Milk - composition and benefits from regular use
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of the mammals. All mammals, including humans, produce milk to feed their offspring until it is prepared for solid food. This is the basic and initial function of the milk, but its value does not stop here. There are findings that the use of milk dates back 7000 years. In the past, milk represented a luxury, used only by the wealthy and royal families, and cows and sheep were highly valued because of their ability to produce drinking milk.
In 1862, French biologist and chemist Louis Pasteur for the first time performed the process known, after his name, as Pasteurisation, with which by heating certain foods at temperatures around 60˚C, major germs that could spoil the food are destroyed. This process has revolutionised the food industry of milk, wine and beer industries, ensuring the quality of these products for safe use.
Regular use of drinking milk today is recommended not only for young children but also for adults with consumption of at least one glass daily. The benefits of drinking milk and dairy products are substantial and, in some cases, irreplaceable in terms of chemical composition.
Milk is considered a vital source of vitamin D and calcium, without which our body would not have strong immunity nor healthy and strong bones. Milk contains about 3,2 g proteins, 4,8 g carbohydrates, 3,3 g fat, 0,08 g omega 3, 0,12 g omega 6. This is the nutritional composition of whole milk.
From the following table you can learn more about the contents of just one glass of milk.
|Nutritional value of milk (100 g)|
|Calcium, Ca (mg)||125|
|Iron, Fe (mg)||0,03|
|Magnesium, Mg (mg)||11|
|Phosphorus, P (mg)||95|
|Potassium, К (mg)||150|
|Sodium, Na (mg)||44|
|Zinc, Zn (mg)||0,42|
|Vitamin B-6 (mg)||0,04|
|Folates, DFE (µg)||5|
|Vitamin B-12 (µg)||0,47|
|Vitamin А (µg)||14|
|Vitamin А, IU (IU)||47|
|Vitamin Е (mg)||0,02|
|Vitamin D (IU)||1|
|Vitamin К (µg)||0,1|
|Saturated fatty acids (g)||0,63|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)||0,28|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)||0,04|
All these nutrients which are included in the composition of milk and dairy products are essential to the human organism and its overall good health. Here are some examples of how the nutrients have a positive impact on the organism and health:
- Calcium: For healthy bones, teeth and good bone mass.
- Protein: Source of energy and regeneration of muscle tissue.
- Potassium: For normal blood pressure.
- Phosphorus: Helps strengthen bones and vitality, as well as growth.
- Vitamin D: For immunity and healthy bones.
- Vitamin B12: For healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue.
- Vitamin A: For immunity, healthy eyes and skin.
- Riboflavin (B2): To convert food into energy.
- Ниацин: Regulates the metabolism of sugars and fats.
Lactose or milk sugar is a unique carbohydrate found in milk and is a source of a third of its energy value. Milk has it in the largest amount, and in fermented products (yoghurt, soured milk, sour cream , etc.) the lactose is fermented and transformed into another form. It is the least present in semi hard and hard cheeses due to the bacteria in their composition which require a longer period for fermentation.
The proteins from the milk fall in the group of proteins which encourage growth and allow regeneration of the organism. The high nutritional value of milk is due, inter alia, to the biologically valuable protein rich in essential amino acids. There are three types of protein in milk, the most common being casein with 3%, lactalbumin with 0.5% and lactoglobulin 0.05%.
The essential value of milk
Not consuming milk or dairy products can result in osteoporosis and severe anaemia. This highly nutritious white liquid is known to be the main source of calcium which is a necessary mineral for skeletal growth and its firmness and density. Calcium also protects the body from serious chronic diseases such as bone loss, arthritic conditions, headaches and migraines, PMS syndrome as well as obesity in children. Calcium is an essential mineral for the proper formation of bone mass and structure of the human body, and it is found in the biggest quantities in milk and dairy products. Bone disorders such as osteoporosis can be prevented by significant daily intake of milk. Children (who are not allergic to milk ingredients) deprived of cow's milk have an increased chance of suffering bone fractures due to injuries, and their treatment time may be significantly longer if they do not have a steady intake of calcium to help re-establish bone growth.
In addition to being a noble mineral for bones, calcium has also been proven to reduce cardiovascular diseases and the chance of heart disease and even heart attacks. Long-term studies from Japan have shown that there is a correlation between daily calcium intake with a reduced chance of stroke, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Milk peptides help reduce enzymes which increase blood pressure. Also, the magnesium and potassium contents in the milk, act as a vasodilator, which lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow to the vital organs, and reduces stress on the heart and cardiovascular system.
Milk is healthy for teeth, and if children consume it regularly, it protects the enamelled surface from acidic substances and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum problems.
Milk prevents dehydration of the body because basically it is a fluid composed of a high percentage of water.
It is also good for the treatment of dry skin. Lactic acid has the power to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin allowing rejuvenation and regeneration of the skin. Due to the impressive amount of Vitamin A, which is a known antioxidant, drinking milk regularly eliminates free radicals and dangerous by-products, bringing the organism to a balanced and healthy state of functioning.
Of course, cow's milk in some people causes unwanted health conditions in the form of allergies, lactose intolerance and other. Everyone should listen to their own organism and eat healthy.
Milk and dairy products have a great nutritional value which is vital to the human body and needs to be consumed regularly, in order to experience its benefits.