April 2nd 2011

Milk: whey too good to pass up

We’re constantly bombarded with information on what is “good” and “bad” for our body.

One day the new “superfood” is acai berry, while the next day we hear that good ol’ blueberries have more antioxidants. The next day we learn that organic chicken is the way to go, but then hear that it actually has more hormones than its conventional counterparts.

One thing stays true, though.

Milk does a body good.

Why drink milk?

So what’s in milk that makes it so darn good for us? According to the National Dairy Council, milk is loaded with nine essential benefits for our health. These include:

Calcium: Calcium is designed to help build healthy bones and teeth. It also maintains our bone mass.

Protein: We know how important protein is our body. It serves as a source of energy and help build and repair muscle tissue. For more on whey protein, one of the two proteins found in milk, read below.

Potassium: This nutrient helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Other good sources include potatoes and bananas.

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a key nutrient to help strengthen bones and generate energy.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D works alongside calcium to help maintain bones.

Vitamin B12: Derived from animal sources only, this vitamin is fortified into milk to help maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue.

Vitamin A: A top contender in most fruits and vegetables, too, vitamin A strengthens the immune system and helps maintain normal vision and skin.

Riboflavin (B2): A smaller B vitamin, B2 changes food into energy.

Niacin: Another one of the Bs, niacin metabolizes sugars and fatty acids.

To get the benefits of all of these, just one eight ounce glass of milk is enough. You know the saying, milk does a body good.

Milk for losing weight

Because these nutrients are key for our bodies, they play a role in weight loss, too — especially in post exercise. Although drinking a gallon of cream for breakfast with a side of fried brie cheese isn’t the meal that we need, milk packs a bit of a nutritional punch post-exercise. Recent studies have shown that when milk was consumed after weight training, more body fat was lost and more muscle mass was gained than for those who drank drinks with the same amount of energy and macronutrients.

Milk for good health

Preventing some diseases can be done with drinking some of the white stuff. In fact, drinking milk can lessen your chances of illness from heart disease and stroke by up to 20 percent.

And yes, it can contribute to it, too. Cholesterol overload is, indeed, one of the precursors to both. But cholesterol is only one part of the equation. And all the nutrients in can provide in a single glass of skim makes for a job well done. Long-term studies have shown that milk and dairy can help reduce type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and stroke and heart disease, too.

Whey for health

Milk is filled with different proteins: whey and casein. However, whey protein trumps the other, and here is why:

Immune System: whey protein contains immunoglobulin, an antibody in concentrations of up to 15 percent, which helps suppress the lymphocyte proliferative response to T cells.

Cancer Fighting: Research has found whey protein can help decrease the risks of cancer (especially liver and pancreas), due to the glutathione stimulation it induces. It also has an iron-binding property, which helps prevent tisssue and cell damage.

Cardiovascular Disease: Drinking too much milk can up the saturated fat, but if you supplement with whey protein you can rid yourself of the excess. Studies have shown it’s benefit of lowering bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure.

Osteoporosis: Along with calcium, studies show that whey protein powder can increase femoral bone strength, and therefore, reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Whey for fitness recovery

For the best recovery process, whey protein is the best option. It is made up of the highest biological value of any protein source available. Biological value (BV) rates describe the the availability of the protein once consumed. Whey has been shown as one of the most rapidly absorbed proteins, which is what your muscles need and your body craves. It includes the highest percentage of essential amino acids; twenty-five percent of them are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which are important for muscle tissue repair.

Milk for animals

Humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from drinking milk. Animals can, too. When consuming the optimal balance of amino acids (which milk delivers), it gives them a source of protein that you know you can trust. This protein, just like in humans, will help with maintaining strength and muscle mass.

In addition to the protein, it gives a good amount of saturated fats which, when balanced with unsaturated fats, delivers premium nutrition. And as we know, fat helps us feel full… And tastes good, too.

Animal and pet food should be chocked full of what we are giving ourselves, too: a perfect balance all the nutrients we need. When milk is a part of a pet’s diet, they are getting the nine essential benefits that we get: calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and niacin.

How Much Milk?

To reap the full benefits of milk, the USDA says adults should try to consume three servings of milk products per day. A serving size is 1 cup of milk or yogurt and 1.5 ounces of natural cheese. Or, of course, throw a scoop of whey protein in a blender with some fruit and you have yourself a breakfast chocked full of the nutrients you need.

Post a Comment

Andrew's Biography

Email this Author with comments or questions.

Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.