A typical afternoon snack in any kindergarten is milk and cookies. Therefore, many adults love this drink so much, except for those whose bodies do not digest lactose. Food.ru figured out what the benefits of milk are and whether there are risks when using it.
What substances are in the product and what are their benefits
Let’s start with the fact that milk is obtained from different animals. The most familiar in the diet of most people is a cow. Less often do they drink goat or sheep, these varieties of the product are fattier. The rarest in nutrition: mare, camel, deer, elk, and donkey.
People began to drink milk when they domesticated goats – 10,000 years BC. e. In ancient Egypt, it was the drink of the elite: pharaohs, priests, nobility.
Consider the main components of the product, which have the greatest beneficial effect on the body.
Its main property is a high degree of assimilation: 95%, that is, 2-3 times higher than that of vegetable protein. For example, when eating legumes, the substance is absorbed only by 30-40%. In terms of protein, milk is comparable to meat and fish. In addition, it is heterogeneous in the product, contains casein and whey proteins, and therefore is complete. The benefits are undeniable: thanks to protein, a person receives material for muscle growth. This is especially true for athletes.
Casein forms a thin protective film on the surface of the teeth, which protects the enamel from the effects of an acidic environment. This reduces the risk of caries.
In dairy products, it is heterogeneous: saturated fats, cholesterol, lecithin, essential mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D. Of course, the reputation of a number of these components is far from ideal. For example, cholesterol can harm blood vessels, but at the same time, it is a useful element. It is necessary for cell membranes because it regulates their density. Cholesterol is also involved in the synthesis of male and female sex hormones, vitamin D, bile, and a number of other substances.
Milk contains lactose, monosaccharides, amino sugars and phosphate esters. The most significant benefit is lactose. This disaccharide is broken down in the small intestine, forming a special lactic acid. It is important for normal microflora: it protects the intestines from harmful bacteria. The benefits of carbohydrates in the energy they give a person.
The list is impressive: iron, iodine, potassium, calcium, cobalt, magnesium, copper, molybdenum, sodium, selenium, sulfur, phosphorus, fluorine, chromium, chlorine, zinc – about 50 items in total.
Usually, milk is praised for its calcium, which is good for bones, teeth, and the circulatory system. However, it is mistakenly believed that the product contains a lot of this mineral, although it is only 100-140 mg per 100 g. From this point of view, hard cheese is much richer: 100 g contains a daily dose of calcium – 1000 mg. A close-to-ideal combination of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D deserves much more praise. It is in this combination that the beneficial microelement is best absorbed.
Milk contains water and fat-soluble vitamins. There are 25 varieties in total. The most important for health are A, D, E, C, K, PP, H, group B. True, this whole useful set is only in a raw product or in that which has undergone short-term heating. With prolonged boiling, cooking cereals and soups, vitamins die under the influence of high temperatures. They are also destroyed during the long-term storage of a chilled product. For example, in three days the amount of vitamin C is reduced by about 67%.
Choline, a vitamin from group B, helps to normalize sleep, reduce the risk of inflammatory processes, and helps strengthen memory. Vitamin D is involved in the production of serotonin, a hormone that is responsible for a good mood.
Naturally, the liquid product also contains water, and in large quantities: about 85–87%. The use of such a drink is useful because with it the cells receive the necessary moisture. Milk can replace water, but not the entire recommended daily volume of 1.5–2 liters, but only a glass of 200–250 ml.
In addition, the product contains immune bodies. Thanks to them, the bactericidal beneficial properties of milk arise, its ability to increase human immunity to harmful microorganisms. This quality is understandable because the animal product was originally intended for feeding offspring, which means that it was supposed to provide the cub’s body with maximum protection from the negative effects of the environment.
The experience of mankind proves the benefits of the drink. He was always present in the diet of children, and a rare adult did without dairy products. Diluted cow’s milk was often used to feed infants if the mother was not enough. It is impossible to give a whole product to a child because of the saturation with proteins and fats.
An infant’s body digests milk better than an adult’s because it produces lactase, a special enzyme that breaks down lactose, a type of sugar. It is believed that our adult ancestors did not have lactase at all, so they could only consume a sour product. A useful enzyme began to be produced by Europeans due to a random mutation at least a thousand years ago. Now 75% of the adult population of the world is lactase deficient, so you should not drink the drink in large quantities.
Science has proven even the special benefits of the product. In particular, neuroscientists from the University of Kansas Medical Center conducted a study and concluded that milk contributes to brain health. It helps the body produce the natural antioxidant glutathione, which reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as other pathologies of brain activity. 60 people participated in the survey.
June 1 is World Milk Day – the benefits of this drink are undeniable since it deserves a separate holiday.
What are the potential harms of milk
Surprisingly, from the recent delight, the world is ready to move to a ban. Literally in our memory, milk was considered not just a tasty and healthy product, but even a truly healing product for many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and lungs. Now, almost every positive property of this natural drink turns into a negative one. Let’s take a look at the most striking examples.
- It has always been believed that milk is necessary for strengthening bones and teeth. Now the opposite is often said: the product contributes to bone fragility, or at least does not provide any benefit. So, in an article about a 12-year study, which was conducted in the United States, it was concluded that with an increase in the amount of dietary calcium, the risk of fractures does not decrease. Participants of the experiment – 77,761 women aged 34 to 59 years.
- Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) has been found in milk. This protein substance is considered a prerequisite for overweight and the development of cancer: breast and ovarian cancer in women, prostate cancer in men. However, the IGF researchers themselves note that such pathologies are possible only with its elevated level. If we talk about milk, then in it the insulin-like growth factor is less than 1% of what the body produces naturally.
- The product has a high insulin index. This is the rate at which insulin is produced in the body in response to the breakdown of carbohydrates. It provides transportation of sugar to cells and tissues, reducing its level in the blood. Indeed, the AI of milk is 90 units on a 100-point scale. But there is no scientific evidence that the drink increases the risk of diabetes or obesity.
- The product contains cholesterol. It’s right. But only an excess of the substance brings harm. The risk is likely if the daily intake of cholesterol is more than 300 mg, and for this amount you need to drink 3 liters of milk or eat half a kilogram of cottage cheese every day.
There are even studies designed to prove that milk increases the death rate and the number of bone fractures. For example, such a hypothesis was put forward by Swedish scientists. They analyzed questionnaires filled out by residents of three districts of the country. The survey included 45,339 men aged 45–79 and 61,433 women aged 39–74. In their findings, the researchers noted the relationship between the amount of milk consumed and the mortality rate: the more product, the higher the risk of shortening life. However, the results for different districts turned out to be so heterogeneous that even the scientists themselves recommend carefully interpreting the results of the study.
What can be done?
Don’t give up milk completely. You can find derivatives suitable for your body: kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk, cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream, butter. They contain the same useful substances as in the original raw materials.