This essential vitamin is only found in foods of animal origin (Ref), and milk is very high in B12 (Ref).
Milk is a crucial component of our diet. It is perhaps our only diet as newborns. However, in some cases, the intake decreases as we get older. Some people are under the common misconception that it might add unnecessary fat to their diet. But milk is one substance that has multi-fold benefits that never get irrelevant with age. And it is never too late to discover and reap these benefits.
Here’s how consuming milk can benefit your body:
- Brain Health
Scientists from the University of Kansas have concluded from studies that adults, who have a higher percentage of dairy as a part of their diet, possess more glutathione. Glutathione helps in cell reinforcement in the mind. It can help keep reduce oxidative stress and the consequent damage caused by chemical reactions in the brain. This will lower the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and also lead to improved functioning of the brain.
- Bone Health
Milk is loaded with vitamin D along with calcium. Hence it works best in strengthening the bones. Our bones not only provide us with structure, but they also help in storing calcium in the body. If we do not get enough calcium from our diet, it is pulled from our bones to serve other functions. Hence milk helps in keeping diseases like osteoporosis at bay.
- Mental health
Vitamin D, when consumed at adequate levels, helps in the generation of serotonin. It is a hormone that is linked with the state of one’s mind, rest and hunger. Insufficient vitamin D has been known to cause depression and gloom in adults. Calcium, in turn, helps the body in the ingestion of vitamin D. And milk is one such thing that comes packed with both of these vital nutrients.
- Heart health and blood pressure
In a study that involved forty-five thousand adults, Monash University in Australia studied dairy intake and its impact on the blood pressure of those who consumed it. The results implied that people who consumed more dairy products had lesser chances of being susceptible to hypertension than those who consumed fewer dairy products. However, what you must remember is that the milk should be low-fat or fat-free, otherwise it does not help. Thus milk helps in maintaining the blood pressure level in the body.
- Weight loss
Data available from research has revealed that people who consume milk and related dairy products have an upper hand when it comes to losing belly fat. Overall weight could be better handled. This applies to most food items that are rich in calcium. Calcium present in the milk aids in breaking down body fats efficiently, which in turn promotes weight loss.
- Muscle build-up
About 20% of milk consists of protein. Amongst this protein, 80% of it is available in the form of Casein. Casein happens to be a form of protein that is easily absorbed by the body. It can be easily assimilated and utilized by the human body. Thus milk helps in building muscle mass and keeps our metabolism charged as well.
- Good for healthy skin
Milk helps in keeping the skin soft and also adds to a natural glow. Most of the vitamins and nutrients which are required by our skin can be found in milk. Legend also says that Cleopatra used milk to bathe. So drinking two glasses of milk every day would be a more viable and useful alternative.
Milk has a healthy amount of water, thus it helps in keeping our bodies hydrated. Particularly for children involved in a lot of physical activity, milk is a good option to catch up with their hydration needs.
So while the benefits are aplenty, there are a few downsides to the consumption of milk as well:
- Lactose Intolerance
There are many people suffering from lactose intolerance. Consuming milk or any other dairy products would result in problems like diarrhea, cramping, and gas. The symptoms could be mild or extremely severe. If lactose-intolerant people enjoy having milk and want to continue to have it, having an enzyme that will help in the digestion of milk sugars after having milk would be a feasible solution.
- High Saturated Fat Content
Milk which is not of the low-fat or non-fat variety is high in saturated fats. Such varieties will lead to a higher incidence of heart disease and should be avoided. Switching to healthier low-fat versions is advisable.
- Increased chances of cancer
A high intake of calcium from milk comes with an increased risk of prostate cancer in men as well as ovarian cancer in women.
To completely denounce the fact that milk could be bad for our health is wrong. However, when the pros and cons are compared, it can be easily concluded that consuming healthy varieties of milk in proper quantities will do any person of any age a lot of good. A glass of milk to go with the apple will do a better job of keeping the proverbial doctor away.
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