By Benprince Ezeh
MILK is often seen as food for the wealthy because of the cost of the commodity, but since it is an important source of vitamins and minerals, it should be taken to improve the health of the young and elderly in the society.
Milk is a natural source of food for humans and animals. They produce milk to feed their young ones until they are ready for solid food. Milk, therefore, contains valuable nutrients that help support growth, including calcium and protein. However, there are conflicting reports on the benefits and harmful effects of drinking milk.
But the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, DGA, 2015–2020, recommend that adults eat about the 3-cup equivalent of low fat or fat-free dairy each day as part of a healthful diet. This amount can include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages.
Kenechukwu Okwor, a doctor with the Federal Medical Center, FMC, Abeokuta, says that milk has so many essential nutrients such as calcium for strong bones and teeth. “Calcium is an essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth, muscle movement, and nerve signals. He recommends getting enough calcium to help prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis.
“Milk offers a rich source of calcium. Manufacturers fortify cow milk with vitamin D, another nutrient that is good for bones and may help protect against cancer.
“Calcium protects the gut lining to reduce the risk of colon cancer or rectum cancer, but research has linked too much calcium with prostate cancer.
“Vitamin D protects cell growth regulation. It may help protect against colon cancer, and possibly prostate and breast cancer. However, research has also linked high vitamin D levels to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
“Many factors affect cancer risk. Likewise, cancer can take a long time to develop, so it is difficult to study its causes and risk factors,” he said.
Okwor also said that while calcium is important, not all studies agree that milk is good for preventing osteoporosis or fractures, as a 2019 review discusses. “Due to this discrepancy, scientists still need to do more research,” Okwor said.
In the same vein, Emmanuel Enang, a doctor with the FMC also said that Cow milk helps baby cows grow fast, so it makes sense that cow milk can aid muscle growth. “Cow milk is a rich source of high-quality protein, containing all essential amino acids, whereas whole milk is also a rich source of energy in the form of saturated fat, which can prevent muscle mass from being used for energy.
“However, Low-fat milk can provide the benefits of milk while supplying less fat,” Enang said.
Jennifer Ani, a nutritionist said that milk is a rich source of protein, with just one cup containing 8 grams. “Protein is necessary for many vital functions in your body, including growth and development, cellular repair and immune system regulation. It’s considered a ‘complete protein’, this simply means that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for your body to function at an optimal level.
“There are two main types of protein found in milk ‘casein and whey protein. Both are considered high-quality proteins. Casein makes up the majority of the protein found in cow milk, comprising 70–80% of the total protein content. Whey accounts for around 20%,” she said.
According to Ani, Whey protein contains the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, all of which are linked to health benefits. “Branched-chain amino acids may be particularly helpful in building muscle, preventing muscle loss and providing fuel during exercise.
However, drinking milk is associated with a lower risk of age-related muscle loss in several studies.
In fact, high consumption of milk and milk products has been linked to greater whole-body muscle mass and better physical performance in older adults. It has also been shown to boost muscle repair in athletes,” Ani said.
But research has also shown concern about health, lactose intolerance and animal welfare, plant-based milk, and dairy alternatives are now gaining popularity.
– Jul. 18, 2020 @ 13:32 GMT