They say milk does the body good, and everyone from growing kids to bodybuilders and all those in between have their reasons for consuming it long after their infant years. Some prefer it ice cold, while others add it to their coffee or tea, or add chocolate or strawberry syrup to it. Others prefer it in shake form, but however it is taken, it is full of the vitamins and nutrients that help keep people healthy.
Farm fresh milk can be raw or pasteurized, depending on the farmer and what people like. Raw milk is popular for people seeking homeopathic remedies for a variety of ailments such as allergies, but many find the risk factor for bacteria such as E. coli and listeria to make it not worth it. Pasteurized milk still contains many health benefits, and tastes great, too. Here are three important reasons to drink milk.
Calcium: Known as a strong contributor to bone health, calcium is a must have in a healthy diet. While strong bones are often attributed to the calcium found in milk, calcium actually plays a significant role in many different body functions. The nervous system is benefited by calcium, as are muscles including the heart. And not only do bones grow stronger from calcium, they also store it so the body can draw from it when needed.
While calcium can be ingested through many other means, especially things grown on farms like broccoli, kale, and collard greens, milk is a quick and easy way to maintain a healthy level. Better yet, milk products, such as cheeses, yogurt and sometimes even ice cream also contain the important mineral.
Vitamin D: An important partner to calcium, some milk is fortified with Vitamin D to aid in the absorption of calcium. Without Vitamin D, calcium is practically useless because it can’t be absorbed into the body. Vitamin D’s most important role is its partnership with calcium. Those who have the proper intake of vitamin D in their diet also find they are at a lower risk for many different types of cancer, a smaller risk for depression, and are less likely to experience weight gain than those who are deficient in the vitamin.
While the body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight, many regions don’t provide enough light to keep the production ample throughout the year, so foods fortified with it are an important part of a healthy diet. The vitamin occurs also in egg yolks, tuna or sardines, cod liver oil, and beef or calf liver to name a few.
Protein: Milk is an easy way to drink some protein, while remaining relatively low calorie for the amount of protein provided. There are many meats and beans that also provide protein to the diet, but especially for people on the go, or needing protein following a hearty workout. Especially chocolate milk can be a great recovery drink for those who have worked out heavily and need to replenish protein and carbohydrates.
All in all, milk may not always get the credit it deserves, as many people think only infants should consume it, it’s a great addition to any vegetarian or carnivorous diet.