If you’re lactose intolerant, then milk and milk products are things you’ll want to stay away from. However, for those that aren’t lactose intolerant, they can be excellent sources of calcium as well as protein, riboflavin, phosphorus, thiamin, and certain B vitamins. In fact, drinking just one cup of milk can supply you with the necessary amount of calcium required for adults. Below is more information on the different types of milk and milk products.
Milk comes on many different forms: Whole milk, skim milk, dried milk, fortified milk, acidophilus milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and buttermilk. Most milk goes through a process known as pasteurization, which kills bacteria and prevents the spread of any diseases, making it safe to consume.
Whole milk contains approximately 3.5% fat. There is also 2 percent milk, which contains 2% fat, and 1 percent milk, which contains 1% fat…and then there is skim milk in which all of the fat is removed. Fortified milk contains added nutrients – usually Vitamin A and Vitamin D, while evaporated milk is whole milk with half of the water content removed. Condensed milk also has water removed and sugar added. Buttermilk, which you’re probably most familiar with from certain foods, like buttermilk pancakes, can be obtained one of two ways: from the residue of the butter-making process, or it can be cultured.
If you’re wondering what makes milk so important, there are many reasons why. Milk and milk products can help prevent things like osteoporosis, cavities, can help fight infections, and can even boost mental energy. In addition, milk can also protect the stomach – something that one may find beneficial when feeling under the weather or taking certain medications or eating certain foods (i.e. spicy foods) known to cause stomach upset. Skim milk can also lower high cholesterol and can also fight against high blood pressure.
Butter is a milk product that contains both Vitamin A and D, though it is high in fat and can lead to things like high cholesterol, which can cause problems within the arteries and put you at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. As an alternative to butter, opt for a spread (such as Becel) that is made from unsaturated oils and provides a source of omega-3 polyunsaturates.
Cheese contains milk, calcium, protein, Vitamin A, riboflavin, and fat. It comes in many different textures, flavours, and ripening/aging stages – from soft to semi-soft, hard to medium-hard, mild, medium, old, extra old, light, or part skim. When choosing a cheese, it’s recommended that you go for one that is low in fat. Higher-fat cheeses have been linked to both heart disease and breast cancer.
Yogurt is another milk product that contains a high percentage of vitamins A and D, as well as B-complex vitamins. Eating just a cup of yogurt each day (Greek yogurt, especially) can benefit you in many ways. Not only is it a good, natural antibiotic and anti-cancer agent, but it can also boost the immune system by fighting the common cold and other upper respiratory infections, prevent gastrointestinal problems, prevent high cholesterol, and reduce the risk of things like arthritis, gallstones, skin problems, and even kidney disorders.