Milk: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Milk: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

We have been accustomed to milk since the day we were born. It can be considered as the sole and also best source of nutrients for us during the first months.

However, at a non-defined moment, we will stop receiving milk from mothers and the amount of milk intake seems to decline.

It is imperative that we need milk to stay healthy and as we grow up, the main source of milk we take in is from animals.

There is a wide range of animals that can provide milk for humans, but throughout the history, cows are among the most common, along with goats, camels or sheep…

Cow milk has been one of the most popular sources of nutrients for human use for many centuries.

While cow milk is very common in the United States now with around 9 million, they are not native. Cows were actually introduced in the 15th century by Spanish explorers.

In fact, cow milk offers many unique health benefits that are important for both infants and adults.

Cow milk can be made into a diversity of products, namely, cream, yogurt, cream or cheese. All of them are highly recommended to be consumed every day by the US Department of Argiculture.

Nutrition Facts

Milk - Nutrition Facts

Protein might be one of the most outstanding features when it comes to milk nutrition facts.

Each ounce of milk provides more or less than one gram of protein (1).

Normally, there are two main types of proteins found in milk: casein (insoluble protein) and whey (soluble protein).

Casein accounts for about 80 percent and this element plays an important role in the body’s ability to absorb minerals.

Meanwhile, making up for 20 percent, whey is known to be beneficial for muscles and it is a familiar name with athletes and those going to the gym.

About 4 percent of whole milk is fat, but this proportion varies in different types of milk.

In general, milk fat is natural and it is estimated that there are 400 kinds of fatty acids in milk (2).

About 5 percent of milk’s weight belongs to carbs.

Another important aspect of milk nutrition facts is its richness of minerals and vitamins. Some of them are well-known, for example, calcium or vitamin D, but some others are necessary for human health as well, such as riboflavin or phosphorus.

Health Benefits of Milk

Here are top 10 health benefits of milk which have been acknowledged for ages and supported by many recent studies.

1. Bone

Undeniably, one of the most important health benefits of milk is to foster the bone health.

Among the elderly, osteoporosis is one of the most common problems related to decreasing bone density.

Studies showed that milk can enhance the bone density in adults (3).

Furthermore, its high content of calcium and proteins also plays a vital role in the improvement of bone health (4).

Calcium is crucial to the strength and density of your bones. There are numerous sources of calcium you can use, but milk is definitely one of the simplest.

Bottom Line: Because of its richness of calcium, milk can enhance the bone density and protect the elderly from osteoporosis.

2. Muscles

Milk - Muscles

Milk ought to be included in the daily meals if you are one of those who want stronger muscles.

One of the most popular health benefits of milk is to support the build-up of muscles.

It takes little time for whey protein to be transformed into amino acids, which makes it easier for the absorption into your blood stream.

The positive effects of whey on muscle strength have been studied for years (5) (6).

Meanwhile, casein is also claimed to be beneficial for the recovery of muscles after you do exercise (7).

In addition, your muscles can benefit from milk’s abundance of calcium as well (8).

Note: A cup of milk is something you need after workout in order to provide your muscles with enough nutrients to grow faster.

3. Hypertension

Hypertension refers to the abnormal increase in your blood pressure, which is likely to result in cardiovascular disease.

Dairy products are believed to lower the risk of high blood pressure (9).

This is also one of the best health benefits of milk that cannot be seen immediately.

To explain for this property, scientists have found out that it is because of the considerable amounts of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium (10) (11).

Bottom Line: Milk and its products are claimed to be associated with dealing with high blood pressure.

4. Dehydration

Milk is also a type of fluid; therefore, it is logical that milk can be used to prevent dehydration, or the lack of fluid in the body (12).

It is a great alternative choice if you are not interested in drinking water all the time.

In addition, milk can make up for the loss of electrolytes that happens to those with intense exercises.

5. Teeth

With substantial amounts of essential minerals, say, calcium, it is undoubted that one of the best milk health benefits is on teeth.

Moreover, casein found in milk is effective to stop calcium loss which might occur when you consume acidic foods or drinks (13).

As a result, you are less exposed to cavities and other oral problems.

Note: Sugar-free milk should be consumed after you have meals to protect your teeth and gums.

6. Sleep

Milk - Sleep Quality

Sleep plays an essential role in remaining healthy and regardless of reasons, sleep deprivation can trigger a series of health problems.

Tryptophan, an amino acid present in milk, is effective to induce drowsiness (14).

This amino acid will be converted into serotinin which can improve your eagerness to sleep. Calcium in milk also contributes to this process.

Therefore, a cup of warm milk before bedtime is a great idea to guarantee the quality of your sleep, which enables you to stay healthy to perform daily activities.

7. Skin

One of the most traditional health benefits of milk is to maintain the health of skin.

This was actually practised thousands of years ago when Cleopatra in ancient Egypt made use of milk bath to make her skin flawless.

The presence of amino acids in milk has protective effects on the skin when it is exposed to the sun (15).

Furthermore, milk will provide much moisture for the skin.

Dead skin cells will be eliminated quickly, which prevents the appearance of skin problems, such as acne or wrinkles.

  • First, you need to use warm water to clean your face.
  • With the help of a cotton ball, whole milk should be applied on the skin.
  • After 15-20 minutes, use warm water to clean the skin.

This method can be applied on a daily basis to supply your skin with enough nutrients to stay fresh.

8. Obesity

One of top health benefits of milk that might surprise you is to assist in weight loss.

This statement was also supported by researchers at the University of Negev, Israel.

Vitamin D and calcium in milk are reported to accelerate the process of burning fat, which reduces the weight significantly (16) (17).

On the other hand, the amounts of water and proteins can make you feel full for a longer period of time.

Bottom Line: By speeding up the fat-burning process and reducing the amount of foods consumed, milk is beneficial for weight loss. 

9. Cognitive Performance

Milk - Cognitive Performance

When health benefits of milk are mentioned, it is necessary to think of its impacts on the cognitive performance.

Known as an abundant source of vitamin B12, milk can maintain and even enhance cognitive skills (18) (19).

According to a study from Tufts University, old people with the deficiency of vitamin B12 were more likely to undergo cognitive decline.

Bottom Line: The consumption of low-fat milk is recommended to avoid cognitive decline when you get older.

10. Diabetes

The last one in the list of top milk health benefits is to support the treatment for diabetes.

Several research reveals that there is an association between regular intake of dairy products and lower risk of diabetes type 2.

In one study with over 37,000 female participants, the most decreasing risk of diabetes was witnessed in those consuming the highest amount of dairy products.

Bottom Line: Milk and other dairy products are claimed to have positive influence on the treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Side Effects

Milk - Side Effects

Despite a long list of health benefits of milk, there is still a need to pay attention when you use milk and dairy products.

First of all, young children are likely to experience allergic reactions to milk (20).

As a consequence, the consumption of milk may lead to rashes or swelling. In some severe cases, diarrhea and breathing problems are commonly seen.

Second, milk is claimed to result in many types of acnes in many people (21) (22). The most common areas with the appearance of acnes are the back, chest or face.

The effects of milk on cancer are still controversial. Despite some research in favor of benefits of milk on preventing cancer, there are many which reveal the association between dairy products and prostate cancer (23) (24).

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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