It is World Milk Day and I cannot but talk about the goodness of milk.
I know that there is a historical background to lactose-intolerance in Africans as many people stop being able to digest lactose – the sugar in milk – as they grow older. However, for those who can tolerate milk, it is packed with goodness for you.
Let me start pointing the goodness to you:
- Milk is one food that contains 9 essential nutrients – protein, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus.
- The quality of the protein in milk is top-notch as it is a complete protein. High-quality protein along with micronutrients helps your body to synthesize protein during normal growth and repair.
- Fermented milk (the one not pasteurized) is a good vehicle for probiotics that are beneficial to health.
- There are also specific fatty acids found in milk that are thought to be anti-atherosclerotic (against the build-up of fat in your artery walls) thus playing a part in preventing obesity.
- Did you know that milk consumption is important in populations that do not eat enough fruits and vegetables? This is because of the high potassium and array of vitamins that you can get from milk which are also in fruits and vegetables.
- While you can get calcium from other sources, it is easy to get an adequate amount when you drink milk.
Looking at all the wonderful nutrients in just one glass of milk, no wonder it is associated with diet quality.
There is a perception that milk is acid-forming but I have not seen any scientific backing for this. Milk and its products like cheese, yogurt, wara can be a great addition to your meals but as usual, eat in moderation.
In A Nutshell
Milk is a great single-source of nutrients. Adding it to your meals can improve your health in many ways. However, if you are lactose intolerant (like a lot of Africans), you can source these nutrients from other food groups (fruits and vegetables, legumes, eggs, animal-source foods like fish, liver; and whole grains, roots, and tubers).
Don’t forget to eat better and live better.