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Milk 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

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Milk 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

Milk is a highly nutritious liquid formed in the mammary glands of mammals to sustain their newborns during their first months of life. This article focuses on cow’s milk.

A huge variety of food products are made from cow’s milk, such as cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt.
These foods are referred to as dairy or milk products and are a major part of the modern diet.

Nutrition facts:

The nutritional composition of milk is highly complex. It contains almost every single nutrient that your body needs.
One cup (249 grams) of whole cow’s milk with 3.25% fat provides
• Calories: 152
• Water: 88%
• Protein: 8.14 grams
• Carbs: 12 grams
• Sugar: 12 grams
• Fiber: 0 grams
• Fat: 8 grams

Milk proteins
Milk is a rich source of protein — providing approximately 1 gram of this nutrient in each fluid ounce (30 mL), or 8.14 grams in each cup (249 grams)
Proteins in milk can be divided into two groups based on their solubility in water:
• Insoluble milk proteins are called casein.
• Soluble milk proteins are known as whey proteins.
Both groups of milk proteins are considered to be of excellent quality, with a high proportion of essential amino acids and good digestibility.

Casein
Casein forms the majority — or 80% — of proteins in milk.
It’s really a family of different proteins, with alpha-casein being the most abundant.
One important property of casein is its ability to increase the absorption of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus.

Whey protein
Whey is another family of proteins, accounting for 20% of the protein content in milk.
It’s particularly rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) — such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Whey proteins have been associated with many beneficial health effects, such as decreased blood pressure and improved mood during periods of stress
Whey protein is excellent for growing and maintaining muscles. As a result, it’s a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders

Milk fat
Whole milk straight from the cow is around 4% fat.
In many countries, marketing of milk is mainly based on fat content. In the United States, whole milk is 3.25% fat, reduced fat milk 2%, and low fat milk 1%.
Milk fat is one of the most complex of all natural fats, containing about 400 different types of fatty acids.
Whole milk is very high in saturated fats, which make up about 70% of its fatty acid content.
Polyunsaturated fats are present in minimal amounts, making up around 2.3% of the total fat content.
Monounsaturated fats make up the rest — about 28% of the total fat content.
In addition, trans fats are naturally found in dairy products.
In contrast to trans fats in processed foods, dairy trans fats — also called ruminant trans fats — are considered beneficial for health.
Milk contains small amounts of trans fats, such as vaccenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
CLA has attracted considerable attention due to its various possible health benefits — though evidence is still limited.

Carbs
Carbs in milk are mainly in the form of the simple sugar lactose, which makes up around 5% of milk.
In your digestive system, lactose breaks down into glucose and galactose. These are absorbed into your bloodstream, at which point your liver converts galactose into glucose.
Some people lack the enzyme required to break down lactose. This condition is called lactose intolerance.

Vitamins and minerals
Milk contains all the vitamins and minerals necessary to sustain growth and development in a young calf during its first months of life.
It also provides almost every single nutrient needed by humans — making it one of the most nutritious foods available.
The following vitamins and minerals are found in particularly large amounts in milk:
• Vitamin B12. Foods of animal origin are the only rich sources of this essential vitamin. Milk is very high in B12.
• Calcium. Milk is not only one of the best dietary sources of calcium, but the calcium found in milk is also easily absorbed.
• Riboflavin. Dairy products are the biggest source of riboflavin — also known as vitamin B2 — in the Western diet.
• Phosphorus. Dairy products are a good source of phosphorus, a mineral that plays an essential role in many biological processes.

Sometimes fortified with vitamin D
Fortification is the process of adding minerals or vitamins to food products.
As a public health strategy, fortifying milk products with vitamin D is common and even mandatory in some countries.
In the United States, 1 cup (240 mL) of vitamin-D-fortified milk may contain 12% of the daily value for this nutrient.

Milk hormones
More than 50 different hormones are naturally present in cow’s milk, which are important for the development of a newborn calf.
With the exception of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), cow milk hormones have no known effects in humans.
IGF-1 is also found in human breast milk and the only hormone known to be absorbed from cow’s milk. It’s involved in growth and regeneration.
Bovine growth hormone is another hormone naturally present in milk in small quantities. It’s only biologically active in cows and has no effect in people.

Health benefits of milk
Milk is one of the most nutritious foods you can find.
It has been widely studied and seems to have several important health benefits.
In particularly, cow’s milk may positively affect your bones and blood pressure.

Bone health and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis — a condition characterized by a decrease in bone density — is the main risk factor for bone fractures among older adults.
One of the functions of cow’s milk is to promote bone growth and development in the young calf.
Cow’s milk seems to have similar effects in people and has been associated with higher bone density. The high calcium and protein content of milk are the two main factors believed responsible for this effect.
However, more recent evidence is conflicting. Some studies have failed to show a connection between dairy intake and osteoporosis.

