With June being National Dairy Month, now is the perfect time to talk about how milk does the body good!
In recent years, dairy milk has frequently been maligned as alternative milks have come to prominence. Plant-based milks are growing more and more popular. However, alternative milks lack protein and often contain added sugars. Regular milk has a balance of carbs, protein and fat. Milk genuinely is a “whole” food as it contains so many nutrients and healthy components, making it a great drink to enjoy. Don’t avoid all dairy milk because of rumors!
Moreover, “Drinking milk is a great way to meet needs for nine essential nutrients, including: phosphorus, B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin and protein,” according to Melissa Majumdar, MS, RD, CSOWM, LDN, a registered dietitian.
While alternative milks can be tasty and part of a healthy diet, real milk still has its place because of the many benefits it imparts. Milk genuinely is excellent for your bones and teeth because of its high calcium levels and is fortified with vitamin D. Milk and dairy products have been linked to better heart health. The old wives’ tale is accurate: milk helps you sleep. The tryptophan aids the production of serotonin and melatonin, both of which are sleep chemicals. Calcium also supports healthy sleep.
Milk has many components, being a complex food. “The nice thing about consuming milk or yogurt is that you’re getting a whole package of nutrients in each serving,” says Angel Planells, MS, RDN, a Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist.
Plant milks are delicious, and we’re fans of the relatively new food category — as long as we keep an eye on the label. It’s nice to add new varieties of food to our diet. But, unless you have health reasons not to or your doctor has advised against it, drinking real milk is a healthy part of your life. Adding a new food doesn’t mean you exclude what was in your diet previously.