Milk is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world, and has a number of health benefits to users. The benefits are a result of the components which are present in milk, such as minerals (calcium, phosphorous), proteins, vitamins and butter fat among others.
Milk can be consumed after processing or it can be made into a number of products such as ghee, cheese, butter, cream and fermented products such as yoghurt. Once consumed, the milk and dairy products offers the following benefits to the body:-
Benefits of milk and bone health
The health of bones depends on minerals such as calcium, phosphorous and magnesium for proper growth and development. Bones also need proteins for proper formation and development. All these essential nutrients can be supplied by milk, if adequate amounts of milk are consumed. Unfortunately consumption of milk tends to decrease as people advance in age, which should not be the case. Milk will also help in protecting bones from diseases such as osteoporosis, which is common in later stages of life.
The health of teeth is also determined by a number of micro and macro nutrients which are consumed. From milk and milk products, the body is able to get sufficient levels of phosphorus and calcium which play a vital role in development and maintenance of healthy teeth. Proteins in form of casein present in milk are also important as it forms a thin film or layer on enamel. The layer is important as it prevents the loss of important micro nutrients such as phosphate and calcium from enamel especially when a tooth is exposed to acids. This is important as it ensures that the integrity of the tooth is maintained through irrespective of the food that is consumed.
Studies conducted have revealed that when milk is consumed, it reduces the negative effects on teeth caused by carcinogenic foods.
The health of the skin
Milk is rich in number nutrients such as lactic acid and amino acids which if taken in adequate amounts can give one a healthy and glowing skin. The lactic acid present in milk is vital as it acts like an exfoliator which is important in making enzymes smoothen the skin. The level of amino acids is also important as it keeps the skin moisturized all day long thus improving on its appearance. In regard to the skin, milk is rich in antioxidants which are important in preventing skin damage which may be caused by the environment among other causative factors. All these nutrients will keep your skin healthy, glowing and even look younger.
After a workout or exercise/training, the body loses a lot of fluids. If these are not replenished, it can cause problems with the muscles. To avoid this, a glass of milk or two is important, as it helps in keeping muscle pain away. This is due to whey proteins which are present in milk, which help break down the acid buildup post exercise. In the process the muscles will be rebuild.
General health of the body
Milk has a number of properties which make it useful in fighting high blood pressure and in some instances stroke. When consumed, milk reduces the level of cholesterol production and at the same time it may act as an antacid. All these are important in maintaining good general body health. On the other hand, the presence of vitamin A and B in milk has been associated with good eyesight and lowers the risk of some cancers.
In terms of cancer, milk offers a protective effect especially against breast cancer and colorectal cancers. The effect of milk can only be seen in men and women who regularly drink milk approximately 1.5 glasses of milk per day or more. Conjugated Linoleic Acid is one of the components in milk which has exhibited protection against the cancers mentioned above.
For overall body hydration, it is recommended that one consumes six to eight glasses of water daily. When one is dehydrated, milk is an important choice of fluid which can be used in rehydrating the body. The milk not only rehydrates the body but also provides the teeth with protection from damage resulting from dehydration.
People with a body mass index of more than twenty five are classified as overweight, obese or severe obese. This therefore implies that their bodies/heights are not able to support their weight hence a call to lose some of the extra calories. Skimmed milk plays a key role in weight loss as it helps in facilitating the breakdown of extra calories stored under the skin as adipose tissues. The presence of reduced fats in milk also indicates that the body will receive less of the required calories hence trigger the breakdown of the excess calories for energy as a result leading to weight loss.
As human beings, in one way or another we may experience stress and the levels may not be acceptable. Because of this therefore, relieving this stress or alleviating it is important. Milk functions very well in addressing this as it soothes the frayed nerves thus reducing and relieving one from stress. Milk has also been associated with a reduction in PMS symptoms and also boosts energy.
Milk and blood pressure
A consumption of three portions of milk and five portions of fruits has been associated with a decline in blood pressure. The minerals present in milk are involved in the whole mechanism of reducing blood pressure which is a health benefit to the body.
Type 2 diabetes
The consumption of low fat milk or dairy products has been associated with reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has been a problem to adults and in some cases children and its reduction has been possible because of the combined effects of nutrients present in milk such as calcium, magnesium.