Milk

Milk is good for health. Parents talk about this to children, advertising and doctors repeat this to adults. Why is milk really useful, and is it as useful as they are trying to convince us? How much do you need to take to feel better? Let's find out the answers to these and other questions together.

Milk and its types

When it comes to milk, most immediately think of a cow. Although there are many other types of this drink that people also eat. Before telling what other types of this product exist, we note that the composition of milk is:

  • casein (from a cow, goat, sheep);
  • albuminous (from mares, deer, donkeys).

In addition to the drink produced by the mammary glands of animals, some products of plant origin are also called milk.

Benefits of different types of milk:

  • cow's milk is an excellent source of calcium and other nutrients;
  • sheep's - fatter than cow's, ideal raw material for pickled cheeses;
  • goat - similar in composition to cow, but easier to digest due to the lower content lactose ;
  • mare - the composition resembles women's milk, is used to make koumiss;
  • eland milk - contains 3 times more fat and protein than cow milk, known for its bactericidal properties;
  • camel - contains a lot of vitamin C, does not fold;
  • soybean - a drink made from soy, looks and tastes like cow's milk, serves as a raw material for tofu cheese, as well as kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk, curdled milk;
  • coconut - made from coconut pulp and water used in oriental cuisine, looks like cream;
  • cow's milk - made in South America from the juice of galactodendron and other milk trees, used to treat asthma;
  • rice - a source of fiber, calcium, vitamins, is made in the process of cooking rice;
  • cedar - a source of phosphorus, manganese, many trace elements, contains more proteins than cow's milk;
  • poppy - was popular in Russia, contains a lot of calcium and fat;
  • pumpkin - a drink with a delicate spicy taste, contains iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, proteins;
  • oatmeal is a source of all essential amino acids ;
  • almond - contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, folic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, zinc, well combined with coffee.

Nutritional components

Even though the chemical composition of all cow's milk is the same, but the calorie content and percentage composition in some cases may differ. These indicators depend on the fat content of the drink, as well as the products that the cow ate. On average, a glass of whole milk contains 145 kilocalories, 8 g fat, 13 g carbohydrates, and 8 g protein. In a similar serving of a low-fat product, there are only 86 kilocalories, there are no fats at all, and there are about the same amount of carbohydrates and proteins as in a whole one.

Calcium

Dairy products are one of the richest sources of calcium. Many functions in the body depend on this element. But perhaps its most famous task is to keep bones and teeth strong. Meanwhile, this element is necessary for blood clotting and rapid healing of wounds, maintaining normal blood pressure, healthy muscle contraction, including heart muscle. Nutritionists say it's important to combine calcium-rich foods with sources of magnesium and vitamin D. This should be done, if only because vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the walls of the small intestine, and magnesium helps the body "deliver" calcium to the bones. It is important that all these elements are contained in milk. As for calcium, a cup of the drink contains more than 300 mg of this substance.

The human body draws choline from milk. This nutrient is essential for healthy sleep, muscle activity, memory and learning. Choline is important for maintaining the structure of cell membranes, helps transmit nerve impulses and absorb fats, and is useful in preventing chronic inflammation.

Potassium

Optimal intake of potassium helps prevent stroke, heart disease, hypertension, protects against muscle wasting, maintains healthy bone mineral balance tissue, and also prevents the formation of kidney stones. Researchers suggest that it is potassium that can reduce mortality from heart disease by almost 5 times. Nutritionists advise consuming approximately 4.5 g of potassium daily. A glass of milk contains about 365 mg of this substance.

Vitamin D

Today, dairy producers are increasingly fortifying milk with additional nutrients. Vitamin D is also on this list. This substance plays an extremely important role in bone health, promotes the growth and restoration of bone tissue. Vitamin deficiency is associated with the development of osteoporosis, depression, chronic fatigue, hypertension, PMS, colon and breast cancer, and muscle pain.

In addition to the listed substances, milk contains:

It is important to know that some of the beneficial substances contained in milk do not accept sunlight and are destroyed by its rays. For this reason, the product should not be stored in transparent bottles or containers.

Milk: harm and benefit

Milk belongs to the products that have a positive effect on many systems and organs of the human body.

Everyone knows that milk is good for bones. This is because cow's milk is a source of calcium and vitamin D. In addition, the product contains vitamin K, ascorbic acid and magnesium. They are also indispensable for the health of the musculoskeletal system. Calcium and vitamin D intake alone is not enough to prevent osteoporosis. However, with regular physical activity, strength training, and a balanced diet low in sodium and high in potassium, the benefits to the bones will be immediately noticeable.

Benefits for teeth

The combination of phosphorus and calcium found in milk is important for maintaining healthy teeth.

The most abundant protein in dairy products is casein. It creates a thin film on the surface of the tooth enamel, which prevents the loss of calcium and phosphorus under the influence of an acidic environment. Studies have shown a link between regular milk consumption and a reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.

Cancer Prevention

The risk of dying from colorectal cancer is highest in geographic areas that receive the least amount of sunlight. As some researchers explain, the reason for this is a deficiency of vitamin D in the body. This useful substance, as has been proven by science, is able to protect against the occurrence of malignant tumors and slow down the growth of tumors. Other studies have shown that increased intake of lactose and calcium from dairy products may prevent ovarian cancer.

An antidepressant

Sufficient levels of vitamin D contribute to the production of serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone - a substance responsible for improving mood, appetite and healthy sleep. Vitamin deficiency is associated with a tendency to depression, chronic fatigue, PMS in women. Thus, milk as a source of vitamin D can relieve bad mood.

For heart health

Milk provides the body with potassium, which helps dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Thus, increased consumption of milk can serve as a remedy for hypertension.

It should also be noted that cow's milk is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Because of this, some researchers, on the contrary, associate an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders with milk.