Blood pressure
Abnormally high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Dairy products have been linked to a reduced risk of high blood pressure.
It’s thought that the unique combination of calcium, potassium, and magnesium in milk are responsible for this effect.
Other factors may also play a part, such as peptides formed during the digestion of casein.
Possible adverse effects
The health effects of milk are complex — some components in milk are quite beneficial, while others may have adverse effects.

Lactose intolerance
Lactose, or milk sugar, is the main carbohydrate found in milk.
It’s broken down into its subunits — glucose and galactose — in your digestive system.
However, some people lose the ability to fully digest lactose after childhood — a condition known as lactose intolerance.
An estimated 75% of the world’s population has lactose intolerance, though the proportion of lactose intolerant people varies greatly depending on genetic makeup.
Lactose intolerance is most prominent in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, where its estimated to affect 65–95% of the population.
In Europe, the estimated prevalence is 5–15%, with people in Northern Europe being the least affected.
In people with lactose intolerance, lactose is not fully absorbed, and some or most of it passes down to the colon, where the residing bacteria start fermenting it.
This fermentation process leads to the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and gas, such as methane and carbon dioxide.
Lactose intolerance is associated with many unpleasant symptoms, including gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Milk allergy
Milk allergy is rare in adults but more frequent in young children.
Most often, allergic symptoms are caused by whey proteins called alpha-lactoglobulin and beta-lactoglobulin, but they can also be due to caseins.
The main symptoms of milk allergy are skin rash, swelling, breathing problems, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in stools.

Acne
Milk consumption has been associated with acne — a common skin condition characterized by pimples, especially on the face, chest, and back.
High milk consumption is known to increase levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone thought to be involved in the appearance of acne.

Milk and cancer
Many observational studies have looked at the association between milk and cancer risk.
Overall, the evidence is mixed, and very few conclusions can be drawn from the data.
However, a fair number of studies indicate that dairy consumption may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Conversely, numerous studies have found a link between dairy consumption and a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
As a general recommendation, excessive consumption of milk should be avoided. Moderation is key.

Processing methods
Virtually all milk sold for human consumption is processed in some way.
This is done to increase the safety and shelf life of milk products.

Pasteurization
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to destroy potentially harmful bacteria that are occasionally found in raw milk.
The heat eliminates beneficial as well as harmful bacteria, yeasts, and molds.
However, pasteurization does not make milk sterile. Therefore, it needs to be quickly cooled down after heating to keep any surviving bacteria from multiplying.
Pasteurization results in a slight loss of vitamins due to their sensitivity to heat but doesn’t have a substantial effect on milk’s nutritional value.

Homogenization
Milk fat is made up of countless particles, or globules, of different sizes.
In raw milk, these fat globules have a tendency to stick together and float to the surface.
Homogenization is the process of breaking these fat globules into smaller units.
This is done by heating the milk and pumping it through narrow pipes at high pressure.
The purpose of homogenization is to increase the shelf life of milk and to give it a richer taste and whiter color.
Most milk products are produced from homogenized milk. An exception is cheese, which is usually produced from unhomogenized milk.
Homogenization does not have any adverse effects on nutritional quality.

Raw vs. pasteurized milk
Raw milk is a term used for milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to increase shelf life and minimize the risk of illness from harmful microorganisms that may be present in raw milk.
Heating results in a slight decrease in several vitamins, but this loss is not significant from a health perspective.
Homogenization — the process of breaking the fat globules in milk into smaller units — has no known adverse health effects.
Drinking raw milk is associated with a reduced risk of childhood asthma, eczema, and allergies. The reason for this association is still not entirely clear.
Although raw milk is more natural than processed milk, its consumption is riskier.
In healthy cows, milk does not contain any bacteria. It’s during the milking process, transport, or storage that milk gets contaminated with bacteria — either from the cow itself or the environment.
Most of these bacteria are not harmful — and many may even be beneficial — but occasionally, milk gets contaminated with bacteria that have the potential to cause disease.
Although the risk of getting ill from drinking raw milk is small, a single milk-borne infection may have serious consequences.
People are usually quick to recover, but those with weak immune systems — such as older adults or very young children — are more susceptible to severe illness.
Most public health advocates agree that any potential health benefits of drinking raw milk are outweighed by possible health risks resulting from contamination with harmful bacteria.

The bottom line
Milk is one of the most nutritious drinks in the world.
It’s not only rich in high-quality protein but also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.
For this reason, it may cut your risk of osteoporosis and reduce blood pressure.
Still, some people are allergic to milk proteins or intolerant to milk sugar (lactose). Milk has also been linked to acne and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
At the end of the day, moderate consumption of cow’s milk is healthy for most people — but you should avoid drinking it in excess.

