Milk: A basic part of a healthy and balanced diet

Er. Prabhat Kishore

Milk is a major part of our diet. It is also considered a complete food. It is a major source of valuable nutrients such as vitamins A, B, D, B12, carbohydrate, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, protein etc, that help in supporting a growing body. Milk and its products (i.e. curd and ghee) are three of the five elements of Panchagavya, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of various incurable diseases. 87% of cow’s milk is water and the remaining 13 % consists of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and other minerals. Vitamins A and B are essential for eye and red blood cell formation, B12 for proper nerve function, Magnesium for muscle function, Phosphorus for energy supply, Protein for body growth and repair, Calcium and Vitamin D for bone’s strength and security. Due to the low sodium and potassium content, milk maintains normal blood pressure. Milk neutralizes the cholesterol of the body. It reduces the risk of cancer by 35 percent. According to the National Institute of Medicine, the human body requires 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium per day and milk is the major source of calcium. Many nutrients are available in milk, which is essential for glowing skin. While the lactic acid present in it keeps the skin soft, the anti-oxidants protect it from the toxic effects of the environment. Milk and its products are good sources of calcium, phosphorus and protein, which are essential for bone’s strength and growth. Consuming one glass of milk daily is beneficial for us. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis. There are two types of proteins in milk. 80 percent of the total protein is casein and 20 percent is whey. Casein is useful for teeth, as it forms a thin layer on the enamel of the teeth, which is helpful in keeping the teeth and gums healthy. The protein present in milk makes the muscles strong. Drinking milk after exercise, gives the body the necessary energy to repair the wear and tear of body cells. Along with this, it also makes up for the lack of liquid in the body due to work-out. Drinking milk before sleeping at night gives relief to the muscles and nerves and leads to good sleep. The calcium, potassium and proteins present in milk keep the blood pressure balanced, which reduces the chances of stroke. Milk reduces the risk of cardio vascular diseases. due to the abundance of Vitamin B12, it also maintains the functioning of the brain.
India is the largest producer as well as consumer of milk in the world contributing about 24 percent of the global milk production. The milk production in India has registered an increase of 51 percent during the last eight years. In the year 2022, India produced 221.06 million tonnes of milk. Milk plays an important role in the food of a healthy citizen in building a healthy nation and World Milk Day inspires the human society to take positive initiatives in this direction.
(The author is an engineer and educationist).

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