Milk/Milk Products (Cow)

Latin Name: Bos Taurus (Dairy cow)

What is Milk?
Milk, the white liquid from a cow that provides nutrition for young mammals, is the basis for many dairy products eaten by humans, including cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, kefir, and ice milk. Milk and milk products are differentiated by their fat content. The 2% classification refers to the percent of fat by weight that the milk contains; 2% milk is also called reduced fat. Whole milk, on the other hand, is 3.5% fat. Generally, it is best to favor low-fat dairy products over whole milk products, but it depends on the individual.

Animal milk was first used as human food around 5000 BC. In ancient cultures such as Egypt, milk was so highly valued that only very wealthy people could consume milk.

What are the health benefits of Milk?
Considered energetically neutral, milk products are used by traditional Chinese medicine to treat nutritional deficiency, weakness, malnutrition, anemia, and constipation.

One cup of 2% cow milk contains, on average, nearly 25% of the daily-recommended intake of calcium for an adult. There is controversy about how much milk is absorbed by the human body. While calcium from milk products has a greater bioavailability than many calcium-containing vegetables, there are some exceptions: the calcium in kale, broccoli, and other vegetable in the Brassica genus are actually more bioavailable than those in milk.

Studies have found that there may be a link between low-fat milk consumption and reduced risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, and colorectal cancer. Overweight individuals who drink milk may decrease their risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Milk also appears to be effective at promoting muscle growth, and its combination of vitamin D, vitamin K, and calcium helps to build strong bones. The vitamin A in cow’s milk is a critical nutrient for immune function. Milk contains good sources of vitamin B12 and riboflavin, two B vitamins that are necessary for cardiovascular health and energy production.

Grass-fed cows produce milk that contains a beneficial fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been found to inhibit several types of cancer, including skin cancer, colorectal cancer and breast-cancer cells.

Are there any precautions for Milk?
Many people are lactose intolerant and cannot drink very much, if any, cow milk; in fact, it is one of the most common food intolerances seen by healthcare practitioners.

Where can I find milk and what should I look for?
Milk can be found in grocery stores. It is wise to use discretion when selecting milk and to avoid antibiotics and other potentially harmful chemicals whenever possible.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.