Why You Should Drink Milk for Good Health

Three Reasons Milk May Support a Healthy Weight and Other Health Benefits

"Superfood” is a popular buzzword these days — and milk stands out as one of the originals. Not only is drinking more reduced-fat milk – getting more milk protein, in particular – linked to  a healthy weight, suggests some recent research; milk’s nutrients serve up more health benefits as well. 

We know milk builds strong bones and teeth. We studied it in school and heard it from our moms. The benefits of calcium used to be milk’s primary claim to fame. In fact, milk is the top food source of calcium in our diets. 

Fast forward to 2015 and there are many more reasons to drink milk. Now there’s also a greater appreciation for other essential nutrients in milk. Milk has B vitamins for energy, high-quality protein for lean muscle, vitamin A for a healthy immune system and five bone-building nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D.

Here are three surprising things to love about the beverage found in most homes in the US you might not even realize.

1. Milk is an Important Part of Your Diet

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating right, staying active and drinking three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk for good health and weight. Now, some studies over the past several years suggest including enough milk, especially in a reduced-calorie diet may even be linked to better success on a weight loss diet – more fat loss and more muscle gains. After reviewing 14 clinical studies, researchers found that people who included high amounts of dairy  (at least the recommended three servings) while on a calorie-restricted diet lost, on average, an additional 2.8 pounds overall, including 2.4 pounds more fat and gained 1.6 pounds more lean body mass, compared to people consuming less dairy while dieting. While you can’t expect the same results if you don’t cut your calories, research suggests including the recommended three servings a day of lowfat milk and milk products might just help you make the most of your diet.

2. Recent Study Suggests Milk Drinkers May Be at a Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has become a global epidemic and is expected to affect 552 million people worldwide by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. “Consumption of dairy foods provides numerous health benefits including lower risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity,” according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (see page 104). Even adding one more glass of milk may make a difference when it comes to type 2 diabetes, according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Researchers analyzed 17 studies that included data from more than 370,000 men and women to determine the relationship between dairy intake and diabetes risk and found that for nearly one extra daily glass (6.5 oz.), milk drinkers had a 13% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s just one more reason to get the recommend three daily servings of milk and milk products.

3. Milk May Help You Reach Your Height Potential

It’s true nutrition and health experts recommend kids and adolescents get more calcium and vitamin D from foods, like milk, for strong, healthy bones. What you may not know is that your bones continue to grow to their peak bone mass until around age 18 for women and age 20 for men, according to the National Institutes of Health, and they could keep growing through your twenties. That’s why it’s important adults drink up, too.

Studies also suggest that regularly drinking milk during the growing years (all the way through late teens/early twenties) is associated with greater height, in the teen years and  bone size and bone mineralization, while research has linked regularly skipping milk to reduced height and increased fracture rates.

 

Keep reading: Milk Drinking Teens Reap Health Benefits