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The Benefits of Milk

We were always told as kids that milk is good for us. While some of us took to milk easily, some of us defiantly refused to have anything to do with it, especially when we weaned off the bottle! Here, we discuss the true benefits of milk and how it plays an integral part of building stronger, healthier bodies.

Infants’ milk needs

Cow’s milk isn’t digested well by babies under 12 months, and it lacks essential nutrients supplied by breast milk and formula. So, if you can help it, hold off on introducing it until your baby is at least a year old. In the meantime, keep in mind that breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.

Toddlers and milk

Until your child is two years old, breast milk or whole milk will be the best way to go. A young toddler needs the fat for nerve and brain development. One possible exception is if your child happens to be gaining weight too quickly for his height. In this case, your pediatrician may recommend switching to low-fat milk before the age of two.

In most cases, you may switch to 1- or 2-percent milk at the age of two to move your child closer to a diet with moderate amounts of fat and cholesterol. As long as your little one doesn’t have a weight problem, he or she can drink 1 or 2 percent indefinitely, rather than switching to skim. Kids need the fat in milk for growth and development for many years.

For stronger bones

Studies have revealed that three factors determine strong bones: genetics, physical activity and calcium. Milk, incidentally, is the number one source of calcium.

Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, another important player in bone health, and it has other vital nutrients, including protein, phosphorous, vitamin A and some B vitamins.

Healthy Teeth

Encouraging young children to drink milk will help build good dental health. Milk protects the enamel surface against acidic substances. Drinking milk as part of a healthy diet will help children reduce the consumption of soft drinks, thus reducing the risk of decayed teeth and weak gums.

Milk and your toddler’s health

These days, there’s so much concern about childhood weight and rising cholesterol levels (yes, even in toddlers). In view of this, here’s something to keep in mind when it comes to giving your toddler milk: Offer your young child whole milk if he’s at a healthy weight — meaning he’s below the 85th percentile on the body mass index (BMI) charts, or if you have no family history of obesity, high cholesterol, or heart disease.

Ramifications of too much milk

In addition to the extra calories, too much milk can fill kids up, increasing the likelihood that they forgo other nutrient-rich foods. So limit your child’s milk intake to the recommended servings per day and make sure he gets a wide variety of nutritious foods.

My toddler hates milk!

While there aren’t many foods that offer the same package of nutrients as a wholesome cup of milk, there are still other sources of calcium. Besides other dairy foods, fortified orange juice, fortified tofu, white beans and broccoli, some cereals and cereal bars are fortified with calcium too. Before you give up on milk, though, try offering flavored milk instead.

Calcium

Milk is an excellent source of calcium for the human body. Calcium protects our bodies from bone loss, obesity in children and aids in losing unwanted fats. It is essential to get the recommended amount of daily calcium intake in order to maintain strong bones and health benefits and prevent future health risks due to lack of calcium.

Vitamin D

This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. Therefore, almost all milk is now fortified with appropriate mounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps bone strength by promoting bone growth and reducing the risk of brittle bones. It also reduces inflammation and increases immune function.

Rehydration

Milk contains a good amount of water molecules so it helps keep bodies hydrated. As children are constantly active and running around, it is important to stay hydrated. A serving of milk will easily do the trick.

Multi nutrients in a go!

Milk contains vitamins and minerals to keep children fit, healthy and strong. These vitamins and minerals are good for eyesight, increased energy and for body repair and growth!

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