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Milk Nutrition

Studies show that there are nine essentials in milk--nutrition much needed by both children and adults as part of their daily diets. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults and children over the age of eight consume at least three cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or the equivalent in milk products. Children ages 2-8 should consume two cups per day or the equivalent.

Increasingly milk has been replaced in our diets by soda, juice, coffee and tea, none of which have the daily benefits milk can provide. The government has been running a campaign called “Why Milk Matters,” aimed at teenagers in hopes that people who make milk an integral part of their diet during these years will carry the practice into adulthood. Research has already shown that kids who avoid milk are more likely to suffer from obesity and bone fractures.

With the many choices available today in milk products, there is no reason not to make milk an important part of your diet. Most people know that milk includes calcium, which is essential for strong bones and preventing osteoporosis, but calcium is also key to proper nerve function, blood clotting, and the contraction of muscles. Human beings could not exist without protein, and the protein in milk is beneficial to everything from brain development and function to the growth of cell tissue throughout the body.

Milk also contains seven different vitamins and minerals needed for many body functions.  Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus to make bones stronger. Vitamin B12 helps keep the nervous system healthy, is an ingredient in blood formation, and helps in utilization of folic acid. Vitamin A helps to strengthen the body’s immune system and is also beneficial to eyesight, healthy skin and cell growth.

Potassium, phosphorus, niacin and riboflavin are also present in milk--nutrition in the body is not complete without these vital elements. Potassium is necessary for blood pressure and fluid balance. It is important in the prevention of heart attacks, plus it’s needed for muscles to contract properly. Phosphorus actually is an energy creator at the cellular level and necessary for strong bones. Niacin helps with enzyme functioning and enzymes are critical for every action that takes place at the cellular level. It also helps your body metabolize sugars and fatty acids and along with riboflavin is integral for a healthy nervous system. Riboflavin is also important in energy production.

The next time you choose a beverage, check the label and see how it stacks up against the healthy ingredients in milk--nutrition, after all, should be an important consideration. Check out the various levels of fat, carbohydrates, sugars and nutrients, and without a doubt you will find milk to be the best choice. And, if for some reason you just don’t like the taste of milk, or its hard to get the kids to drink enough milk, try flavored milk. Flavors do not add or take away from the nutrients in the milk itself and are a good choice if it’s hard to get the three cups of milk you need each day into your diet.


 

 


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