You should drink one glass of milk every day, be it in the morning or at night before bedtime. Its role in nutrition is potentially beneficial. Following its best drinking practices gives you the best health benefits
The health benefits derived from drinking it every day spread across all systems of the body including your skin, teeth, hair, stomach, bones, muscle, blood pressure, and even your heart.
Broadly speaking, drinking it every day keeps you healthy during young age, adulthood, and the later years of your life.
Whole milk is a complete food providing you with a healthy amount of macronutrients and micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Besides being associated with a host of healthy benefits on almost all systems of the body, it helps in the prevention of major diseases such as those of the heart and cancer.
You can derive the same benefits by consuming dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese (paneer), and clarified butter.
As an adult, you 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. Each serving is one cup of 8 ounces.
Energy at the macro and micro level
The daily calorie requirement for adults is 2000 cals for women and 2500 cals for men. One glass of whole cow milk (250 mil or 8 ounces) provides you with 150 calories.
Drinking one glass of milk daily is, therefore, not going to contribute much towards weight gain.
Calories in milk are the good calories and not the “empty” calories that you find in aerated drinks and which have no nutritive value.
A calorie is a unit of energy and it provides energy not just for your physical activity but also for essential body activity such as breathing, eating, the metabolism that takes place at the cellular level.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that calcium and vitamin D in the whole milk ensures that you have strong bones and teeth. Whole cow milk contains 24 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin D. Further, some manufacturers fortify it with vitamins A and D.
Drinking it every day also protects you from developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile. Some of the top natural sources of calcium are milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
Though you may get calcium from other foods, you will have to eat ten cups of spinach to get the calcium that you get from drinking one glass of milk.
Milk also supplies your body with potassium, the mineral that is necessary for good bone density.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a positive relationship between potassium and the mineral density of the bones.
Healthy levels of potassium prevent loss of calcium from the bones and help maintain good bone density and bone health. This becomes particularly important in women of and beyond menopausal age and men of advanced age.
It helps in the prevention of osteoporosis, a bone disease that makes the bones weak and brittle and makes one very prone to fall and develop fractures. Milk, therefore, is extremely useful to develop a good bony system.
Milk builds muscle mass and helps lose body fat
According to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, milk helps you develop better and more muscle by drinking it after a strength training exercise (or even otherwise) than any carb-drink or soy. It is not just more muscle but more strength as well.
It is the natural proteins in milk – whey and caseins – that account for a better muscle mass.
Drinking it after a physical workout also helps you lose more body fat than by drinking any other drink. It is speculated that it may be its calcium content that helps you in losing fat.
How milk benefits your skin?
Because of its contents of lactic acid, proteins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, milk acts as a mild exfoliating and moisturizing agent. Furthermore, applying it raw on the face is good especially to tone up your dry skin.
It is a natural skin cleanser and clears up any clogged pores on your face and body. This helps to prevent acne.
Its nutritional profile ensures a good supply of the needed nutrients to your skin if you are a regular milk drinker. It helps in the formation of new skin cells to replace the dead cells.
For sunburn, you can apply whole raw milk on the face. The fat present in it soothes the burnt skin and lubricates it.
Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach move upwards into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation in the chest.
If you experience heartburn, drink a glass of cold milk. The coolness and its thick consistency coats the walls of the esophagus and stomach protecting them from the action of the acidic contents of the stomach.
Milk prevents weight gain
Several studies have been conducted to establish the relationship between drinking milk and its effect on body weight.
They conclude that drinking milk regularly is associated with a lower risk of obesity and surprisingly this lowered risk is associated with whole milk. These findings have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A study also shows that children who consumed high-fat milk were associated with a lower risk of childhood obesity.
To get the best benefits, adults need to consume 2 to 3 cups (an 8 ounces cup) every day.
How does drinking milk prevent weight gain and help in weight loss? It helps in preventing you from gaining weight by virtue of its composition and the nutrients it contains.
- Proteins take longer to digest. The high protein in milk keeps you full for a longer time, which prevents you from overeating.
- its conjugated linoleic acid content promotes the breakdown of fats and inhibits its breakdown thereby boosting weight loss.
- Its rich calcium and vitamin D content helps the body burn calories by increasing the rate of metabolism in our body.
- Milk has high amounts of Vitamin B3 (niacin), which may help keep a steady weight and bring about more energy expenditure by increasing the metabolism rate.
Benefits on blood pressure and heart
Studies conducted in Japan have shown a positive contribution of drinking milk on the health of your heart.
It is very rich in calcium and daily intake of calcium significantly contributes to the reduced risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, and heart disease.
ACEs, (angiotensin-converting enzymes) in our body are responsible for increasing blood pressure. The peptides present in milk inhibit the production of ACEs thereby helping to maintain blood pressure.
Furthermore, the potassium and magnesium in milk have a vasodilator action on the blood vessels thereby again helping to reduce blood pressure and stress on the heart.
- The calcium in milk helps to build strong teeth.
- The protein called casein helps to fight tooth decay and strengthens the tooth enamel.
- The calcium and phosphorous in milk also toughen and repair tooth enamel that has been damaged due to acid.
Milk provides your body with antioxidants
Another potential health benefit of drinking milk is that it provides your body with antioxidants.
Every glass of milk that you drink provides you with a load of antioxidants. This powerful antioxidant property is due to its contents namely: proteins (caseins and whey) sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine, vitamins A, E, carotenoids, enzyme systems, superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.
An oxidant helps the body to fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s antioxidant army.
The production of free radicals is normal during cellular oxidation. However, certain risk factors (environmental and behavioral) cause excessive production of these free radicals.
This increase in free radicals raises the risk of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Therefore, eating foods containing antioxidants keeps your levels in the body high to combat such increases in free radicals and preventing diseases.
According to research conducted by Professor Peter Elwood of Cardiff University, drinking milk can reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke by 20 percent.
It is not just cardiovascular benefits, long-term studies conclude that drinking milk lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and probably bladder cancer.
Benefits on brain
According to dairynutrition.ca, a high dairy intake brings about a reduction in the oxidative stress in the nervous tissue resulting in the improvement of cognitive function and improved memory function in both young adults and the elderly.
To summarize: Health benefits of drinking milk
- The calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus in milk help build strong bones and teeth.
- Potassium helps maintain blood pressure.
- Proteins help repair muscle tissue.
- Again, proteins, phosphorus, and Riboflavin (B2) help to generate energy from food.
- Vitamin B12 improves and maintains the health of the red blood cells and nerve tissue. It also plays a role in improving cognitive function and healthy brain aging.
- Vitamin A strengthens your immune system and helps to maintain normal vision and healthy skin.
- Niacin (vitamin B3) helps in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids and contributes to lowering blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. This helps to maintain a healthy heart.