…The story of milk as an essential for life
Nature might not always be on your mind but what nature has to offer is truly one of the world’s greatest gift to humankind.
When next you walk on the lawn, Feel the grass beneath your feet, the sky above you and the air youbreath in, because something magical happens right beneath your feet.
The cows graze peacefully for hours and hours. Secretly they are making something that no factories in the world can produce. Something so rich with nutrients that our bodies need and we cannot in any way make ourselves, this is magic. Whether you are behind or ahead in age, in life, there are things you should not do without and this is one.
The whole story of milk starts from the grass and ends in a glass.
But how does the cow eat the green grass and produce the nutritious white material called MILK?
Cows produce milk in a clever and unique way. The grass and other feed they eat are digested and partially converted in their stomach system (rumen) due to the presence of a variety of micro-organisms.
The milk is produced in the mammary gland. To produce 1 litre of milk, about 500 litres of blood has to pass through the udder. A cow that produces 60 litres of milk per day circulates 30,000 litres of blood through the mammary gland. The blood provides a continuous supply of nutrients to the milk synthesizing cells, which are organized in clusters and deliver lactose (milk sugar), a variety of proteins and fat-like components, minerals, vitamins and other factors involved in the protection of the calf or the mammary gland against infections.
Milk is created by the cow through its special ability to convert indigestible grass into a valuable nutritious food. Before it comes into our various homes or purchased off the shelves, milk has already passed a chain of various steps; this includes safety and quality processes at the farm, transport to the factory, at the production line while making dairy-based products,safeguarding the natural nutritional value during product development and transport to the warehouses and supermarkets and finally ends up in your glass.
Milk has proven to be very worthwhile for growth, development and health maintenance of human beings beyond the neonatal phase.
Milk is a natural source of nutrition with valuable nutrients such as Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, and Fats. All of which are necessary for growth, health, and wellbeing.
Milk is nutritious by nature. Its composition in terms of macro- and micronutrients is unique.
Due to this nutrient richness, it is possible to meet your daily recommended intakes of important nutrients to significant levels with only a few dairy servings a day. This means that you can easily experience the nutrient benefits by incorporating dairy in your daily eating patterns.
The different components in milk and dairy products work together to generate specific nutrition and health benefits for all.
What is the goodness you benefit from Milk & Dairy products?
Milk and Dairy products contain a unique package of essential nutrients
Milk and dairy foods are naturally rich sources of a wide range of essential nutrients. Many people associate milk and dairy with calcium and bone building, but dairy foods offer much more extensive nutritional benefits.
Milk contains high quality protein, carbohydrate
Milk is a natural source of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus and potassium. It also contains smaller amounts of other nutrients including vitamin A, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin D, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
The nutrients present in milk and dairy foods are involved in several important functions in the body.These include the well-known benefits of calcium for bones and teeth, and protein for muscle. But dairy nutrients also play a part in nerve and muscle function, energy release, vision, blood clotting and red blood cell formation, digestion, blood pressure, skin health, the immune system, psychological function and in children’s growth.
The proteins in milk have superior quality to build and maintain muscles, which is relevant for all age categories. Magnesium and vitamin D in the milk contribute to the muscle building process. Milk is an important source of B-vitamins, incl. vitamin B12 does not occur in plant-derived foods. The B-vitamins fulfill many different functions in our body. They are required for digestion and production of energy from the sugars and fats in foods, are involved in bone health, proper functioning of the nervous system, production of red blood cells, and contribute to healthy skin.
Milk is good for strong Bones and teeth
Adequate daily dairy intake of milk and dairy products is important at all stages of life, for the pregnantmother, the baby, during the building and the maintenance phase of the bones. Dairy intake during the first 30 years of life is an excellent investment in good quality bones during aging. Heaney R.P. in his report featured in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2009 concluded that Milk and dairy products are world famous for the presence of calciumneeded for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth. Bone is renewed every day in a continuous process. With only a few servings, milk delivers not only the high requirement for calcium but also other nutrients that are needed for this process, such as protein, phosphorous and vitamin D. Without consumption of dairy products, it is almost impossible to achieve the recommended intake of calcium per day to keep the bones healthy.
Milk drinking supports your weight management plan
Milk delivers a good balance between nutrient richness and calories for energy and hence is a very convenient and nutritious food when managing weight. Major GCet al confirmed in his report published by Obes Rev. In 2008 that milk consumption does not lead to increased body weight or body fat; the bone health benefits of milk can be enjoyed without having to fear thatconsumption will lead to fattening.
As a high protein intake prolongs the period before one start eating the next meal, dairy products are helpful in a diet to maintain a healthy body weight. Recommendations by Zemel MB et al & Loan van M in their publications on calorie restriction, states that during a period of calorie restriction it is wise to keep calcium intake at recommended daily levels (at least 600-800 milligrams of calcium per day) because the longer term message for dairy products appears to be that the calorie level in the product is the primary target and that the calcium and the protein content in the products are important secondary targets. The majority (70-80%) of new cases of diabetes type 2 can be reversed when overweight disappears; a balanced diet containing enough dairy products will help to achieve this as supported by Loan van M and Tremblay A. and Gilbert J-A in their study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2009 on The Role of Dairy Foods and Dietary Calcium in Weight Management & Milk Products, Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes respectively.
Nutrients in Milk protects against Infection
Milk provides support for passive protection against infections and for optimal development of the immune system. Calcium, vitamins A and D, and micronutrients such as zinc and selenium present in milk are of crucial importance to normal immune development. Complex carbohydrates present in milk are important to balance the gut flora and to help control infection. Milk contains complex proteins called immunoglobulins that selectively bind to pathogens such as diarrhea-causing bacteria or viruses and, in this way, help prevent gastrointestinal infections.
Milk contains nutrients that support mental health
Several scientific publications from renowned scientists confirm that vitamins A, B1, B11 and B12, as well as iodine, are very important for brain development; based on its structural properties and conversion in the body, milk lactose is taken up in a slower, more controlled, manner than glucose and thus provides the newborn child with optimal sustained energy for the brain. These scientists also confirm that Pregnant (and presumably lactating) women may not achieve the target intake levels of milk and dairy to be sure that enough amounts of required nutrients are present for the fetus and the newborn baby. The careful balance between calcium,magnesium and potassium ions in the blood is important for nerve impulse transmission and nervouscommunication in the body: dairy products contribute to this balance. Zinc aids many chemical reactions in the brain and is therefore important for attention and memory.
Milk drinking aids Sleep
Silber BY et al in his publication titled Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, andSleep, published by Neurosci Biobehav Rev in 2010 confirmed that Essential amino acids in milk proteins are involved in processes that influence sleep, wakefulness, mood, and some aspects of cognitiveperformance.
Milk support cardiovascular health
Dairy products contain proteins, some specific fatty acids, and several minerals and vitamins that have beneficial effects on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Milk is the most incredible product Mother Nature has to offer. It is healthy, nutritious, and safe. Hence, FrieslandCampina WAMCO makers of Peak Milk and Three Crowns in conjunction with Nutrition Society of Nigeria celebrates 2019 edition of World Milk Day and therefore recommend that Nigerians explore several ways to enjoy milk in their diet as it remains one of the natural sources of vitamins and minerals. Lets enjoy our meals with Dairy.
*Nutrition Manager, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Dotun Owolabi, wrote in from Lagos.