Milk is a wholesome and nutritious food that constitutes one of the most important parts of a balanced diet. It contains all the nutrients in just the right amount. In fact, it is one of the richest sources of proteins and calcium that makes it a perfect supplement for building muscle and bone health. According to popular belief, one main reason why country folks are healthier is that they get pure milk in required amounts. And why not. Apart from being highly nutritious, it also helps in the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut and the vitamin A present in milk is a blessing for the eyes. A healthy gut has a huge contribution towards good health.

According to the Food Safety and Standards of India, milk is defined as the mammary secretion from the female mammals, without adding or removing anything from it. Unfortunately, it is really difficult to find pure milk these days. It is usually adulterated by adding water or other substances to it. These fraudulent acts deteriorate the quality of milk and in some cases make it unfit for human consumption. Various units are being set up all over India to test the quality of milk and milk products so as to provide good quality unadulterated milk to everyone. 

Around the world, there are over half a dozen billion who frequently consume milk and milk-based foods. Milk products like tea, butter curd, yoghurt, cream, and cheese are consumed in almost every meal all around the world. Drinks like lassi and chach constitute an essential part of traditional Indian diets and hot cakes are probably one of the oldest American recipe made from milk. In fact, It is one among the essential parts of the human meal since ancient times. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) strictly mentioned in its eatery pointers to incorporate milk and milk products to make a healthy and balanced diet. Milk is usually obtained from animals like cow, buffalo, and goat. Milk has to be boiled before it is consumed for safety purposes. However, it loses some of its nutrients if it is boiled for a prolonged time. It is also available in pasteurised and sterilized forms in the market which can be taken directly from the carton.

Some basic facts about Milk::

  1. Common Hindi and Sanskrit name: दूध ( Dudh, doodh), दुग्ध ( Dugdh).M
  2. Milk production in the world:  According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, India is the largest milk producer in the world. It produces 18% of the world milk. However, the major portion of Indian milk comes from buffaloes. The USA, China, Pakistan, and Brazil follow shortly after India in terms of total milk production.
  3. Fun facts:  
  • A cow produces a mean of 6.3 gallons of milk every day and 350,000 glasses of milk in a span of life.
  • Cows eat around a hundred pounds of food daily and consume fifty gallons of water.
  • To get the level of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk, you’d eat simply a 1/4th cup of broccoli, seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread.
  • Farmers don’t measure milk in gallons but in pounds.
  • NDDB or the National Dairy Development Board is the central authority responsible for milk quality and quantity in India, it has been set up by the government of India and has its headquarters at Anand, Gujarat.
  1. Milk nutrition facts
  2. Milk health benefits
  3. Milk side effects
  4. Takeaway

Milk is a natural source of calcium, vitamin B12, Vitamin G (Vitamin B2), phosphorus and potassium. It conjointly contains smaller amounts of different nutrients together with vitamin A, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. Depending on the feed of the cow,  the iodine content of the milk might vary widely. The cows’ diet may have an effect on the content of various other nutrients, for instance, fatty acids and selenium. Commodities made from milk like yoghurt, and cheese also contain several of the nutrients that are available in milk. Hard cheeses, additionally, even have zinc and vitamin A.

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 ml of milk contains the following nutrients:

Nutrient Value per 100 mL
Energy 62 kcal
Proteins 3.33 g
Fats 3.33 g
Carbohydrates 5 g
Sugars 5 g
Calcium 125 mg
Potassium 133 mg
Sodium 44 mg
Fats/ Fatty acids  
Saturated 1.88 g
Monounsaturated 0.83 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
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  • For weight loss: The intake of milk and dairy products is associated with a lower risk of obesity as it contributes to weight loss by lowering the appetite. It is rich in proteins and calcium, which is responsible for this effect. Proteins also assist in the building of muscles.
  • For bones and teeth: Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. It may help in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It also caters to an improvement in dental health by reducing the incidence of dental caries.
  • For depression: Consuming milk on a regular basis helps in reducing the risk of depression as it raises the levels of the hormone serotonin.
  • For cancer: The consumption of milk can help in lowering the risk of certain types of cancers like that of the colon due to the presence of whey protein in it.
  • For rehydration: Drinking milk can aid in rehydration of the body, especially after physical activity. The intake of milk can help to balance fluid levels in the body thereby preventing dehydration.

Milk for weight loss

Many studies have associated dairy foods with a lower possibility of obesity. Milk contains numerous components which contribute to weight loss and forestall weight gain. As an example, it's high-protein content contributes to feeling full for an extended span of time, which can stall overeating.

According to a study published in Current Nutrition and Food Science, a decrease in the dairy food intake can be directly linked to the increase in obesity.

A random clinical trial done on a group of 49 people suggests that consumption of dairy foods and calcium might be helpful in decreasing weight by reducing appetite and increasing the gap between meals.

(Read more: Weight loss diet chart)

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Milk for bone health

Drinking milk has been connected to healthy bones. This is mainly due to the presence of various nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and vitamin K2 (in grass-fed, full-fat dairy) in milk. These nutrients are mandatory for maintaining sturdy and healthy bones.

Roughly, 99% of our body’s calcium content is retained in our bones and teeth. Milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, which have a major contribution towards bone health. Studies suggest that milk consumption may be effective in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

However, the evidence is not conclusive and needs widespread human trials.

