You start drinking milk the day you are born, and it is your sole source of nutrition for many months. But as you start growing, your milk intake naturally decreases. Irrespective of your age, it’s important for your overall health to drink milk daily.
Milk provides a unique balance of nutrients and is considered “nature’s wellness drink”. According to the National Dairy Council, it contains nine essential nutrients: calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and vitamins A, D and B12.
Any amount of milk you drink is beneficial, but the recommended dose for adults is three one-cup servings of dairy each day. Depending upon your diet and nutritional needs, you can choose whole, 2%, 1% or skim milk.
It’s well known that the calcium and vitamin D in milk help keep your bones healthy. But milk has many additional health benefits that will encourage you to make sure you get the recommended daily servings.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of milk.
1. Builds Muscles
For a strong, muscular body, milk should be a part of your diet. The body needs protein to build muscle and milk is the one of the best natural sources of good quality protein.
The protein in milk is 20 percent whey and 80 percent casein. While whey protein is quickly broken down into amino acids and absorbed into the bloodstream, casein is digested more slowly. So, when you drink milk, your body gets the benefits of both types of protein.
Also, the calcium present in milk contributes to muscle and blood health.
Drink a glass of milk after a workout to hydrate your body, build muscles and help you recover quickly before your next workout session.
2. Strengthens Teeth
One of the best food choices for the health of your teeth is milk. Milk provides high amount of calcium, phosphorus and iodine needed to remineralize teeth and to make them sharp and strong.
The casein protein in milk forms a thin film on the enamel surface, which helps prevent loss of calcium and phosphate when the teeth are exposed to acids in the mouth or in foods and drinks. Thus, it helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. It also makes the jaw bones strong.
To enjoy strong teeth, drink milk without adding sugar. Also, try to drink milk between meals for overall oral health.
3. Promotes Proper Sleep
Stress is one of the main causes of sleep deprivation. Many people toss around in their bed and find it really difficult to sleep properly when under stress. Other health conditions, such as menopause, can also keep people from sleeping well.
A glass of warm milk before going to bed can help you sleep better. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan that helps induce drowsiness.
The body converts this amino acid into the neurotransmitter called serotinin that makes you sleepy. Plus, milk is a good source of calcium which also works as an effective natural sleep aid. It helps the brain produce the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.
The next time you are feeling frazzled, try drinking a glass of milk and reading a book or listening to soothing music to help you fall asleep.
4. Ensures Vibrant Skin
One of the best skin care ingredients for any type of skin is milk. In fact, milk has been used as a beauty aid for centuries. Cleopatra, the queen of ancient Egypt, used to take milk baths to enjoy smooth and flawless skin.
Milk has amino acids that help protect the skin from sun damage and help keep it moisturized.
Plus, the lactic acid in milk acts as a natural exfoliating agent, helping remove dead skin cells and other residue that contributes to dull-looking skin and problems like acne.
To enjoy vibrant skin, wash your face with warm water and then apply some whole milk using a cotton ball. Allow it to dry on its own and then rinse it off with warm water. You can use this cleansing and moisturizing treatment daily to maintain soft, clean, supple skin as well as reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Boosts Hydration
Along with water, milk is a top choice to refuel your body and keep it hydrated throughout the day. Drinking milk after exercising helps rehydrate the body quickly and replenish electrolytes that have been depleted during exercise.
Opt for chocolate milk or skim milk to speed up recovery from a hard workout or sports activities. Chocolate milk has a unique combination of protein, carbohydrates, sodium and antioxidants.
Also, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that skimmed milk produces significant improvement in re-hydration compared to other drinks.
6. Prevents Cognitive Decline
Low-fat milk has been shown to increase brainpower and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is an important protein for maintaining cognitive skills.
A Tufts University study in 2012 found that older adults who were mildly B12-deficient were at higher risk for cognitive decline.
So, whether you are a school going child or a 60 year old person, drink low-fat milk daily to boost brainpower and prevent cognitive decline due to aging.