Milk is an important component in a healthy diet and it is needed during all stages of life. Research has proven the benefits of milk, a summary of which can be found below.
Milk is good for: toddlers and children
The maxim for infants is ‘breast is best’. When children are one year old, they can eat regular milk products. For toddlers and children there are three main reasons to drink milk:
- Milk provides nutrients that are needed for growing?
- Milk provides nutrients that regulate the complex machinery in the body and allow it to run smoothly
- Milk provides nutrients that contribute to protection and immunity
Milk is good during: pregnancy
During pregnancy it is important for mother and child to eat and drink healthy. Milk form part of a healthy diet. Moms-to-be in particular need sufficient nutrients for the health of their babies and themselves. Milk is a source of protein and 7 vitamins and minerals.
(Semi-)skimmed milk is good for: people who want to lose weight
If you want to lose weight, you may cut down on calories but you will still need all kinds of nutrients. Milk is a source of protein and 7 vitamins and minerals that fits in well within a healthy diet. Semi-skimmed or skimmed milk delivers a good balance between nutrient richness and calories for energy and hence is a very convenient and nutritious food when managing weight. Milk provides a lot of the recommended nutrients. In addition to this, skimmed milk contains less than 0.5% fat and semi-skimmed contains between 1.5 and 1.8% fat.
Milk is good for: people who have malnutrition
Milk products provide energy and proteins that people with malnutrition need. Malnutrition occurs most often in the elderly or during illness. Malnutrition can lead to weight loss. There are various reasons why people lose weight without the desire to do so. Adequate nutrition with extra protein and energy is important to prevent and treat malnutrition. Milk products like whole-fat milk or cheese are a good choice for people with malnutrition.
Milk is good for: practitioners of sport
It is important for practitioners of sport to eat healthily. Milk is an important part of a healthy diet. But in the case of exercise or sports activities, acute nutrient needs will change. Fluid intake to ensure water and minerals lost in sweat are replenished is important. Energy needs are also increased. Interestingly, in recent years several studies have hinted at milk (including flavoured and chocolate milk) being good candidates for sports nutrition. There are various reasons for this: the water and minerals in milk are involved in rehydration; together with the sugar in milk the proteins help to rapidly replenish the body’s depleted stores of carbohydrates (mainly present in muscle tissue); and the superior quality of milk proteins allows effective repair of the damaged protein in muscles. Several sport nutritionists advise consuming milk as a part of a healthy diet and recommend consuming milk products between 0 – 2 hours after activity.
Milk is good for: bone health
Milk intake during the first 30 years of life is an excellent investment in good quality bones during ageing. Milk and milk products are world-famous for containing the calcium needed for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth. Bone is renewed every day in a continuous process. With only a few servings, milk fulfils not only the high requirement for calcium but also the requirement for other nutrients that are needed for this process, such as protein and phosphorous. Without consumption of milk products, it is almost impossible to achieve the recommended intake of calcium per day to keep the bones healthy.
Milk is good for: immunity
Our immune system is a complex system of defense in the human body which aims to combat invaders. Healthy nutrition helps maintain the immune system. Milk plays its part in this too. Thus vitamin B2 protects the cells in our body from oxidative damage and vitamin B12 sees to it that our immune system functions normally.