Milk is a natural food source for mammals. Animals, including humans, produce milk to feed their young until they are ready for solid food.
As such, milk contains valuable nutrients that help support a growing body, including calcium and protein.
Research about milk is conflicting, however, with different studies claiming milk is either good or bad for the body.
Due to rising concerns about health, lactose intolerance, and animal welfare, plant-based milk, and dairy alternatives are gaining popularity.
This article looks at the potential health benefits of cow’s milk and discusses alternatives.
Milk and bone health
Calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt; green leafy vegetables including kale and broccoli; tofu; white beans and fish such as salmon and sardines. Milk is also an excellent source of calcium and is very healthy for bones,
Health Benefits Of Milk
Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including “nutrients of concern,” which are under-consumed by many populations ( 3 ). It provides potassium, B12, calcium and vitamin D, which are lacking in many diets ( 4 ). Milk is also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, zinc and thiamine (B1).
Milk and cancer
Milk contains calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients that may help protect against cancer.
Calcium may protectTrusted Source the gut lining to reduce the riskTrusted Source of colon cancer or rectum cancer. However, research has linked too much calciumTrusted Source with prostate cancer.
Vitamin D might play a role in cell growth regulation. It may helpTrusted Source protect against colon cancer, and possibly prostate and breast cancer. However, research has also linked high vitamin D levels to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Many factors affect cancer risk. Likewise, cancer can take a long time to develop, so it is difficult to study its causes and risk factors.
Scientists still need more long-term research to establish the facts with any certainty.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020Trusted Source, the dairy group includes cow’s milk and soy milk. The group contains the following key nutrients:
vitamin D (in fortified products)
The nutritional breakdown of milk depends on the fat content.