Diet and dairy: Why we should keep milk as part of our daily nutrition
Growing up, we’ve all been told that a glass of milk is one of the healthiest parts of our diet. No matter what we ate or didn’t, not a day could go by without at least one big glass of the nutritious white drink.
These days, however, milk is less often considered the symbol of goodness and purity and is getting quite the bad rap. From unhealthy to unethical, there are a lot of negative ideas expressed about milk in recent years.
Is dairy unhealthy or unnecessary?
India has a long history of dairy consumption, dating right back to the Vedic period. If we look at the generation of our grandparents, currently in their 70s and 80s, cows were domestically raised in many prosperous houses and milk was locally produced. We find that this generation still has bones in good shape and most have a good set of teeth. The reason for this is the abundance of dairy products in their diet. On the other hand, when we come to down to the generation currently in their 40s and 50s, we see many people with fragile bones that are easily fractured and needing early joint replacements. All of this tells us that dairy products are not unhealthy and are very necessary.
Veganism and health choices
One of the strong forces opposed to milk is the growing movement of veganism, which not only shuns meat but also all products drawn from animals. Moral questions aside, it’s important to remember that the healthy lifestyle has many avatars, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for a healthy diet. India is a country with a centuries-long history of health and wellness, and the diets and lifestyles of our grandparents have significant health benefits. If there are issues with the way milk is handled and processed, there are alternatives available. The A2 Indian breed cow has now grown famous across the world, and its milk and milk products are much sought after.
The nutritional richness of milk
A glass of milk (100ml) contains 3.26g of protein, 4.46g of fat, and 4.94g of carbohydrates, and only adds 78 calories of energy. Similarly, curd contains 3.1g of protein, 4.0g of fat, and 3.0g of carbohydrates and adds 60 calories of energy. Milk has several nutritional benefits such as a high biological value of protein, bio-available calcium, and Vitamin B12. If the milk is obtained from free range cows, it is even a good source of Vitamin D. Curd has all the benefits of milk as well as a healthy dose of digestion-promoting bacteria thanks to the fermentation process. Paneer is another excellent source of protein.
One of the most popular ways from the Indian tradition to include milk in our daily diet is the Haldi Doodh - milk with turmeric. With the nutritional richness of milk and the powerful ingredient curcumin in Turmeric, Haldi Doodh is not only a good way to have milk every day, but also to take advantage of the antioxidant, immunity-building and digestive properties of turmeric.
Don’t overdo the milk habit
Milk consumption becomes problematic when it becomes excessive. A good rule of thumb is for an adult to consume roughly 400 to 500ml of milk or curd per day to receive the necessary dose of protein and calcium. However, if the consumption reaches levels of a litre, then this will obviously lead to a drop in consumption of other food groups, leading to critical deficiencies. Moreover, we should be careful of the fat content in milk and milk products. Thus, it’s important to regulate the consumption of calorie-rich milk products like butter and cream. Butter should be fitted into the daily quota of 15 to 20 ml of visible fat.
You don’t have to ditch the milk
Milk has long formed an integral part of India’s history of health and wellness, and there’s no reason for us to put down the glass now. Milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamins, and we should not junk milk from our diet unless we’ve thought carefully about how we’re going to replace its nutritional inputs.
With the right kind of spices – stacked with essential spice oils – you can get creative with your milk consumption patterns and ensure staying healthy in multiple ways!
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