Why cow’s milk is good for you

For a proper diet, cow’s milk should be part of your meal plan as nutrition experts advise that it is a source of many nutrients that the body needs for proper growth and healthy living.

Private Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre, Remera, Gasabo District, says that the nutritional composition of milk is highly complex, and it contains almost every single nutrient that your body needs.

He notes that one cup (240 ml) of whole cow’s milk with 3.25 per cent fat provides 149 calories, 88 per cent water,7.7 grams of protein, 11.7 grams of carbs, 12.3 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of fat.

Kamanzi says that milk contains saturated fats that help in brain development. Milk is also rich in proteins; proteins in milk can be divided into two groups based on their solubility in water. Insoluble milk proteins are called casein, while soluble proteins are known as whey proteins.

He says, “Casein plays a role in increasing the absorption of minerals, such as; calcium and phosphorus while whey proteins have been linked to many beneficial health effects, like decreased blood pressure and improved mood during periods of stress.

“Whey protein is the best for growing and upholding muscles, as a result, it’s a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders.”

Kamanzi notes that milk is composed of lactose which the body needs for energy. Lactose breaks down into glucose and galactose. These are absorbed into your bloodstream, at which point your liver converts galactose into glucose.

According to Dieudonne Bukaba, a nutrition expert in Kigali, milk strengthens bones and teeth; perhaps the most renowned benefit of drinking milk is to maintain your bone health. The high content of calcium and other essential minerals necessary for bone density, in addition to proteins, are all available in cow milk, which makes it an important dietary consideration for not only your bones but also your teeth. As you age, the bone-mineral density increases, and consuming milk can help you keep up your strength.

Kamanzi states that milk may promote increased bone mineral density, cutting your risk of osteoporosis. Milk and its products have also been linked to reduced blood pressure.

Bukaba explains that milk contains omega-3 fatty acids that are the good form of cholesterol in the body, which can help improve heart health and prevent the onset of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks or strokes.

Studies have linked regular milk intake with the regulation of blood sugar levels in the body. With high levels of vitamin B and essential minerals, cow milk helps the metabolism of the body run smoothly, and process food normally, which can regulate glucose and insulin levels. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels helps to prevent or manage diabetes to a large extent.

Research has shown that milk can assist in weight loss for a number of reasons. It can help quench your hunger due to its high protein content, along with contributing a low level of calories. Due to its metabolic-boosting abilities and protein, it can help provide more energy and prevent one from developing a sedentary lifestyle. Higher metabolism and more activity leads to weight loss.

Bukaba stresses that milk helps in inflammatory issues, it has frequently been suggested as a therapy for everything from gout and arthritis to respiratory distress and burns on the skin.

He notes, the combination of complete animal proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidant compounds in milk make it an incredible anti-inflammatory substance.  The unique blend of nutrients can soothe inflammation as well, improving the efficiency of digestion and absorption of nutrients.

“Cow milk contains complete proteins, that are directly useful to our body, both in the production of energy as well as in growth and natural development,” Bukaba states.

Kamanzi explains that milk contains all the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain growth and development and also provides almost every single nutrient needed by humans, thus making it one of the most nutritious foods available.

For Bukaba, it is necessary for children to drink milk on a regular basis, as research has largely concluded that growth and development, both physical and mental, can be improved by milk.

Kamanzi, however, discourages feeding toddlers below one year on cow’s milk as it can lead to allergic diseases, including respiratory and digestive system, as they cannot bear protein in the milk. Infants who do not get breast milk need an alternative form of nutrition to maintain their health.

Bukaba states that milk is about more than just calcium and protein; antioxidant compounds like vitamin E, selenium and zinc can also be found in milk and can seek out dangerous free radicals throughout the body that may be causing mutations or chronic illnesses. 

He adds that research has already linked the consumption of natural grass-fed cow milk to improving immunity and protection against diseases. It can also improve the appearance and youthfulness of your skin.

Kamanzi says that feeding on milk more often helps in improving the fertility status of women.