Milk is a good source of Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and calcium. Most milk is fortified with vitamins D and A.
2% milk is a good source of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) this vitamin helps the other B-vitamins to work.
One issue some people have with milk is whether to drink skim milk, 1%,2% or whole milk. The percents refer to the amount of fat present in the milk. The difference in fat percentage between them is not much.
- Skim milk – fat free
- 1% milk – 1% of the milk is made up of the natural fats
- 2% milk – 2% of the milk is made up of the natural fats
- Whole milk – 3-4% of the milk is made up of the natural fats
- Raw milk – 4-5% of the milk is made up of the natural fats
Interesting enough, milk manufacturers sometimes remove all of the fats from milk first and add them back later to create the 1%, 2% milks we see on store shelves. There are multiple reasons and ways milk is processed.
Like most dairy foods, milk has tryptophan, which causes you to produce the hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood. Drink warm milk to help you sleep at night. The tryptophan helps you relax and calm down. When you heat up milk can denature the lactose so it does not affect you if you are lactose intolerant. The milk has to me heated up for a few minutes in the microwave or boiled on the stove to change lactose into a form that can’t irritate us.
Amazingly there may be evidence that drinking cow’s milk may hurt your bones long term. A very large study of over 77,000 women showed no evidence that a higher intake of milk reduced the rate at which bone fracture occurred. Women who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day were 45% more likely to develop a hip fracture than women who drank 1 glass of milk or less per day. However, this may also be because of the vitamin A (not beta-carotene) that is added to milk (Milk is fortified with Vitamins A and D). All around the world, however, the rates of osteoporosis are higher in countries where people drink the most milk.
Milk companies homogenize milk because when raw milk is left alone it forms a layer of cream on top. The cream is formed by the fat molecules naturally wanting to separate themselves out. Milk is mostly water and fats do not like water so they separate. The homogenizing process does not add any chemicals to the milk. The milk goes through a mechanical process where the largest fat molecules are separated out. The smaller ones are left to stay in the milk because they can stay suspended in it and not separate out. How much of the fat you want separated out determines whether you’re left with 1%, 2% Whole milk or Skim milk.
One of the downsides of this process is the alteration of healthy fats like the natural butter fats found in milk. The fats can go rancid, which degrades the fat into compounds that are not healthy for us. If the fats are removed all together, then the fats as well as the fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D are lost. Manufacturers make up for this by adding vitamin D to milk. This synthetic vitamin D (Vitamin D2) replaces natural vitamin D (Vitamin D3) and the synthetic version may not be as beneficial to our bodies as naturally occurring vitamin D because it’s harder for our bodies to use and may be toxic in higher amounts.
When milk is pasteurized it’s heated up to kill off any bacteria that can cause disease. The process is not 100% full-proof but it kills off most of the bacteria that can make us sick. This is why pasteurized milk is considered safer by most people to drink than raw milk.
Organic vs Grass fed
It may sound like the same thing but it’s not. Organic milk is milk from cows fed and raised without the use of antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or hormones. Grass fed cows on the other hand are fed grass instead of grains. A cow’s natural diet is grass but farmers to cut costs switch to grains instead. Cow’s cannot properly digest grains and that may hamper the nutritional value of the milk. Grass fed cows produce more nutritious milk. The produce more Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Omega 3’s and Vitamin E. The cows may or may not have been treated with hormones however. Look for “hormone free” on the label. Hormone treatment is controversial because there are studies that have linked the specific hormone used in cows.
- The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. October 2006 vol. 84 no. 4 694-697.
Goat’s Milk ★
Goat’s milk is a healthier alternative to regular milk because goats are not normally fed the hormones and antibiotics that cows are fed and the milk they produce will reflect that. It’s also easier for us to digest because it’s more similar to human breast milk than cow’s milk is. It also has less fat than cow’s milk but about the same amount of protein. Having less of the fat in our gut makes it less irritating to our digestive tract. Goat’s milk is a great anti inflammatory for our digestive tracts.
Ikarian Goat’s Milk
Ikarian Goat’s Milk (from Greece) is high in both Potassium and Calcium, which is very good for your nerves and muscle function (including the heart). It’s high in tryptophan, which helps you relax, sleep and feel calm.
Eat about 4 oz of the Goat’s milk yogurt daily to boost your health and overall wellbeing. Ikarians eat or drink this daily and it’s one of the reasons they live 8-10 years longer than people in the U.S and are 3x more likely to live to 90 years also. It tastes like a mixture of milk and how a field smells.
Almond Milk ★★
Almond milk is good for the skin because it contains a lot of vitamin E, about half the day’s supply in one serving. This also helps protect you against sun and UV (Ultra Violet) damage. It’s an excellent anti inflammatory food because it has no lactose and contains the same nutrients you find in Almonds (except the fiber). Almond milk gives you a great anti-aging boost that can help you look and feel lively.
Coconut milk is great for losing weight and it does not taste as sweet as a coconut does. It’s low in fat and it does not increase your weight as fast as other foods. The body can metabolize these fats quickly so they are less likely to be stored up as fat your body.
Hemp Milk ★
Hemp milk is packed with omega-3’s, which excellent for your memory and the heart. Healthy fats in the brain help transport nutrients and helps the neurons in your brain communicate efficiently. This improves your brain’s function and can help keep your mind sharp.