Things You Didn’t Know About Milk

The usual story about milk: the doctor has always told you that its full of calcium, its great for growing children and women suffering from osteoporosis.

It’s what I learnt in school, too. Here’s the scoop: Milk has so many more benefits, and sometimes, non-benefits. Yes, its a great source of calcium, but there are other nutrients in it too, and what about the difference between pasteurised and raw milk, as well as low-fat and full fat? While the fat content of the milk can be tampered with, what about the nutritional content?

Raw VS Pasteurised

Even though there has been a debate about raw milk over pasteurised, the reality is that it makes little difference which one you decide to consume, in terms of nutritional value. While raw milk is slightly higher in Vitamins B12 and C, and thiamin, milk isn’t the main source of these nutrients to the body, making this fact obsolete when comparing raw and pasteurised milk. Raw milk purists (pun intended) tend to swear by the healthy bacteria content it carries. However, raw milk can also contain a bevy of bad bacteria, such as E.Coli and Salmonella, which pasteurised milk does not. Pasteurised milk has been heated to very high temperatures, enough to kill the harmful bacteria. In fact, an individual has 150% chances of falling sick with the consumption of raw milk, as opposed to heat-treated milk.

What Milk Really Does In Your Body

Bone Health: Of course, we’re tackling bone health first. This is the most obvious benefit of downing a glass of milk everyday. While we know that milk is high in calcium, the fact that many civilisations and states around the world eat little to no dairy and only show minimal cases of poor bone health is puzzling to many researchers. Milk may be good for your bones, but its best to take a combination of foods to battle osteoporosis as a whole. According to doctors from Singapore, India and Australia, osteoporosis affects up to 200 million people worldwide, and the highest number of hip fractures in Asia come from Singapore. They advice that there are a combination of things that can be done to fight bone degeneration, such as quitting smoking, exercising and taking walks in the sun for the skin and body to get enough Vitamin D. This and more was discussed during a talk last week at Suntec City, which saw experts addressing the burden of osteoporosis in Singapore, Asia and the world.

Food Allergies: Some may have heard that milk can cause allergies. In addition to the fact that there’s little evidence to support the claim that milk can cause allergies, adults are rarely allergic to milk. Being allergic to milk is more prevalent in children, whereas most adults would have outgrown their allergy due to the constant exposure to milk. Lactose intolerance is not to be confused with milk allergies, and needs to be treated by a doctor.

Blood Pressure: If someone’s told you that drinking low fat milk will be better for your health, they’re not telling you the truth. The fact is, researchers have discovered that the amount of milk consumed everyday has little to no impact on heart health, regardless of its fat content. Even though milk does not directly help reduce blood pressure, it contains a range of proteins that help keep blood pressure in check, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. A study conducted of adults aged 55 and up proved that for every 2/3 cup dairy consumed, the chances of high blood pressure was reduced by 7%.

Acne: Yes, believe it or not, there’s a link between milk intake and acne. Research has shown that a high intake of milk can cause a breakout, as it contains a particular hormone that increases testosterone levels in the body. This encourages the production of sebum, which in excess can clog your pores and create breakouts by collection underneath the clogged pores. If you, like me, are having an ah-ha moment when reading this article, try to find if milk is really the culprit behind your pimples by going dairy-free for about 6 weeks. If your skin clears up, you have a winner!

Colon Cancer: A 2012 Annals of Oncology study found that drinking a glass of milk everyday decreased the risk of colorectal cancer by 9%. The more milk you drink everyday, the more this risk fades away. While experts aren’t completely sure how milk can protect your colon from cancer cells, available evidence points to the effect of calcium on bile acids, a gastric acid that can damage your colon. Calcium deactivates the effect of bile acids, and regulates uncontrolled growth of colon cells, which may lead to cancer.

The research on milk and its effects on the human body has a long way to go – researchers and experts are still searching for answers on puzzling information about milk. Coupled with the fact that milk is heavily consumed in many parts of the world, this research becomes essential to many. While the experts do their thing, let’s do ours. A glass of milk everyday has its goods, and its bads. Choose wisely.

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