Milk is one superfood that every mammal has in common. Most mammals are weaned from milk early in their childhood, however humans continue consuming milk well into their senior years. While a mother’s breastmilk supply is usually stopped the first year after giving birth, milk produced by commercial dairies accounts for a great part of most people’s daily diet.3
Aside from natural mothers’ breast milk, most commercial milk sources come from bovines or cows. Goat milk is another popular food with sheep milk following far behind. Milk is not only popular in liquid form. It’s widely available in other dairy products like butter, cream, cheese, yogurt, kefir and ice cream.3,4
Most commercially available milk has been treated from its raw form. Homogenization is a process that breaks down fats in milk and pasteurization is a temperature alteration that kills harmful bacteria. Other milk processes are skimming milk to remove or lower more fat, evaporating and making non-fat dry milk solids (NFDM). 2
Raw milk is increasing in popularity after many studies proved it not to be harmful from bacteria. Raw milk uses for health include natural enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that are eliminated by the pasteurization process. The United States FDA and CDC report that of 48 million foodborne illnesses reported each year less than 0.0005 percent are attributed to drinking raw milk. 3
Milk Health Uses and Health Benefits
What makes milk a superfood is its high content of calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin K. Besides vitamins and minerals, milk’s major components are water, lactose, fat, carbohydrates and protein. These ingredients undergo physical and chemical interactions to produce a complex and healthy fluid. 1,2
Milk health benefits go beyond providing a superfood. Milk health benefits include reducing allergies, promoting healthy skin, preventing nutrient deficiencies, offering probiotics as well as not containing sugar or synthetic ingredients. 3 Milk for osteoporosis prevention is one of the most well-known milk health benefits.
Other milk uses for health and natural treatments include:
- Heartburn - Heartburn is caused by excessive stomach acid returning up the esophagus. Milk acts as an acid neutralizing agent and soothes the throat and stomach, eliminating the burning sensation.
- Diarrhea - Diarrhea manifests as loose, watery stool. It’s usually caused by harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Milk contains helpful bacteria that can offer relief to diarrhea and tighten stools.
- Vaginosis - Bacterial vaginosis is a condition where naturally-occurring bacteria in the vagina become imbalanced and cause an uncomfortable discharge. Milk contains the lactobacilli bacteria that usually becomes deficient and contributes to vaginosis.
- Osteoporosis - Milk for osteoporosis is highly recommended. Milk contains high amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium that the body needs to combat osteoporosis.
- Diaper Rash (Irritant Diaper Dermatitis) - Diaper rash usually results from a bacteria or fungal infection on a baby’s bottom caused by trapped fecal matter. Milk applied directly to the skin acts to kill bacteria and fungus.
Milk Side Effects and Precautions
The primary milk side effects occur in people who are lactose intolerant, specifically to the protein A1 casein. Most people diagnosed with lactose intolerance are actually allergic to the A1 casein protein that becomes highly inflammatory. Milk products with the A1 casein protein should be considered safe. 4
High-fat milk side effects can occur in those who are overweight or obese and consume it excessively. High-fat milk can also contribute to high cholesterol levels. 4