TUESDAY April 22, 2008â€“Wal-mart announced last week that its private branded milk would only come from cows that had been given no artificial growth hormones. After the announcement was made, it sparked nationwide concern about how milk is produced and how it may affect your health.
As many scientific studies have been proven to be inconclusive, let’s talk about what we do know about milk. It has nutrients that are essential to your health, so whatever you do, don’t stop drinking it and here is why:
1. You probably aren’t getting enough
On average, american adults consume only about half of the three daily servings of milk that is recommended by the Food Pyramid. Only 10 percent of women consume the three recommended servings according the the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2. Strong bones…and more
Milk is one of the top sources of calcium, and mineral that is critical in preventing osteoporosis and strong teeth. Calcium and other nutrients in dairy also help to keep your blood pressure stable, and have been linked to lowering levels of LDL (”bad”) cholesterol, reduce risk of cancer, and weight loss.
3. You need calcium all day
Your body can absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at one time. This is why it’s best to obtain calcium from a variety of foods all day. Milk and other dairy products, such as cheese or yogurt are good small portions that help you get what you need throughout the day.
4. All milk is fortified with vitamins
Fortified milk is one of few dietary sourcs that has vitamin D, a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium more easily. One cup of milk has about 100 international units of vitamin D which is half the amount recommended for adults under age 50 and only a quarter the amount recommended for those age 51 to 70. It also is fortified with vitamin A, a nutrient essential for vision and a healthy immune system.
What you should do:
If you are under 50 years old, you need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Those over 50 need 1,200 mg. Meeting this amount is easy, just consume three of the following per day:
One cup of milk
A cup of yogurt
One-and-a-half ounces of cheese
Finally, make sure you consume low-fat dairy products because as you reduce the saturated fats you will reduce the chances of heart disease.