Got milk? Why certainly! In fact, you are likely to recall your parents’ obstinacy in handing you a cup of warm milk even when you have pleaded and begged them for a cup of soda or juice. “Finish your milk, it is good for you,” they would always say. Of course, you would doubt them at that point in time, but what choice do you have apart from downing that glass of milk before you go to bed?
From that moment on and all the way to adulthood, we grew extremely acquainted with the idea that milk is necessary for our growth and development, and it most definitely is. However, beyond this equivocal notion and the all too familiar milk-moustache advertisements driven by the different milk brand’s media marketing campaign, some of us may still be questioning ourselves as to what and why exactly is it so, especially the ones who were continually denied their requests for soda water or juice instead of milk.
And so it begs the question — why is milk good for us? What exactly does milk contain that soda or juice don’t? How does drinking milk every night improve our health? Let us plunge down the milky depths to further investigate the nutritional facts of milk and why this white, creamy drink make a dietary staple and beverage for billions across the world.
According to the National Dairy Council, milk contains a multitude of nutrients, of which nine are exceptionally beneficial for our health. The nine essential nutrients, in no specific ranking order, are protein (a vital source of energy and aids in muscle development and repair), calcium (preserves bone mass and develops healthy bones and teeth), potassium (regulate blood pressure level), phosphorus (fortify the bones and generate energy), vitamin A (safeguards immune system and promotes beautiful-looking skin), vitamin B12 (uphold a healthy count of red blood cells and nerve tissue), vitamin D (maintain bone health), riboflavin (converts food to energy) and niacin (metabolises fatty acids and sugars).
It is safe to say that milk packs some serious punch when it boils down to nutrition. The best part? You don’t have to chug down four gallons of milk a day to reap its benefits. As a matter of fact, an eight-ounce glass of milk offers an identical amount of vitamin D you would get from a four-ounce cooked salmon, as much calcium as two cups of broccoli, an almost similar amount of potassium as a regular banana, the same amount of vitamin A as two baby carrots and a reasonable amount of phosphorus that you would obtain from a cup of kidney beans.
Milk and Weight Loss
All of the nine essential nutrients mentioned above not only contribute to your overall health and wellness but also play a delicate role in weight loss. Several in-depth studies investigating the impact of regular milk consumption indicated a favourable effect on the body post-exercise. In a particular study involving eighty participants of which half were instructed to consume milk after their workout, the results showed that the group who chugged down a bottle of at least eight ounces of milk shed more fat and gained more muscle mass as compared to the group who had different post-workout drinks that contained an equal amount of macronutrients and energy.
The important takeaway from these studies is probably the clear benefit of incorporating multiple servings of milk into your diet and spread its consumption throughout the day. The more milk you add into your diet, the more energy intake your body is getting. Additionally, it also effectively replaces other sources of energy from your diet and keep your appetite in check, thus ensuring that you are not overeating or consuming excess calories.
Milk and Disease
As astonishing as it sounds, the regular consumption of milk can effectively lower your chances of developing and dying from acute illnesses such as stroke and coronary heart disease by up to fifteen and twenty per cent, according to a research conducted by a group of scientists from Cardiff University. This particular research goes further to report that milk-drinking can potentially aid in reducing blood pressure level.
Several other long-term studies have also recorded similar findings, indicating that the consumption of milk and dairy has shown to result in a small decrease in the number of deaths deriving from heart issues, diabetes, stroke, colon and bladder cancer.
How Much Milk Do You Need?
For you to reap the full benefits of milk, including its larger-than-life nine essential nutrients, doctors have encouraged the consumption of three eight-ounce servings of milk a day. If you run out of milk, you can replace it with other dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the kitchen and chug away on a glass of milk. Like our mothers used to say, “It is good for you!”