Benefits of Milk in your Diet
Fresh milk is rich source of essential nutrients including protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C. Reduced-fat fresh milk in particular, because it lacks the fat content of other dairy products such as whole milk, offers health benefits yet fewer of the health risks associated with consuming saturated fat and cholesterol. Including three servings of fresh milk in your diet each day can help you maintain muscle mass, strengthen your bones, support a favorable body composition and improve your circulatory health.
Milk provides the following beneficial nutrients
- Calcium – for healthy bones and teeth
- Phosphorus – for energy release
- Magnesium – for muscle function
- Protein – for growth and repair
- Vitamin B12 – for production of healthy cells
- Vitamin A – for good eyesight and immune function
- Zinc – for immune function
- Riboflavin – for healthy skin
- Folate – for production of healthy cells
- Vitamin C – for formation of healthy connective tissues
- Iodine – for regulation of the body’s metabolism
In addition to being essential to tissue repair, enzyme and hormone synthesis, immune system support and energy production, protein provides the structure of your muscle fibers. The proteins in fresh milk are especially helpful because they contain all of the essential amino acids, the protein building blocks you lack the ability to make and therefor include in your diet. In addition, the two predominant proteins, casein and whey, play important roles in muscle building. Your gut digests and absorbs casein relatively slowly, allowing for a steady release of amino acids into your bloodstream to nourish your muscles in a sustained manner, while whey protein enters your body fairly quicker. Whey not only gives your muscle fibers a quick nutrient boost, but also supplies branch-chained amino acids that can help with muscle recovery following a workout.
Your body needs a continous supply of calcium and phosphorus to maintain a robust skeletal system. Fresh milk provides these minerals and is one of the best food sources of these nutrients. Your bones contribute to your physical structure and allow movement. Having a reserve of these nutrients is important because they play a critical role in muscle contraction, nerve transmission, cellular communication and circulatory health. However if your dietary calcium and phosphorus quantity is low and your body keeps pulling them from your bones, you may eventually compromise the integrity of your bone structure and may develop osteoporosis. Drinking fresh milk, which also contains the vitamin D that assists with calcium absorption can help keep your bones strong.
Diary products such as reduced-fat milk can help you decrease body fat and accelerate the burning of your fat stores as as fuel source. The calcium content of these foods affects your cells’ calcium concentration, which in turn regulates fat metabolism, allowing you to burn more lipids when your calories are low but preventing you from packing on fat when your calorie intake increases. In addition, the branched-chain aminos in the whey portion of milk work together with calcium to create this fat-burning effect, making dairy products preferable to calcium supplements as a means to help manage your weight and improve your body composition.
The vitamins and minerals in milk help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin A, for example, functions as an antioxidant and can fight inflammation, a contributor to heart disease. Calcium and vitamin D can help keep blood pressure within a healthy range, and drinking low-fat milk can help prevent obesity and elevated cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for circulatory disorders.