Milk: Mom’s favorite drink, nature’s perfect drink
Growing up, I can remember sitting down at the table for dinner, and sure enough, there was always a glass of milk next to my plate. I never really understood the importance of that glass of milk… until I began my schooling to become a registered dietitian… when I quickly realized that it was a ‘gift’ my mom was giving us, the gift of good health!
One glass of milk, whether it is white or flavored, provides nine essential nutrients, nutrients that are vital for optimal health. Milk is one of the richest dietary sources of calcium, and it’s an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Science continues to show that calcium and vitamin D are two essential bone-building nutrients.1
Aside from making your bones stronger, three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk can help improve overall nutrient intake and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases. For example, three vital minerals found in milk and other dairy foods – calcium, potassium, and magnesium – may play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.2,3 And, research shows the low-fat Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan – supported by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and the American Heart Association – may help manage blood pressure.
An added bonus: I am always looking for ways to get the most ‘bang for my buck’—and I’m sure many of you are, too. Few foods deliver dairy’s powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable, appealing and readily available way. Milk, which ends up being about 25 cents a glass, is a nutritional bargain!
Dairy producers work very hard to produce this ‘gift’ every day of the year, so that we can enjoy a safe, wholesome and nutritious product. So next time you’re grocery shopping, remember to pick up a gallon of milk so that you and your family can reap the benefits of this delicious drink!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library.%20Accessed%20October%2020, 2004.
2 Nowson C, et al. Blood pressure change with weight loss is affected by diet type in men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005; 81: 983-9.
3 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Facts about high blood pressure. http://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/mission/abouthbp/abouthbp.htm Accessed May 6, 2005.