There are lots of conflicting information coming from nutrition experts about the healthy and non-healthy benefits of milk. In arguably, for many centuries, milk has been part of the human diet, from their childhood to adulthood. Additionally, it tops the grocery list of many people living in Europe and Asia, but rarely consumed in huge quantities in Africa and South America.
Interestingly, human beings in their adulthood rely on animal milk for several nutrition purposes. Consumed both as a beverage or added to cereals in the morning, human beings have gone beyond depending on vegetation and meat, to get vital body minerals and enzymes from animals by consuming milk. It’s worth noting that milk or dairy products were not depended on heavily by human beings till the agricultural revolution.
There are a variety of milks being sold in the modern world. Full cream milk, recommended for children has up to 4% of fat in it. Calcium enriched milk has up to 500mg of calcium per serving. Flavored milk, which contains additives like food color and refined sugars, should not be consumed on a regular basis as it contains reduced fat content. Ultra high temperature treated milk (UHT), is treated by heating it in high temperatures to extend its storage period. Raw milk is heated and cooled, but poses the risk of illness from pathogens; bacteria and germs.
Nutritional Breakdown of the Health Benefits of Milk
There exists a number of reasons why milk is consumed by human beings, apart from making it food to fill the belly. They include;
High Protein Content
Proteins, whether from legumes or animal products, is vital in the renewal of cells, fighting disease in the body and the maintenance of strong hair and nails. It is worth noting that, a serving of milk, which is a glass of milk has up to 8 grams of casein proteins, which is more protein for the body in the long run.
Good source of Minerals
Milk is high in calcium which plays an essential role in the building of strong bones. A cup of milk contains up to 300 milligrams of calcium, which is 30% of daily calcium content recommended for an adult. Vitamin B, D and phosphorous helps in restoring the body’s energy while promoting a stronger immune system and healthy skin.
Fats from milk, helps in adding essential fatty acids in the body, which are important for the building of body cells. However this should be taken in moderate to avoid accumulation of excess fats in the body.
Best of the Dairy Products
Milk has got the highest continent of sessional body nutrients than other dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt or ghee. For example, ghee, cheese and yoghurt basically has its water taken out of the milk hence increasing the protein levels in it. However, these dairy products contain the highest content of non-essential fats and salts which are bad for the body.
Choline and glutathione compounds found in milk, help in promoting sleep, learning and sharp memory. This is through development of the cellular membranes, which aids in the transmission of nerve impulses hence reducing inflammation in adults.
Why Milk Is Not All That Healthy Today
Despite this many benefits, there are reasons why milk must not be consumed in large quantities in the modern world.
Processed Food- Much of today’s milk is processed food. Before the 20th century, milk was consumed unpasteurized. However, with the industrial revolution, started in the 20th century, homogenization of milk has altered the milk’s chemistry while also increasing the milk’s detrimental acidifying effects.
- Additives– Many cows consume man made ingredients, which are basically bio-engineered hormones, which in the long run are bad for the body and environment.
- Osteoporosis– Recent research and studies have shown that milk contains much of this compound that depletes calcium from the bones. This is the reason why countries in Europe and Asia, who consume milk more often, have recorded high numbers of bone fractures and spinal destruction, thanks to weak bones.
- Presence of Lactose– This milk sugar found in milk cannot be easily digested by a grown human, since the body produces less lactase, which is vital in the digestion of this sugar. In fact, close to 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, resulting to digestive complications such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Indisputable Facts about Milk
There are underlying facts about milk, which are indisputable. They include:
- Milk can be used as a fattener and this poses health risks to the body. This is the reason why low fat milk is now being advocated for consumption by many food experts. Low fat milk contains all the nutritional value that comes with milk, except for the reduced fat content in it.
- Milk provides a nice package of nutrients. It has up to nine essential nutrients in every serving. This includes potassium, vitamin B and D, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, lactose, calcium and protein, meaning that by consuming milk regularly, one is taking a balanced meal, especially if the milk is organic.
- Natural milk has great nutritional value, unlike its plant milk substitutes such as the soy milk and rice milk. This is because, casein, which is a natural protein, is easy to digest unlike the proteins found in the plant milks since much of the plant milk constitutes unnatural protein content.
- Natural milk is great for the bone health. Despite the conflicting information about the calcium and zinc content in milk, phosphorous and calcium are vital in building strong bones especially in the teenage years and in the old age. In addition, milk reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
There is no definite answer to whether milk is healthy for consumption or not. This is because, maintaining a proper nutrition is a personal responsibility, since we have different interests in when it comes to taking milk. Moreover, it’s worth noting that milk has not been included as part of the paleo diet for those who intend to follow the paleo dietary plan or a vegan diet. This is because, paleo dietary plan is based on consuming foods, close to their raw nature in order to get the utmost national value from them.
The bottom line is consuming this dairy product is just fine as so long as you are lactose tolerant. Keep off raw milk, as it poses the risk of digestive complications. Additionally, stick to the recommended quantity of milk, ensuring that its quality, preferably from cows that are pasture raised, in order to enjoy the many metabolic benefits that come with consuming natural milk.