Health Benefits of Milk
Health Benefits of Milk

milk pouring into glassMilk is a wholesome, nutrient-rich food that provides high levels of essential nutrients

. Milk tastes great and provides significant amounts of many of the nutrients our bodies require for good health.

  • High-quality protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12 

It also provides good amounts of magnesium and vitamin A, and contains potassium, as well. 

Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet. According to government statistics, about a third of men and even more women fall short of calcium recommendations

All milks—whole, reduced fat, low-fat, and fat-free milk—have a similar nutrient profile with the exception of calories and fat. The nutrient content of chocolate and other flavored milk is comparable to that of unflavored milk. In general, chocolate-flavored milks have about 60 more calories than their unflavored counterparts per eight-ounce serving.

Nutrients in Milk

Today, a variety of milks are available to suit different lifestyles and meet the taste, nutrition, health, and convenience preferences of consumers. Milks of varied fat content are available for those wishing to control calorie or fat intake and low- or reduced-lactose milks are available for individuals who experience lactose intolerance.

No matter which type of milk you prefer, milk is a nutrient-rich food, a good source of several essential nutrients and a great source of others, including:

Calcium

  • Essential for healthy bones and teeth, muscle contraction, normal blood clotting and nervous system functioning.
  • Calcium also plays a protective role in hypertension, certain cancers and in body weight management.

Protein

  • Needed to develop and maintain muscles, promote healthy skin and hair, maintain hormonal balance and blood albumin levels.
  • Essential for the proper functioning of antibodies to help resist infection.

Vitamin A

  • Needed for growth, cell division, reproduction, healthy skin, hair and tissues, vision and immune system.

 Vitamin D

  • Promotes absorption and use of calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
  • The skin can synthesize vitamin D if exposed to enough sunlight on a regular basis although that ability diminishes with age.

Vitamin B12

  • Required for the function on an enzyme in producing energy from fats and proteins.

Potassium

  • Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may help to decrease bone loss.
  • Collectively, this unique package of vitamins and minerals work together to keep you healthy and help prevent diseases, such as hypertension and osteoporosis.

Magnesium

  • Aids transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction.

Phosphorous

  • Is an essential component of cell membranes in the form of phospholipids.

One serving of milk is one eight-ounce cup. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals ages nine and older consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day.

Cooking with Milk

Milk is one of the most versatile of all foods. It’s delicious on its own as a beverage, or can be used as a base for hot chocolate, specialty coffees or a tasty milk shake. But milk is far more than just a drink. It can be used to make creamy soups, silky smooth sauces and crispy batters. It can also be used as a base to make delicious desserts, custards, creams, sauces and mousses. Its uses are virtually limitless.

Enjoy the health benefits by cooking with milk containing recipes.

1. Ross A. Modern nutrition in health and disease (11th ed.). 2014. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 

2. Moshfegh A, Goldman J, Ahuja J, Rhodes D, LaComb R. What we eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006: Usual intakes from food and water compared to 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.