Good For Your Health

The Importance of Milk in the Diet

Fresh milk in a glass jug on a blue napkin with a flowerMilk products contain high quality proteins. The whey proteins constitute about 18 percent of the protein content of milk. Casein, a protein found only in milk, contains all of the essential amino acids. It accounts for 82 percent of the total proteins in milk and is used as a standard for evaluating protein of other foods. Protein is needed to build and repair body tissues and to form antibodies which circulate in the blood and help fight infection.
Milk contains nutrients such as: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. The calcium found in milk is readily absorbed by the body. Phosphorus plays a role in calcium absorption and utilization. Phosphorus is needed in the proper ratio to calcium to form bone. Milk provides these two minerals in approximately the same ratio as found in bone. Milk is also a significant source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps promote healthy skin and eyes as well as vitamins A and D.

In adults, a calcium deficiency, along with other factors, may result in bone deterioration called osteoporosis.
The following daily consumption of milk is suggested:

Children 3 cups
Teenagers 4 cups
Adults 3 cups
Adults over 51 4 cups
Pregnant and lactating woman 3 cups
Calcium is number one when it comes to your bones. It helps build strong bones and teeth for such daily activities as standing up straight, scoring that winning basket, or even chewing on your favorite food.
Well…just think Price’s dairy products. Calcium is in lots of dairy products like Price’s milk or yogurt. It’s also found in many different kinds of cheeses. Some juices, like Price’s orange juice, are even fortified (added) with calcium. Let’s not forget your veggies either! Plenty of calcium is found naturally in dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale. Anything made with soy, like soy milk or tofu, is also a good source of calcium. Plus, if you dream of Price’s ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert, you’ve just discovered another tasty way to get your calcium.
Is there a problem with calcium? The problem is that many people don’t get enough. As time passes and people age, they may lose the stored calcium in their bodies that helps keep their bones strong and healthy. Their bones become less dense and weaker. If this happens, they have a disorder called osteoporosis (say: oss-tee-oh-puh-ro-sis).
Osteoporosis occurs when too much spongy bone tissue (inside your bones) is broken down and not enough new bone material is made. Over time, bone is said to be “lost” because it’s not being replaced. Older people – especially women, who are generally smaller and have bones that are lighter and less dense – are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

There are two types of osteoporosis: primary osteoporosis and secondary osteoporosis. Primary osteoporosis is most common. It is usually related to age in which the older you get, the more bone loss you are likely to have, especially if you don’t take in enough calcium.

Secondary osteoporosis is caused by diseases or other factors that affect the body and cause bone loss, such as:

  • hormone problems, like hyperthyroidism (say: hi-per-thi-royd-is-em), which is an overactive thyroid gland
  • eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa – taking high doses of the drug steroids for a long time
  • too much smoking or drinking