MILAN – June 1 is observed as World Milk Day every year. The campaign was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk. Loaded with nutrients like protein, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B12, and D, potassium and magnesium, it is believed to be much more nutritious than most beverages.
Milk has been recognized as an important part of our daily diet, across all cultures. Be it in our daily cup of tea and coffee or in shakes, smoothies and ice cream, milk has numerous uses but is most often enjoyed alone.
This is probably because milk is regarded as a complete meal. But, why so? And, is it true? We set out to discover.
Milk is regarded as a complete food because of its rich content of protein, fat, carbohydrates, all known vitamins and various minerals essential for sustaining life and maintaining good health.
The protein in milk is known to have all the major amino acids required for building tissues and the repair of damaged cells in our body.
“Milk is labelled as a complete food because it packs all essential nutrients like carbs, proteins, fats, fibers and vitamins except iron,” says Bangalore-based nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood. According to her, the two essential nutrients in milk that make it so nutritious are:
- Carbohydrates that comprise of lactose (a form of sugar) and a high quantum of soluble fibers.
- Soluble fibers bond with sugar and fat and delay digestion. Therefore, milk is highly recommended for people suffering from constipation. Drinking warm milk is good for people with stomach problems and even those who have erratic meal timings.
It is full of proteins such as casein, albumin and globulin.
Milk is a good source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 that ensures healthy functioning of the brain and the nervous system.
The book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK Publishing House mentions that milk has high amounts of Vitamin B3 (niacin) which may help maintain a steady weight and improve energy expenditure.
The calcium in dairy foods also increases the metabolism of fats. The book further suggests that the calcium content in milk may reduce the risk of hypertension by maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels.
Moreover, goat and sheep milk contain capric acid, a healthy fat that helps in raising the levels of HDL cholesterol or the good cholesterol.
Diabetics can also enjoy a glass of this wonder beverage for its palmitoleic acid, another healthy fat, protects against insulin resistance.
So, have it alone or blend it with your favourite fruits to make a shake, milk is great any which way. In this scorching weather, you can even make some cooling sherbets with milk or the good-old cold coffee is always great.
Happy World Milk Day!