All you should know about Milk and Dairy Products

The first food for any mammal including human is “MILK”. It the white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals to feed their offspring until they get ready for solid food. Dairy products are packed with essential nutrients which are difficult to obtain from low dairy or dairy free products. Since times immemorial, they have been an important part of daily human diet and are the official nutritional recommendation in many countries all over the world.

So, why dairy products are important?? Let us know some of its benefits:

  • Milk and other dairy products help in the growth of the child. They help in bone and teeth development by providing enough calcium for the growth and also helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Low fat milk and products are also said to be a good source of potassium, which may enhance vasodilation and reduces blood pressure. Also, a diet high in potassium and low in sodium can lower the risk of ischemic heart disease.
  • Milk is rich in protein therefore provides you a level of satiety which helps in keeping your stomach full for hours.
  • Dairy products are great source of protein to many vegetarian class of society. They provide about 20-28 % of protein requirement depending on the age of the consumer.
  • The major proteins in milk are whey and casein, both are good source of all essential amino acids but they differ in certain aspect such as whey is fast digesting whereas casein is slow digesting protein. A glass of 200ml milk, gives you 6-7 gms of casein and whey protein. The casein protein and lactose(the sugar) present in milk helps in increasing passive calcium absorption in the ileum.
  • Phosphorus ions present in milk combine with protein and peptides which increase inorganic phosphate intake leading to decreased urinary calcium and increased calcium retention at kidney level.
  • Now a days you can find cow’s milk in the market which are fortified with vitamin D, so that it can be better absorbed in the presence of calcium.
  • Dairy products provide more calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus per calories than most of the other foods available for adult consumption.
  • The most important benefit of milk is, its availability!! Milk is easily available to all classes of the society at a relatively low cost, which makes the regular consumption of these products feasible.

Despite the huge benefits of milk and it’s products for bone and teeth health, some people avoid taking dairy products in their daily diet due to beliefs that the products may be detrimental to health, especially in those with weight management issues, lactose intolerance, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or maybe due to some of the old myths about milk.

  • There is a belief that, the person will not able to reduce weight if he/she do not restrict their dairy consumption while on a weight reduction diet, but few studies have been done to see the effect of dairy products on weight and they suggest that milk and other dairy consumption have an association with little weight reduction, with decrease in fat mass and waist circumference and increase in lean body mass. So, anyone on weight reduction diet need not have to restrict dairy products completely.
  • People with lactose intolerance may not need to completely eliminate all dairy products, as they can take both yogurt and hard cheese in their diet.
  • However for people with arthritis, there is no proven fact or evidence for a benefit to avoid dairy consumption.

Dietary recommendation:

  • Three servings of dairy products daily are safe and can provide most of the dietary recommendation of calcium for general population.
  • Its products includes milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheese etc.
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