The rich nutrient content in cow milk stimulates our metabolic activity and adds to our health in so many ways. It is the most popular beverage in the world. It is produced by the mammary glands of the mammals to give to their offspring. However, we need lactase to digest milk, and when the body does not produce enough lactase, the person may become lactose intolerant. That and milk allergies notwithstanding, cow milk has enough benefits to make us add it to our daily diet.
Health benefits of cow milk
Good for the bones: Cow Milk is good for the bones due to the high amount of calcium present. This mineral is essential for teeth also. You need to have Vitamin D along with the milk for optimum health benefit. We get most of the Vitamin D from exposure to the sunlight. For this reason, we need to spend some time outdoors daily.
Good for the heart: This is due to the presence of potassium. Potassium enhances vasodilation and reduces the blood pressure. The risk of cardiovascular disease decreases when we increase the amount of potassium and decrease the amount of sodium in our diet. But beware, taking potassium supplements to augment the potassium in the diet may have side effects. Better to stick to milk alone.
Cancer protection: Milk contains Vitamin D that helps regulate cell growth. This, in turn, prevents the formation of cancer cells.
Fights depression: Serotonin is a hormone that controls the mood, sleep, and appetite. Vitamin D deficiency leads to depression and chronic fatigue. For good health, we need to take cow milk fortified with vitamin D.
Helps growth: Cow Milk is full of nutrients needed for the growth of the calf. Humans can also benefit from this. Milk helps the young ones build muscle fast. It gives energy in the form of saturated fat. When you have a good amount of muscle, it helps in weight loss. Sufficient dietary protein is needed to maintain lean muscle mass.
Helps offset osteoarthritis: Drinking milk daily can help delay the onset of osteoarthritis. At present, we have no cure for osteoarthritis.
Nutritional content of cow milk
One serving of cow milk consists of one cup. We choose the milk according to the fat content. Normally, our milk contains 3.25% fat. This has 146 calories. The other nutrients are these:
- Fat – 8 grams
- Protein – 8 grams
- Carbohydrates – 13 grams
Other than this, it contains minerals and vitamins that we need for the body metabolism.
Calcium: Milk is considered the richest source of calcium. Calcium involves in many metabolic functions in the body other than building bones and teeth. For instance, it takes part in healing and blood clotting. It helps maintain normal pressure and takes part in muscle contraction during heartbeat. Vitamin D helps the calcium absorption in the small intestine while magnesium helps incorporate them in the bone. So, try to include magnesium and Vitamin D in the diet. From one cup of cow milk we get one-third (304 mg) of our daily calcium requirement.
Choline: This is an important nutrient that supports sleep, memory, learning, and muscle movement. Choline helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes, helps transit nerve impulses, and helps the body absorb fat. It supports the decrease of chronic inflammation. 1 cup of 1% milk has 43 grams of choline that is 8% of the daily value (DV).
Potassium: One needs a minimum of 4,700 mg of potassium per day. Decreased intake of potassium will lead to high blood pressure, stroke, loss of lean muscle mass, formation of kidney stones, and a decrease of bone density. One cup of cow’s milk has 367 mg of potassium.
Vitamin D: You do not have Vitamin D naturally in milk. You only have it in fortified milk of all types. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to muscle pain, chronic fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, PMS, and hypertension. It helps calcium absorption and immune functions.
Other forms of fortified milk may contain Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, magnesium, phosphorus, and Vitamin B6. The other ingredients could include Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Vitamin A is destroyed when it is exposed to the sunlight. So, keep your milk covered.
Cow milk side effects and allergy
Lactose intolerance: Since you need lactase to synthesize the sugar found in milk, if you lack this enzyme, you will show lactose intolerance. Some of the common symptoms due to this ailment include stomach bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence. One of the negative effects of lactose intolerance is the lower absorption of nutrients from the food we eat.
If you have this problem, you can choose lactose-free milk that has added enzymes that help lactose digestion. You can take a lactose supplement when drinking milk is not possible.
Milk allergy: Hypersensitivity to cow milk is an abnormal immunologic reaction. In this, the body produces an antibody called immunoglobin E (IgE) antibody. This allergy causes symptoms such as asthma, wheezing, rhinitis, and eczema. If the case is severe, then it can lead to pneumonia, bleeding, and even death through anaphylaxis.
Overconsumption of potassium or phosphorus: Both phosphorus and potassium exist in high quantities in milk and if one’s kidneys are not functioning properly, the amount in the blood will increase to toxic levels. In due course, it might prove fatal.
Over consumption of calcium: This is rare if one gets calcium from food alone. This causes unwanted side-effects such as kidney stones, kidney failure, or constipation. Excess calcium could get deposited in the walls of the arteries. This could lead to heart disease especially when the magnesium intake is low. One should restrict the intake of calcium to less than 2.5 grams per day.
Increased chance of cancer: There is increased chances of cancer of the reproductive system. This includes cancers of the prostate and breast.
Risk for infants: There is increased risk for infants who take cow’s milk instead of mother’s milk because the iron content is low in cow’s milk. Also, there is an increased chance of gastrointestinal bleeding. Children under the age of 1 year should be given only breastmilk. When children are not exposed to com milk protein in the first three months of their life had a 30% lower incidence of type 1 diabetes.
Acidifying effect: The animal protein found in cow milk shows an acidifying effect.
- Medical News Today Milk: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
- Organic Facts 7 Incredible Cow Milk Benefits https://www.organicfacts.net/
- com Nutritional Facts for Milk http://www.livestrong.com/