What is milk? Definition

Milk is a white liquid, very rich in nutrients, secreted by the mammary glands of female gender mammals after they give birth to their young.

It serves as a primary source of nutrition for infants until they grow up to an age when they are able to digest other types of food.

In humans, the World Health Organization recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months. You can then gradually introduce them to suitable foods after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond.

It is this milk, which builds up the immune system of the baby. Late in pregnancy and for a few days after giving birth, the mammary glands produce colostrum, which in humans is thick, sticky and yellowish. It is small in quantity but highly concentrated in nutrients such as proteins, lactose, and antibodies.

We humans, continue to consume the milk of the cow, buffalo, goat, and camels even as adults. Throughout the world, more than six billion people consume milk and its products.

That is because it is one of the most nutritious beverages on earth for all ages with a host of health benefits. You should drink this beverage every day because of its nutritious composition, which makes you stay healthy.

How much milk should you drink every day?

According to Americandairy.com, adults need to consume 2 to 3 servings of milk, or yogurt or cheese every day to achieve the optimal health benefits from these dairy products.

Health experts define one serving as one cup of 8 ounces.

However, studies indicate that drinking more than the recommended amount may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men and ovarian cancer in women.

Best time of the day to drink milk

Milk consumed in the morning on an empty stomach causes heaviness and drowsiness because it is heavy to digest. This can reduce your efficiency at work or study.

Milk has sedative properties and additionally, its serotonin will help in inducing good sleep. Therefore, if you have problems going to sleep or even otherwise, it is advisable to drink one glass just before you hit the bed.

However, if you are on weight loss or muscle building program, it is better to drink milk after a resistance workout (about 60 minutes after). Studies show that its high-quality proteins promote better muscle building than any other workout drink (like soy or sports drink). It also causes more losses in body fat.

Types of cow’s milk

Cow milk is available in various forms to fit every age and lifestyle. Its fat and calorie content in each serving of 8 ounces in various types differ while the other nutrients remain the same. its fatty portion is called butterfat or milkfat.

  • In whole milk (3.5% fat) no component (such as fat) has been removed. As the Dairy Council of California puts it, whole milk is “the way it comes from the cow before processing.” One cup (8 ounces) of it contains 8 g fat and 150 calories
  • reduced-fat milk (2%) contains 5 g fat and 120 calories
  • low-fat milk (1%) contains 2.5 g fat and 100 calories
  • fat-free milk, also known as skim milk, contains 0 gm fat and 80 calories

The percentages indicate the amount of fat present by weight. For example, milk labeled “2 percent” is 2 percent milkfat by weight. 

While the amount of fat in the milk does affect the calorie and fat content in each serving, all these types remain essentially rich in all other nine nutrients in the same proportion.

Image showing fat, proteins and calories in different types of cow milk
Fats, calories, and proteins in different types of cow milk

How is the fat content in the milk reduced?

There is a wrong notion that water is added to milk to reduce the fat proportion. That is not the case. No water is added.

Before milk is bottled, all of its fat is removed. It is then re-added in the required percentages. Traditionally, fresh milk is left to sit and settle. The cream, which contains most of the fat rises to the top, while the very low fat stays below. The cream is removed leaving behind milk with much less fat.

Today, however, a quicker method is used. The whole milk is put in a centrifugal separator, which spins most or all of the fat globules out of the milk. 

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