For strong muscles…

Dairy food is especially needed by children during their growth period. However, not only babies need the proteins contained in milk. For adults, especially those who want to build muscle, this product is also important to include in the diet. Milk is an excellent source of high quality protein containing all the essential amino acids. In addition, whole milk can provide energy in the form of saturated fat.

Dairy proteins are excellent for promoting muscle growth and recovery. This effect has been proven in 20 different clinical studies involving people from different age groups.

…and a thin waist

Contrary to the common misconception that milk leads to excess weight, this drink, on the contrary, promotes weight loss. At least some studies have shown that dairy consumption can help burn belly fat. This effect is achieved only on the condition that the daily calorie intake has not been exceeded. So far, it is difficult for scientists to explain the mechanism of this process, but they suggest that all this is due to the calcium contained in milk.

An alternative to drinking water

The human body, which is two-thirds water, cannot live without fluid. Nutritionists say that the average adult should consume about 2 liters of pure water daily. However, if there is no water, you can also quench your thirst with milk, which contains a large number of H2O molecules.

Skin care

Undoubtedly, you have heard about the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and her milk baths. According to legend, this woman, who is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, loved to take baths of milk and honey. This cosmetic procedure allows you to keep the softness, freshness and smoothness of the skin for a long time. Dairy products are still actively used to create skin care products. Milk is especially useful for dry skin.

This drink nourishes and smoothes the skin. Lactic acid promotes the removal of dead cells and activates the rejuvenation of the epidermis. The use of milk inside saturates the body with vitamin A - an antioxidant, which slows down age-related changes (prevents the appearance of wrinkles and age spots).

Other benefits of milk:

  • helps reduce stomach acid;
  • beneficial effect on vision;
  • promotes the production of red blood cells;
  • relieves stress.

Precautions

Few people today would be surprised to hear a diagnosis of milk allergy. No, this is not an invention of children who do not want to drink a white drink, but a very serious medical problem. An allergy to cow's milk can present with one or more symptoms. These are usually:

Consuming too much potassium or phosphorus (both of which are found in high concentrations in milk) can be harmful for people with kidney dysfunction. If the body is not able to remove excess potassium and phosphorus from the body, such oversaturation can be fatal.

Excessive intake of calcium is also dangerous. Of course, it is difficult to achieve an overabundance with milk alone, but still. Hypercalcemia can cause constipation, kidney stones and kidney failure. In addition, excess calcium can “settle” on the walls of blood vessels, which increases the risk of cardio diseases (especially against the background of a lack of magnesium).

The maximum adult calcium dose is 2.5 g per day.

Some researchers do not recommend giving cow's milk to children under one year of age. They believe that the use of this product in infancy can cause an insulin-dependent form of diabetes in adulthood. In addition, cow's milk may contain residues of hormones or antibiotics, as well as other substances that adversely affect the reproductive and immune systems of the body (especially for children).

What about lactose intolerance?

Most people associate cow's milk with proper nutrition. However, there are many people in the world whose bodies are unable to digest lactose, the carbohydrate found in milk. Researchers believe that primitive man could consume milk exclusively in infancy. Approximately 7500 years ago, the population of Central Europe underwent some "restructuring" in the body. This happened after mankind domesticated cows and other livestock, and a new product entered their diet - milk.

Researchers estimate that today approximately 15% of Europeans, 80% of Africans and Hispanics, as well as primitive people, suffer from lactose intolerance. Their bodies do not produce lactase, the enzyme needed to break down dairy foods. In such cases, even small portions of dairy products cause abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Modern medicine is looking for ways to, if not completely cure lactose intolerance, then at least reduce its manifestation. This is how a lactose-free alternative appeared: soy, almond, coconut, hemp and other types of milk, including cow's, but without the "problem" carbohydrate.

Interesting facts about milk

  1. Man learned to drink the milk of animals around 10,000 BC. e. after domestication of goats.
  2. In ancient Egypt, this product was consumed only by pharaohs, priests and very rich people.
  3. The first pasteurized milk appeared in 1862. It was invented by the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur. Commercial pasteurization began in 1895.
  4. The first milk bottle was designed and manufactured in 1884 in New York.
  5. During a thunderstorm, milk sours faster.
  6. In Russia, in order to preserve the freshness of this product, a live frog was lowered into it.
  7. The fattest milk (approximately 50% fat) is whale and seal. The leanest is mare and donkey.

Milk is the very first food a baby gets after birth. This is the main product that accompanies us all our lives, supplying the necessary calories, vitamins and minerals. Despite all the advantages, milk can be dangerous for some people. However, this is rather an exception to the rule, and not a reason to refuse a white foamy drink for no reason.

Sources
  1. Raw Milk Institute. – Learn about raw milk.
  2. Health website Nhs.uk. – Dairy and alternatives in your diet.
  3. BBC.com. – Is it better to drink cow’s milk or a dairy-free alternative?
  4. MilkFacts.info. – Nutritional components in milk.
  5. Health website Healthline. – 5 ways that drinking milk can improve your health.
  6. ​​
  7. Medical portal Medical News Today. – What to know about milk.
  8. Taylor & Francis open journal. – Consumption of milk and dairy products and risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture.
  9. American college of cardiology. – Opinions vary on benefits of milk.
  10. The New England Journal of medicine. – Milk and health.
  11. People for the ethical treatment of animals. – 12 reasons to stop drinking cow’s milk.
  12. Parenting Science. – Weighing the costs and benefits of milk consumption: Should kids drink cow’s milk?
  13. U. S. National library of medicine. – The origins of lactase persistence in Europe.
  14. U. S. National library of medicine. – Lactose intolerance.
  15. The Dairy Alliance. – Health benefits of dairy.