New Castle News

Columns

February 7, 2013

Lori Brothers: Does milk really do a body good?

NEW CASTLE — There is a continuing debate about whether milk is as good for you as you think.

So I decided to explore the pros and cons of drinking milk.

“Milk is one-stop shopping for nutrition,” according to Dr. Bill Sears, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine.

“It contains nearly all the basic nutrients that a growing child needs: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals (except iron),” Sears said.

Sears points out that while other food sources deliver the nutrients, it is the most practical way to get calcium and the other nutrients into a child’s diet because children eat or drink dairy products in greater amounts.

However, there can be a downside for children and adults because research is proving that a number of health problems can be traced back to milk products. Consuming dairy products can cause inflammation and pain to develop in your joints if you have a milk allergy, because of increased histamine and other chemicals in the body.

According to LiveStrong, “Consuming any product that contains dairy can cause inflammation in your joints if you are allergic to milk.”

The immune system overreacts to the casein and whey proteins that are found in milk. That puts your body on alert that milk proteins are dangerous and antibodies and other chemicals go into attack mode. This creates the inflammation in the soft tissues.

The Dean Ornish Program For Reversing Heart Disease has proven clinically that inflammation is the underlying cause of disease process in the body. Nonfat dairy products are recommended to reduce inflamation, if you can tolerate dairy. If you have chronic disease consider talking to your doctor about the influence of dairy on your health.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase in the digestive system which causes the inability or insufficient ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. The digestive discomfort is the biggest issue in this case, it is not a serious health issue like allergy or chronic inflammation. However, symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Overall, unless you have sensitivity to milk, or chronic inflammation, milk really packs a punch of daily nutrients. An 8 ounce serving of milk provides 30 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of calcium, 25 percent of DV for Vitamin D, 20 percent DV of phosphorous, 16 percent of DV of all the essential amino acids, 16 percent of the protein, 11 percent of DV of potassium, the body requires for good health. Vitamins A, B12, Niacin, and Riboflavin are also found in an 8 ounce glass of milk.

An interesting tip that is easy to follow is to add powdered milk to recipes to inexpensively add extra protein and calories. Boost your daily intake by adding powdered skim milk to pancakes, muffin batter, scrambled eggs before cooking, rice pudding, milk shake, macaroni and cheese, cream of potato soup, casseroles, cornbread, cake batter, mashed potatoes, cookie recipes.

Powdered skim milk is also good for traveling, camping or backpacking. Take on trip to use on breakfast cereal. Also, if you are watching your budget, powdered milk can really cut costs.

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