Dairy issues have been the subject of major debates over the years. Natural health enthusiasts have many objections against the commercial production of cow’s milk and its by-products, whilst many doctors and nutritionists are divided in their views.
One thing is certain. Our bodies require protein, carbohydrates and fats if we are to remain healthy. Calcium, which is contained in milk, is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. People who are unable to exercise or who are confined to wheelchairs should be provided with enough calcium to help maintain a strong bone structure.
Cow’s milk is rich in protein and calcium. For instance, a cup of milk provides over 25% of our daily calcium requirements. On the minus side, whole milk has a high fat content, including saturated fat. Milk also has a high cholesterol content and it contains approximately 145 calories/620 kilojoules per serving.
However, if calcium is to be obtained from milk, it is a good idea to drink low fat milk, or, even better—skim milk, which is also known as fat-free milk. Whole milk has a high fat content, but, as the name implies, skim milk has had the fat removed, but it still contains all the original nutrients. Those who cannot tolerate milk or who suffer from milk allergies can obtain calcium from spinach, broccoli, sardines and whole wheat bread.
A healthy alternative to cow’s milk is almond milk. It provides a wide combination of all the vitamins and minerals that we require. Almond milk is also beneficial in that it supplies antioxidants that aid in the prevention of some cancers. Furthermore, almond milk only contains 40 calories/170 kilojoules per serving. However, cow’s milk provides eight grams of protein per serving, whilst almond milk only contains two grams. Almond milk is not advised for those who are allergic to nuts as it may generate harmful reactions.
The prevention of osteoporosis is yet another controversial subject relating to the intake of milk. Health specialists in favour of milk and milk products state that three cups of fat-free milk should be drunk by children and young adults every day in order to promote healthy bones. They claim that milk provides a higher source of calcium than any other food substance.
However, a study performed in the 1990s on elderly people in Sydney, Australia, showed that the group who ingested the most dairy produce had twice as many hip fractures as the group who consumed the lowest amounts. Perhaps people who rely on mobility products should strike a happy medium and vary their diets in order to obtain nutrients from all the food groups. Exercise will also help to maintain healthy bones.
Is dairy good for you? The debate continues.