Milk is man’s first food, whether in the form of breast milk or substitutes like cow’s milk. But milk is not only for babies. Everybody needs the vitamins and minerals found in milk.
Milk is good for the bones.
How much milk do we need?
How much milk we need actually depends on the amount of calcium and potassium we need in order to maintain our bone health. The US Department of Agriculture (US DA) recommends the following:
- The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1000 milligrams for young adults and 1200 for adults aged 50 and older.
- The recommended daily allowance for potassium is a whopping 4700 milligrams.
A cup of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium and 360 mg of potassium, plus lots of vitamins (A & D).
The US DA recommends daily intake of3 cups of milk of equivalent for those older than 8.
It is obvious that a large number of people do not meet the daily allowance. It is clear that milk is not only for the young but for the elderly as well.
Some experts believe that the RDAs for calcium and potassium are unrealistic. We need to drink about 13 cups of milk to meet our potassium RDA alone.
Luckily, there are other products which are rich in these minerals, including orange juice and other dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt. According to the US DA, one cup of yogurt, one and a half ounces of hard cheese, one-third cup of shredded cheese or two cups of cottage cheese counts as a cup of dairy and is equivalent to 1 cup of milk.
Milk is good for the heart.
A glass of milk per day can already provide lots of benefit to our heart. But not just any milk.
Even though milk and other dairy products may help meet our RDAs for these essential minerals, they also come with calories and fat. Thus, intake of low-fat dairy products is recommended.
According to Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a dairy researcher and professor of pediatrics with the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine:
Researchers report that “adults who had at least one serving of low-fat milk or milk products each day had 37 percent lower odds of poor kidney function linked to heart disease compared to those who drank little or no low-fat milk.”
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend drinking three glasses of low-fat or fat free milk each day.