ISLAMABAD, Jul 14: Whether milk is actually a healthy choice depends on the individual and type of milk being consumed. Some milk is high in protein, low in added sugar and free of unnecessary additives, but there are also flavored milks that have just as much sugar as a can of soda.
For someone with a milk allergy, any kind of milk would be off limits. Lactose intolerant individuals may be able to tolerate lactose-free milks depending on their level of intolerance. Vegans avoiding animal products would not consume true milk at all and would likely opt for a milk alternative such as soy or almond milk.
One cup of milk is considered one serving. The nutritional breakdown of milk depends on the fat content. Whole milk with 3.25% fat contains 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protein in one cup. One cup of nonfat or skim milk has about 86 calories, 0 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of protein.
Milk can come from many different species such as cows, sheep and goats – milk from these animals are the most popularly consumed.
Some important nutrients that milk provides are:
Calcium has many functions in the body, but its primary job is the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also important for blood clotting and wound healing, maintaining normal blood pressure and muscle contractions including heartbeat.
It is important to try to pair calcium-rich foods with a source of vitamin D to improve absorption.
The National Institute of Health recommends 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium for individuals over 18 years of age. There are 306 milligrams of calcium in one cup of skim milk.
Choline is an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.4
High potassium intakes are associated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones. A high potassium diet is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.3
The recommended daily intake of potassium for all adults is 4,700 mg per day.
Vitamin D is important for the formation, growth, and repair of bones. Vitamin D also plays a role in calcium absorption and immune function.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with osteoporosis, depression, chronic fatigue, muscle pain, PMS, hypertension, and breast and colon cancer.
Milk also provides magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins A, riboflavin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.
Everyone has heard that milk is good for the bones, and that is because milk is one of the primary sources of vitamin D in the American diet, as well as a good source of calcium. However, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is not enough to prevent osteoporosis.
A study in 40,000 Norwegian women discovered that those who drank milk as children and continued to do so throughout adulthood had a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer.
Regular physical activity and strength training, along with not smoking and eating a diet low in sodium and high in potassium also contribute to overall bone health and a decreased risk of osteoporosis.