In a 25 year long cohort study conducted on 5700 Scottish men, it was observed that the rate of death due to coronary artery disease and heart related disorders was lower among men who consumed two-thirds of cup of milk each day. Further, the study also observed a lower rate of cancer related deaths and stroke among individuals consuming milk regularly. The study found that the components of milk had a protective action against life style related disorders. However, the use of cow’s milk especially during infancy and early childhood may be associated with certain adverse effects on health including development of type 1 diabetes
Cow’s milk comprises of 87.4% of water and 12.6% of milk solids. In whole milk, the solids portion comprises of 3.7 percent of fats, 3.4 percent of proteins and 4.8 percent of lactose. In addition about 0.8% of the milk solids comprises of essential vitamins and minerals.
A single serving of 100 ml of whole milk supplies approximately 60 calories of energy which comprise of 3.3 grams of proteins, 3.25 grams of fats and about 4.9 grams of carbohydrates. Fat free milk contains nominal quantities of fat and average calorie intake of one serving of milk is approximately 34 calories.
Milk fats comprise of 98% of triglycerides and 2% of phospholipids, cholesterol, free fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins including Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Milk contains more than 400 different fatty acids and fatty acid derivates and contains high proportion of short chain and medium chain fatty acids.
Milk is also a great source of conjugated linolenic acid which has several potential health benefits including having protective action against the development of breast cancer. Milk is a great source of Vitamin B complex and the only source of Vitamin B12 for vegetarians.
Health Benefits of Cow’s Milk: Protects the Heart, Prevents Cancer and Aids in Weight Loss
|Cow's Milk is protective|
Regular consumption of milk has several health benefits. These health benefits include,
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) found in milk is known to prevent the formation of plaques and has a protective action against atherosclerosis. In addition CLA is also known to enhance immunity and lower the risk of development of cancer. In a study conducted on 360 women it was observed that in females with higher concentration of CLA in breast tissue were at 74% lower risk of developing breast cancer.
- Myristic Acid in milk is an important fatty acid which plays a crucial role in the stabilization of proteins; especially those used by the immune system and thereby enhance the ability of the body to fight chronic conditions including cancer. Similarly Sphingomyelin is known to have anti cancer properties.
- Antihypertensive Milk peptides block angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) and play a pivotal role in regulating blood pressure.
- Glycomarcopeptide is responsible for delaying gastric emptying which in turn helps in suppressing appetite and aids in weight management. Furthermore, CLA has also been known to promote lean body mass and thereby plays a crucial role in fighting obesity and assisting in the process of losing weight.
Cow’s Milk and the Type I Diabetes: Importance of Breast Milk among Infants
Population based studies have reiterated the role and importance of breast feeding, especially during the first few months of infancy. Breast milk provides considerable protection against infection and considered to play a vital part in the early development and growth of the infant.
Case control studies have shown that individuals who developed type I diabetes were more likely to have been breast feed for less than three months compared to others.
It is hypothesized that bovine insulin present in cows milk can trigger an autoimmune response in the body, which may result in self destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas.
In addition, another adverse reaction of cow’s milk especially among children is the higher rate of constipation associated with increased consumption of cow’s milk.