Milk is an indispensible component of most of our daily diets. Milk is a complete food. It was the original super food. Milk has found its place in different religions, traditions and culture. Throughout the world be it in the east or west, its availability cannot be denied. Milk and dairy products like cheese, butter, etc are part of our daily meals. Different sources of milk are humans, cows, goats, sheep, camels, etc. Nowadays, a number of alternatives are available like soy milk, almond milk, and more for people with lactose intolerance. But have you ever given a thought as to how much milk can benefit your health?
- The backbone of your Health: Milk is a rich source of calcium, and it contains nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, carbohydrates, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, protein, zinc and riboflavin. These vitamins, minerals and trace elements fulfill vital roles in various metabolic functions of the body. Calcium promotes healthy bone growth in children and maintains bone strength in adults. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and protein are very important for healthy bone formation, growth and development. The functioning, durability, and repair of our bone and skeletal system are all dependent on them. Calcium maintains bone mineral density preventing fractures.
- There’s a reason to smile: Have you ever wondered why some people have shiny radiant smiles and some shy away from showing their teeth? The difference may lie in their consumption of milk. The protective layer of a tooth, the enamel surface is formed from a protein called casein found abundantly in milk. Milk can ensure excellent dental health in kids. In today’s lifestyle, where acidic food and drinks are a routine, healthy enamel protects the teeth from decaying by corrosive action of acidic foods.
- Shower love on your skin: You must have read in history about women having milk baths. Does it really help? Indeed it does! Milk is excellent for the skin. Time and again it has been used in beauty creams, face packs, etc. Difficult to believe? Then try for yourself, direct application of milk for ten minutes on your face and rinse with water later. Feel the difference! Milk can enhance your complexion, improve your skin texture, and can give you a healthier and fresher skin. It helps in removing dead skin and acts as an excellent cleanser. It shrinks open pores and prevents wrinkles. Here is your secret now for a younger looking skin. Consumption of milk too helps skin in a huge way. The antioxidant action of milk removes free radicals from the skin and Vitamin A helps to boost the health of your skin.
- Grab a glass to cut the flab: Want to shed those extra pounds? Here is an easy, simple and cheap trick for you. Research has shown that women who included skim milk in their daily diet found it easier to lose weight. Milk is a healthy aid in reducing weight and losing unwanted fats. As an appetizer and a healthy snack, a glass of milk can be had with dinner or with a fruit.
- Long term goals: We all have planned our long term financial goals so that our future is safe and secure. But have you prepared for long term health? How healthy do you want to be when you are, say, 70? Milk can help you achieve your heath goals. It helps in reducing blood pressure as calcium, magnesium and potassium in milk act as vasodilators, decreasing the blood pressure. They reduce atherosclerosis i.e. cholesterol deposition in arteries, reducing the chances of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. So, milk is a must for a healthy heart. Milk decreases the production of cholesterol from the liver. It also helps in type 2 diabetes, and reduces the risk of cancer. Vitamin A in milk enhances your eyesight. For patients with peptic ulcer, chronic dyspepsia, and gastro esophageal reflux disease, milk can help in reducing symptoms and the burning pains.
- Stress buster: After a tiresome day at the office, a glass of milk will replenish your lost energy. A glass of lukewarm milk may decrease stress and relax the nerves. Take a glass of milk when feeling exhausted, and it will help you focus more. It also helps in building muscle. It is an excellent fluid for rehydration. It will keep you fit, healthy and strong. The carbohydrates in milk improve vitality. Potassium helps in optimal functioning of nerves. Magnesium is needed for muscular function, phosphorus for energy release and the proteins in milk helps in body repair and growth. So the next time you are longing for an energy drink, opt for milk instead!
Now we know why your mother ran behind you with that glass of milk. Since the time we are born, in our growing years, during milestones, pregnancy, lactation and old age, milk is a vital source of nutrients at all steps. Whether you are an athlete or a housewife; office goer or a school kid; lactating mother or in old age, milk is truly the universal superfood.
Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD