There are a lot of popular diets today that shun the consumption of milk and milk-based products. On the other end, there is a huge campaign for milk and a lot of advertising that it builds strong bones and healthy bodies. When you’re on a diet and ready to keep a journal, here are some tips on how to think about milk and whether it yields the health benefits we’ve come to rely on.
In a recent review published by the Harvard School of Public Health, it is not the optimal source of calcium but it is convenient. Milk contains calcium, which is an important nutrient to promoting bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Much of today’s milk is also fortified with vitamins A and D, two important nutrients that also help maintain bone health. It also provides a good source of protein.
The downside to drinking milk for your bone health needs is that it has a high saturated fat content. Whole milk, cheeses, creams, and butter can lead to health problems such as high cholesterol and heart disease. While you can buy low fat versions of these products, Harvard’s study shows that most people don’t consume low fat versions exclusively and often pair low fat versions of dairy with high fat versions.
So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Harvard and most nutritionists agree that eating leafy greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard are a great place to start. These foods have the calcium you’re looking for as well as vitamins A and K, another great vitamin to support bone health. Eating beans will give your body both calcium and protein. But if you love your milk, Harvard suggests having two 8oz cups a day. That should do your body good!