Milk as a protein source

Milk is known as a “complete protein”, which means it contains all 9 of the vital amino acids required for your body to operate at the best level. One cup of milk contains approximately 8 gram of protein.

The 2 main forms of protein found in milk include casein and whey. Both of these are treated as great-quality proteins. While Casein makes up 70–80% of the protein found in cow milk whey constitutes around 20% of the milk proteins.

Proteins are essential for sustaining the various functions of our body including growth, development, cellular repair, and system regulation. In fact, proteins constitute at least 15-35% of the calories in a balanced diet.

Thus, milk is a natural option to extremely processed protein drinks advertised towards post-workout recovery.

(Read more: Benefits of a protein-rich diet)

Milk for blood pressure

Cow milk is a supply of potassium, which may enhance dilation of arteries and decrease blood pressure.

Studies suggest that milk peptides may be helpful in reducing blood pressure but those peptides are more easily obtained in fermented milk. According to a review article, the hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) effects of milk and dairy products aren't yet clearly understood. More studies are needed to confirm the effect of milk and milk products on blood pressure.

Milk for muscle building

Milk is a great supply of high-quality proteins. Having the entire essential amino acid range, it is the perfect supplement for building muscles. Numerous studies have been done to test the efficiency of milk for increasing muscle mass. In a pilot study done on 37 old women, it was reported that consumption of milk and milk product can reduce age-related muscle atrophy and inflammation. A previous study suggests that milk is an excellent booster of endurance after a rigorous exercise. 

According to an article published in the 'Journal of International Society of Food and Nutrition', regular consumption of 42g of milk supplements for a period of 12 weeks significantly improved the endurance in college athletes.

Milk for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition which is characterised by cartilage degradation and inflammation in the joints. The disease is most prevalent in the middle-aged group and its associated with symptoms like pain and stiffness, especially in the hip and knee joints. No medical treatments are currently available for osteoarthritis. A clinical trial consisting of 2148 osteoarthritis women claims that regular milk consumption can retard the growth of osteoarthritis. However, much more research is still needed to confirm the efficiency of milk consumption on the progression of this disease.

Milk for dental care

Regular consumption of milk can provide glorious dental health because it protects the enamel surface from getting affected by acidic substances. Additionally, it also inhibits the growth of bacteria thus reducing the risk of dental caries.

Further studies suggest that milk proteins can inhibit the dental caries bacteria from attaching to the tooth surface.

However, clinical studies are still pending to confirm similar effects on humans.

Milk for rehydration

Liquids are a basic part of the human body and therefore the body has to be often replenished. Numerous studies suggest that milk can be used as a rehydrating drink after exercise. It is definitely better to consume milk rather than having juices and aerated drinks.

In a random trial, 7 healthy young men, milk consumption post-exercise has been found to sufficiently balance the fluid levels in the body.

Milk for depression

Milk is a rich source of Vitamin D, which, along with being good for bones and teeth, is also very beneficial for the brain. Studies suggest that vitamin D helps in the maintaining the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone associated with mood, appetite, and sleep. Studies suggest that consuming low-fat milk can efficiently reduce depression symptoms. Additionally, it can also improve memory and cognition.

Milk for cancer

Several studies have been done to test the effects of milk on the progression of cancer. But the results are largely contradicting. While milk consumption has been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer, calcium-rich diets have been associated with an increase in prostate cancer risk.

The whey protein present in milk has also been reported to inhibit the growth of colon cancer.

Although, extensive research needs to be done to confirm the anti-cancer potential of milk and milk products.

(Read more: Cancer symptoms)

  • Studies suggest that milk consumption is linked to skin problems like acne. It has been suggested that the whey proteins and carbohydrates present in milk may be responsible for milk associated acne.
  • An overabundance of calcium from milk and different foods could increase the danger of certain types of cancer. 
  • Lactose is a natural sugar present in milk. A lot of people are intolerant to lactose.
  • Cow milk has a high amount of saturated fats which are considered detrimental for the heart health

(Read more: Lactose intolerance)

On one side, customers are told milk is crucial for bone health whereas on the opposite, that it causes allergies, unwellness, and sickness. Of course, we'd require calcium for bones and teeth in addition with blood coagulation, muscle functioning and regulation the heart’s rhythm. However, despite how intensely the farm trade shouts, a rising body of proof questions if milk is extremely the most effective supply of calcium. It definitely isn't for many of the world’s folks. Nonetheless, milk and dairy foods are all round foods and offer their nutritional benefits in a cherishable, convenient and easily affordable way.

Medicines / Products that contain Milk


  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Full Report (All Nutrients): 45242374, WHOLE MILK. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Lisa A Spence, Christopher J Cifelli, Gregory D Miller. The Role of Dairy Products in Healthy Weight and Body Composition in Children and Adolescents . Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2011 Feb; 7(1): 40–49. PMID: 22299005
  3. Kim Wagner Jones et al. Effect of a dairy and calcium rich diet on weight loss and appetite during energy restriction in overweight and obese adults: a randomized trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr; 67(4): 371–376. PMID: 23462943
  4. Fardellone P et al. Osteoporosis: Is milk a kindness or a curse? Joint Bone Spine. 2017 May;84(3):275-281. PMID: 27726930
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  15. Lesley M. Butler et al. Calcium intake increases risk of prostate cancer among Singapore Chinese. Cancer Res. 2010 Jun 15; 70(12): 4941–4948. PMID: 20516117
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