Milk is one of the most widely consumed and varied products in the world. It is a major ingredient in thousands of beverages and foods. Milk is packed with essential nutrients and has more nutrients than any other single food. Its versatility allows it to be consumed hot or cold, to be used to make milkshakes and smoothies, and to be added to coffees, teas and hot cocoa for added nutritional value.
Nutritional value of milk:
It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods, filled with a unique blend of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Milk contains more than 10 essential nutrients that can promote health and prevent disease. A breakdown of the major nutrient compositions is listed below for a better understanding of the benefits of milk.
Consuming 2 to 3 servings of milk and milk products can provide many important nutrients and health benefits. Research has found that milk and milk products are important in the prevention of osteoporosis, they reduce cardiovascular disease, decrease incidence of colon cancer, decrease insulin resistance (diabetes) and help with weight management.
- Cardiovascular disease:
It is s a disease characterized by plaque build-up in the arteries of the heart. This blockage leads to decreased blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle, resulting in hypertension, potential heart attack and stroke. Research has proven that low-fat and non-fat milk and milk products have been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors by reduction in LDL cholesterol, an improved total cholesterol profile and decreased hypertension.
- Colon cancer:
Colon cancer is an abnormal growth of cells throughout the colon which affects the organ’s ability to function properly. Recently, research has concluded that consumption of milk and milk products can significantly decrease the proliferation of colonic cells, thus reducing one’s susceptibility to the disease.
- Insulin resistance:
Insulin is needed to metabolize sugars in the bloodstream and to help sugars pass into the cell for energy. When one is insulin-resistant,it can lead to type 2 diabetes. Current research data shows that milk and milk products can help prevent insulin resistance.
- Weight management:
Obesity is pandemic and is becoming an increasing problem for public health. Several controlled clinical studies on overweight and obese adults following reduced calorie diets with milk and milk products showed greater weight loss than those that just followed a reduced calorie diet.
Milk-The versatile food
We know that milk and milk products provide many health benefits, but how can you include them into your own diet?It is consumed in many forms – yoghurt, yoghurt smoothies, cheese, ice cream, creams, flavored milks, in coffee and of course as plain milk. Here are some tips to add the versatile food in various forms to your diet:
- Instead of adding milk to your coffee, add coffee to your milk
- Drink more low-fat milk like NESTLÉ SLIM Milk and non-fat unflavoured and flavored milks
- Eat more yoghurt (preferably low fat yoghurt like NESTLÉ SLIM Dahi) with your meals and snacks
- Enjoy milk-based smoothies
- Include moderate amounts of low-fat cheeses into your meals and snacks
- Add cottage cheese to your fruit for a healthy dessert or snack
- Ice cream and frozen yoghurt contain calcium, but be aware of products that are high in fat and sugar
- Flavored milk including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry etc. is well liked by children and adults. It is a good source of calcium. Although higher in sugar than plain milk, the flavored beverages contain only about 60 calories more than plain milk. This caloric difference is negligible when comparing the health benefits and nutrient profile of flavored milks to plain milk, especially when kids don’t like it
- People with lactose intolerance (inability to digest lactose found in milk and milk products) should check with a doctor or dietitian to regulate the quantity and quality of milk in the diet. Depending upon the severity of the condition, it is suggested to offer alternatives like soy milk, milk products like buttermilk, yoghurt etc or exclude milk from the diet