 

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Nutrition

5 amazing health benefits of sweet potato

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5 amazing health benefits of sweet potato

The sweet potato (Ipomoea cantatas) is nutritious and delicious root vegetables. Sweet potatoes when cooked, it results in mild, starchy and sweet flavour when baked or boiled, it becomes soft and creamy and when it is fried or roasted at high heat, it becomes crisp and caramelized. Sweet potatoes are packed with many medicinal benefits. Sweet potatoes have cancer-fighting properties; it supports healthy vision while it enhances brain function.

Sweet potatoes can also help manage diabetes
The rich fiber and magnesium in sweet potato are beneficial for diabetes management because they can lower blood sugar levels. Around 10-15% of the fiber in sweet potato has soluble fibres such as pectin, it is effective in reducing food consumption and spikes in blood sugar. This is because it helps in promoting insulin sensitivity and then regulating the amount of sugar in the blood.

Sweet potatoes can help manage stress levels
Sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium. One of the most important advantages of magnesium is that it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. A study found that Magnesium can reduce insomnia in older individuals. Thus, sweet potatoes are one of the important foods to be included in our diet. Sweet potatoes can replenish the body’s magnesium levels and help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviours and insomnia in individuals.

Sweet potatoes can help prevent cancer
Sweet potatoes are packed with carotenoids such as beta-carotene, which plays a significant role in protecting men from becoming afflicted with prostate cancer. In addition, sweet potatoes have also been shown of limiting the growth of breast, gastric, colorectal cancers. Thus you should have sweet potatoes often.

Sweet potatoes can help improve hair and skin
The presence of Vitamin A, C, and E helps in the promotion of proper skin and hair health. Eating sweet potatoes will be enough to glow your skin and hence you will not need to spend huge money on effective products to make your skin glow. The vitamins in sweet potatoes are useful in repairing skin that is damaged due to exposure to UV light. The vitamins also help to slow down the cell ageing process in the skin and help to retain a youthful look for longer.

Sweet potatoes can help in weight management
As sweet potatoes are rich in fermentable fibres, they can help in reducing the overall weight of an individual. So, this is another reason to include sweet potatoes in your diet. It will result in an increase in fiber intake, which will, in turn, lead to lower body weight.

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Nutrition

Top 5 vegan sources of omega-3 fats

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Top 5 vegan sources of omega-3 fats

Omega-3s have a positive impact on health when consumed in small quantities – 1.1 gram for women in a day and 1.6 grams for men – can be obtained easily if one enjoys fish very frequently. However, that does not mean vegetarians and vegan sets of people must be deprived of the omega-3s.

1. Walnuts: Nuts are some of the healthiest foods there are and nutritionists for long have recommended them as a healthy snack when hunger pangs strike between meals. Among nuts, walnuts are a rich source of omega-3s. In just one ounce, walnuts give you 2.7 grams of omega-3s and additionally help lower blood pressure, improve heart health and promote weight loss as well.
2. Kidney beans: Kidney beans or rajma are a versatile food that can be used in Indian curries or continental pies, and what makes them even better is the plant-based protein and omega-3 content. Although they offer only 10 per cent of your daily omega-3 requirement, kidney beans are a rich source of iron, folate, and fibre as well – making them ideal for all especially pregnant women.
3. Canola oil: And if you are wondering whether or not there is a variety of cooking oil with loads of omega-3s, we recommend canola oil. With 1.28 grams of omega-3s in just a tablespoon, this one is a must-have for all because of its nutrient profile. Canola oil is also a rich source of vitamin E, K content, and is low in saturated fats as well.
4. Flaxseeds: Weight watchers rely on flaxseeds a great deal owing to their healthy fats and fibre content – and turns out that this food with its nutty flavour delivers more omega-3s than any other edible on earth. In just one tablespoon, it delivers twice as many omega-3s as you need in a day. When consumed in oil form, one tablespoon can deliver seven times the recommended quantity. Additionally, flaxseeds are a rich source of magnesium, manganese, and vitamin A.
5. Chia seeds: Weight watchers often rely on chia seeds to shed stubborn fat. However, little do they realise how one ounce of chia seeds can load them with 5 grams of omega-3s. Also a rich source of fibre and protein, chia seeds are a vegan source of calcium as well.

 

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Nutrition

Winter diet: Here’s why you should eat Vitamin B6 rich foods

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Winter diet: Here's why you should eat Vitamin B6 rich foods

Winter is here and so one should be prepared with the precautions to fight the health-related issues it brings. Experts advice to eat food items that are rich in vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine.

Vitamin B6 plays a key role in treating several conditions – it helps in mood regulation and may reduce symptoms of depression. It also helps the body break down and use proteins efficiently.

Here is the list of foods that are super rich in Vitamin B6. Take a look.

1. Carrots
2. Banana
3. Chicken liver
4. Spinach
5. Milk
6. Eggs
7. Green peas

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