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Proven Health Benefits

Proven Health Benefits of Milk

“Got Milk?” That’s the question that’s been asked in numerous advertisements (especially here in the United States) featuring celebrities sporting a “milk mustache.” While soft drinks have become increasingly popular over the years, milk is still a staple in the diet of many people who swear by drinking milk each morning, afternoon or night. It’s estimated that there are more than 250 million cows in the world producing milk so that it can find its way to the dining room table.

Milk is not only a drink, but is used as an ingredient in just about everything that you can find, whether it be a major part or a trace amount. Milk is popular not only in the western part of the world, but also in countries like Brazil, China and India. But is milk really as good for you as the advertisements say? Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of milk, and the proven health benefits that you get from drinking a glass in your everyday diet.

Nutrition of Milk

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The type of milk that we want to look at for its nutritional content is the skim variety that has been fortified with vitamin A. In each cup (which is just over eight ounces), you’ll find just above 80 calories. There’s only 0.2 grams of fat in each of those cups, but a whopping 17 percent of your daily recommendation for protein. Skim milk is low in carbs, and has about one quarter of your recommended amount of vitamin B12, riboflavin and vitamin D, with 10 percent recommended vitamin A.

There are other vitamins in smaller amounts such as thiamin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. As for the minerals, you’ll find more than 25 percent of your daily value in both calcium and phosphorus. Skim milk is a great source for selenium, potassium, zinc and magnesium, as well. There’s only a small amount of cholesterol in skim milk, especially compared to other types. Overall, there aren’t many more nutritious things that you can drink.

Building Bones

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Do you remember being a kid and having your mother or father say that you need to drink your milk so you can grow big and tall with strong bones? It’s not just propaganda from the milk industry, as milk contains plenty of the building blocks you need for better bone health. The biggest one of these building blocks is calcium, which will help you prevent bone loss down the road while also helping developing bones in younger people.

Studies show that children suffer more bone fractures when they don’t drink milk compared to those children that do have a glass per day. Even if you do break a bone while drinking milk on a regular basis, the time to heal that bone isn’t as long with more calcium from milk. Teeth are also bones that you need to pay attention to, and milk will also provide benefit in that department. Milk helps to protect the enamel around your teeth, keeping them white and strong. This is why youngsters should be drinking more milk instead of soft drinks packed with sugar that can break down enamel and weaken teeth.

Smooth Skin

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Calcium not only helps make your bones stronger, but it also has a positive benefit for your skin, since that’s the home for most of the calcium in your body. There are plenty of other nutrients in milk that are fantastic for your skin, too. Among them is vitamin A, which both maintains and repairs skin tissue to give you a younger and healthier glow. Vitamin K, protein and many others that help skin are all present in milk.

You may have noticed that milk is a huge ingredient in many beauty products, and it’s been that way for many years. Signs of aging such as wrinkles are caused mostly by free radicals. Milk helps to fight off those free radicals, and we’ll explain some more benefits that you get from that ability in just a moment.

Skim is Slim

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If you’re looking to lose weight, you probably don’t want to be drinking too much of the two percent milk that can be loaded with fat and calories. This type of milk is often used in those sugary drinks that people swear by in the morning, but drinking a glass of skim milk and several glasses of water throughout the day is going to be much more beneficial.

Skim milk doesn’t contain many calories with only around 10 calories per ounce, making it safe to drink one of these glasses each day. You’ll also feel more full because of the contents throughout the day, as well as getting more natural energy. Because of the protein in milk, you’ll be able to build more muscle and prevent pain after exercising, and more muscle means more calories burned and less body fat.

Disease Prevention

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We discussed the ability of milk of fight to off free radicals in the body a bit earlier. That will help you look younger, as well as help you to prevent many serious diseases down the road. These free radicals can attack your cells and cause cancer cells and tumors to grow. Research has shown a link between drinking more milk and preventing certain types of cancer, just by drinking one glass per day.

The most common form of cancer that milk can help fight is colon cancer, as studies showed people who consume more dairy throughout milk have lower chances of colon cancer. For those that are lactose intolerant, getting more fiber in your diet will also help. The vitamins in milk also help you fight off minor diseases throughout the year.

Heart Health

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Calcium is obviously the building block of milk, and it has a tremendous benefit for your heart. Calcium has been backed by studies to be great in reducing your chances of heart disease and stroke. On top of that, minerals such as potassium strengthen the efficiency of your heart while lowering overall blood pressure. While there hasn’t been a big link between milk and lowering cholesterol, attacking high blood pressure will go a long way in making sure that you’re living a long and healthy life.

Summing it Up

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Milk isn’t going to be for everybody, as lactose intolerance is one of the most common forms of allergies in the world. However, in countries like the United States and Canada, this isn’t really as common. There are those that say milk doesn’t have as many advantages as advertisements say, but most of the negatives aren’t fully trusted. Outside of lactose intolerance, one drawback with milk is that your body may produce more insulin, but drinking skim milk won’t have as much effect.

Certain forms of milk might also make your skin breakout into having more blemishes such as acne, because of a protein called IGF-1. As long as you’re making milk part of a well balanced overall diet, this shouldn’t pose a problem. There are also, of course, vegetarians that don’t appreciate drinking milk. If you don’t fall under the vegetarian or lactose intolerance category, there aren’t many negatives to drinking milk, so add a glass here and there to get the nutrients your body needs!

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