whole milk, more notably, Vitamins A and D.
Health benefits of milk: Milk confers a wide range of health benefits on us.
The only source of Vitamin B12 in a purely vegetarian diet is milk. Pure vegetarians need to drink at least 2.5 cups of milk to meet their daily requirements of Vitamin B12. Those vegetarians who don’t drink as much milk are most likely to suffer from the deficiency of the vitamin.
Health of bones and teeth: Milk is not only vital for developing healthy bones and teeth in childhood but also for maintaining their health in later life upto old age. The abundance of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein in milk helps in giving us healthy bones and teeth.
Drinking adequate milk protects us from the crippling ‘brittle bones disease’ osteoporosis, which causes easy fractures in old age.
The main protein in milk, casein, develops a thin protective film on teeth, which protects the enamel of teeth from the corrosive effect of acids developed in our mouth, protecting teeth from developing caries.
Healthy heart: Many studies worldwide have concluded that adequate consumption of milk helps lower our blood pressure and the low density (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol and helps improve the high density (good) cholesterol and thus helps protect us from heart disease.
Milk is low in sodium and also has potassium. This helps in lowering blood pressure. Calcium amongst other nutrients in milk is thought to protect the heart.
Prevention of obesity: Adequate consumption of skim or low fat milk as a part of a healthy, balanced diet helps in prevention or reversal of obesity. Ample low fat or skim milk must be an essential component of any healthy diet, more so when you are looking to lose weight.
Apart from providing excellent nutrition, the delicious milk has the ability to give you satisfying ‘filling’ effect, thus keeping you free of hungerpangs, keeping your tummy ‘happy’! It also works as a natural antacid, taking care of your hyperacidity. This helps in fighting off the desire to overeat.
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that people who consume milk and dairy foods adequately are likely to be slimmer than those who do not, with slimmer waists than those who do not drink milk.
Prevention or better control of Type II diabetes: A large number of studies have shown that consumption of low fat milk has proved beneficial in preventing or controlling Type II diabetes. The abundance of calcium and magnesium as well as low glycemic index of milk (reflecting the ability of a food to increase the blood sugar levels immediately after consumption) are thought to be the cause of this effect.
Prevention of some cancers: There is considerable evidence that drinking increasing quantity of milk appears to bestow increasing protection against colorectal and breast cancers.
Calcium and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a type of fat present milk, have been suggested as protective components in colon cancer.
Drinking adequate milk gives you better skin and hair health. If you are not a milk fan, start drinking three cups a day and you will find dramatic improvement in your sense of well being, skin and hair health. Hair loss will reduce, skin will start glowing with new health.
Milk also helps in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Milk helps relieve stress, helps in keeping our muscles healthy and also helps strengthen our immune systems.
If you are looking to prevent or fight osteoporosis, you should choose skim buffalo milk which is more nutritious than cow milk. If you are looking to feed an old person, cow milk should be preferred. Currently paediatricians tend to advice parents to put their babies and toddlers on buffalo milk.
If you find it difficult to digest milk, if you develop excessive gas formation, and have pain in the tummy after taking milk, if you have lactose intolerance, drink small quantities, say half a cup at a time along with every meal or a snack. That will reduce the discomfort substantially.
In short, milk is more beneficial to your health than any other food!
Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!
Please also read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on this website.